Compassionate zoo grounds for everyone: Care and regard for undesired animals
Written by Sabrina Brando and Max Norman
Who are undesired animals?
Zoos and aquariums are not only home to a myriad of species in human care, but also to a multitude of free-living wildlife species that call the facility grounds their home. Animal care facilities, thus, face the complex challenge of managing these so-termed ‘undesirable’ species that are not deliberately housed. These so-called "pest" species can include rodents, bird and insect populations that have the potential to damage property and infrastructure, spread disease, compromise animal wellbeing through injury, illness, or resource competition, and they may also pose risks to visitor and staff safety. Nonetheless, they have become reliant on our facilities as places of shelter, as a food source, and safe places from predation and other pressures of the outside world.
Compassion for all beings
While undesirable, these...
Fight, fight, or freeze?
Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “fight or flight”. These words have become ingrained in our understanding of how animals tend to react when feeling stressed or unsafe. The instinctive reaction to either face an aggressor head-on or turn and run to escape conflict, and the biological processes which accompany these responses, are well-known and well-discussed in the animal kingdom. We may also talk about the “freeze” response, where animals remain motionless to avoid drawing attention from a threat. Together, these mechanisms form a repertoire of protective behaviours which aim to manage threat responses and enhance survival either as part of predator-prey dynamics or as part of managing their social groups within their species. However, another response occurs which is often overlooked - the "fawn" response.
What is the fawn response?
Better described in studies of human trauma responses, the fawn response...
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Each animal is unique in their preferences, experiences and physical and emotional needs which can change as they age. This book covers science, ethics, and best practices for supporting...
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By presenting at the Iberian Association of Wild Animal Caretakers (AICAS) ninth Congress, Melody:
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Last week, The Animal Behaviour Management Alliance invited Sabrina to talk about animal wellbeing science and practice.
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Melody is presenting a talk in Spanish at the Iberian Association of Wild Animal Caretakers (AICAS) ninth Congress meeting. Key takeaways...
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Consider the animals that you care for.
What do they do when you're not around to watch them?
We'll be presenting on this very topic at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Annual Conference hosted by Columbus Zoo. We'll explore techniques and technologies to improve the experience of animals overnight and throughout their lifespan. We're also presenting two posters covering human wellbeing and food sourcing practices within zoos.
The Keynote: How do you care?
How do you care for yourself as an individual. At a leadership level. And as a whole team or organisation. How do you care with compassion and lead with purpose?
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important topic in the management of zoos, aquaria, and other animal care organisations, recognising their responsibility to reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainable practices. Many organisations are involved in conservation, education and research, and sustainability is essential to the success of these efforts too. Visitors expect contemporary institutions to be leaders who promote sustainable practices and demonstrate their commitment to environmental preservation.
Animal care organisations play an important role in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Annually, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums provide information about their green business practices through AZA’s Green Practices survey. The database created from this survey serves as a tool for members to document their staffing, the sourcing of local food,...
We know going for walks is a good idea to connect with the world around us, disconnect from work, get away from screens, enjoy time with family or friends, or do a bit of self-care by practising walking meditation. However, living in a busy city or an urban area does not always make this easy. Considering the high temperatures we are currently experiencing due to climate change, we might need to adjust the times we walk and where we walk. More and more towns and cities are planting and maintaining green spaces with trees and shrubs which are not only beautiful and soothing to look at but also provide immediate benefits. The air is cooler, you can sit in the shade, and everything becomes quieter which can help you feel more relaxed. Urban green spaces are important to your wellbeing, as well as other people, animals, and other vegetation sharing these spaces.
Urban green areas are vital components of cities and urban environments. These areas...