ATA, Oakland University, and Science into Practice #137 Environmental enrichment for lizards

Enrichment office hours with ATA Founder Ryan Cartlidge

"Meeting our animal's needs can feel overwhelming and stressful at times! And at Animal Training Academy, our members know what this feels like. Therefore we were super grateful to have Sabrina Brando bring her decades of knowledge and experience to our community [in January] to help grow our skills, knowledge and confidence in this area – thanks so much, Sabrina!" said Ryan Cartlidge, Founder of the Animal Training Academy.

The Animal Training Academy (ATA) recently had a month dedicated to environmental enrichment. Founder Ryan Cartlidge shared a short example: "Sabrina and I discussed the importance of an excellent environmental enrichment program to help us meet our animals' needs! One example discussed was training penguins to use foot baths to help with bumble-foot (bumble-foot is lesions or sores on the underside of bird feet). We talked about how we could easily train a penguin/s to stand in a foot bath. However, importantly we also need to consider whether penguins in our care are walking and swimming enough and if they have access to the appropriate substrates. Providing this appropriate environment paired with relevant behavioural opportunities would eliminate some of the training we might need. Therefore when thinking about enrichment goals, one could be - getting our penguins to swim more. We could then systematically look at the environment, brainstorm some ideas & fix these things to enrich and improve our animals' lives."

Next to habitat management 24/7 across lifespan style, including back-of-house areas, environmental enrichment is key to providing a wide variety of opportunities and stimulation to animals in human care. "I was delighted to connect with Ryan and the ATA community again, this time to discuss the ins and outs of environmental enrichment for wild animals, dogs, horses, and animals everywhere!" said Sabrina Brando, Changemaker at AnimalConcepts.

You can learn more about ATA HERE

Online lab meeting with Oakland University

Oakland University has a long history of research, teaching, and practice in the space of animal cognition, behaviour, human-animal interaction, and animal wellbeing. Among the many centres, degrees and courses, are Animal-Assisted Intervention, Animal Assisted Therapy, the human-animal bond, as well as research in zoos on e.g., gorillas, bears, and penguins.

Sabrina Brando joined staff and students online for a lab meeting in the spirit of research, practice, and collaboration for animal wellbeing and conservation. "Thank you again for being willing to share so many insights and encouragement to my students. That was really lovely and the best lab meeting we've had in ages! I'm sure they feel very inspired." said comparative/cognitive psychologist Professor Jennifer Vonk.

Find out more information on all degrees, courses, and activities as well as research opportunities at Oakland University HERE


Another Science into Practice is available on the animal wellbeing platform, as well as new human and planetary wellbeing content. Want to learn more? Sign up HERE


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