Ep78 Alan McElligott on animals communicating with people and the unsolvable problem

2022 ibuzz podcast Jan 22, 2022

 If [animals that had been treated poorly] were treated well, they can recover to a mood level just as well as animals that had been treated well all their lives” - Alan McElligott 

We welcome Dr Alan McElligott, Associate Professor in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the City University of Hong Kong, to share the story of his career’s journey - ranging from his childhood on his family’s dairy farm to studying communication in kangaroos.

Dr Alan shares with us his rationale for studying zoology at University College Cork – a fascination with all animals, large and small. He had hoped to pursue a career in marine biology but found himself once again captivated by the ungulates he grew up with, eventually studying the behaviour of goats. Alan also shares his work on “Unsolvable Problem” with kangaroos, based on work with dogs. This study challenged the idea that “looking back” behaviour was rooted in domestication, as these animals which had never been domesticated actively glanced at human observers during the study when faced with the problem.

We end with a discussion on working with goats at a rescue centre, and Dr Alan’s work which found that animals who had come from backgrounds where they were not able to feel safe when treated well in new environments, were able to recover and attain mood levels comparable to animals which had been treated well all their lives. 

Listen on your favourite player or directly HERE 

Take a look at Dr Alan’s research HERE

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