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Ikea brings sustainability topic to kids with endangered animals plush collection

Swedish retailer, IKEA is looking to engage children in the topic of sustainability with a new collection of plush toys featuring some of the planet’s most endangered animals.

The firm’s Djungelskog (Jungle forest) and Urksog plush toy lines aim to raise awareness about the plight of emblematic wild animals under threat and has been described as being for ‘lovers of our planet and the jungle.’

Plush lions, elephants, tigers, pandas and orangutans feature in the retailer’s new range. The animals are made from ployester yarn sourced from recycled plastic bottles, as well as sustainably sourced cotton and a low-impact pigment printing process.

The plush collection comes with a line of story books, each of which aim to ‘support parents in answering questions about sustainability, while giving older children the chance to learn more on their own.’

“We started the project from the perspective ‘How can we engage children in sustainability topics?”’ Nina Hughes, range manager for children’s Ikea, tells MNN.

“We always start from the child’s perspective and we know that wild animals fascinate them. Children also have a great sense of fairness and equality, so the direction of endangered animals became obvious early on.”

African lions are considered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to be a vulnerable, but not endangered species, with roughly 20,000 left in the wild. The giant panda is on the same list, having been rescued from the endangered list in 2016. Other animals featured in the Ikea range, such as orang-utans, are critically endangered, alongside some species of elephants and tigers.

“Ikea has a long-standing relationship with WWF, so it was with their help that we identified the animals to focus on,” continued Hughes. “The animals were chosen with WWF’s input but also animals that we thought the children could relate to, connect with and recognise.

“The orang-utan is an animal we feel strongly about due to Ikea’s involvement in the Sow a Seed Foundation.”

The Sow a Seed Foundation was founded in 1998 as a method of rehabilitating decimated rainforests and helping displaced animals back into their native habitats.

Over 12,500 hectares of lowland Borneo rainforest has been replanted with the help of the Sow a Seed Foundation.

“We know that younger children learn through play,” said Hughes. “so the wish is for the Djungelskog collection to inspire play, create a natural connection and interest in the animals, and through the support of their parents, learn more about endangered animals and how we can protect their natural habitat.”

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