Ep68 Tim Sullivan on the yin and yang of animal training, crystal okapis, and a career benefitting animals

2021 ibuzz podcast Nov 13, 2021

Having a background in marine mammal training, Tim Sullivan reflects on the impact his different mentors and the thorough coaching that he received has had on his career in caring for marine mammals. Tim reflects on his experience and discusses how the practice of animal training has changed over the years and whether it is logical to ask animals to carry out behaviours that do not come naturally to them.

Tim is a co-founder of the Animal Behaviour Management Alliance and he explains how the organisation got started alongside the benefits it has for collaborative working when training animals. Tim also shares anecdotes on how he has found exposing animals to change early on can help build up their resilience and reduce stress when variations in their routine may be unavoidable. Having a lot of experience in animal training, Tim shares the value of being proactive in animal behaviour management to avoid problematic behaviours, such as stereotypies, from occurring.

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Ep67 Jay Pratte in remembrance of Else Poulsen, positive reinforcement training and Borscht the bear

This podcast is dedicated to Else Poulsen (1955 to 2016)

“Bears just do things for Bear reasons”

Jay Pratte is the Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education at the Utica Zoo in the state of New York, USA.

Jay shares with us how his interest in animal behaviour initiated in Waterton Park whilst on a high school camping trip. While exploring the environment, Jay walked upon a doe. He approached her slowly with grass, observing her body language and adjusting himself to reduce the chance of her running. Although his father found it confusing, Jay thought this way of behaving was normal and thus carried it with him with his training.

Jays’ family expected him to be a lawyer due to his high grades. Consequently, he studied environmental law at Alberta University. He explained that by chance a friend told him about big cats which were housed outside the city in a roadside zoo, whereby Jay proceeded to volunteer there, shortly followed by employment. During his...

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Ep66 Erna Walraven on writing, inspiring and empowering people in caring for wildlife

2021 ibuzz podcast Oct 30, 2021

Erna Walraven covers the progression of her career in the animal care sector, from caring for stray dogs to successfully becoming former Senior Curator at Taronga Zoo for twenty years. She strives to encourage members of the public and animal care professionals to be active for animals, the planet and the greater good.

As curator, Erna realised her region was lacking animal welfare positions. She created a position for Taronga Zoo which encompassed training the zoo’s staff about what the term ‘animal welfare’ actually means. This enables staff to create goals in what standards they want to achieve and how success can be measured. Part of this includes allowing animals to have negative experiences or “safe negatives”, whilst ensuring their welfare is not compromised, to give them a life that is as close to what the animal would experience in the wild, such as being outdoors in bad weather. This is so that the animals can make the decisions in their own...

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Ep65 Lori Gruen on ethics of care, our relationships with other animals, entangled empathy, and attending to nature

Tune in for this Saturday's podcast to learn more about animal ethics, philosophy, our relationship to other animals, and empathetic engagement with the more than human world.

Lori Gruen is the William Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Science in Society at Wesleyan University where she also coordinates Wesleyan Animal Studies. Her work lies at the intersection of ethical and political theory and practice, with a particular focus on issues that impact those often overlooked in traditional ethical investigations, e.g. women, people of color, incarcerated people, non-human animals. She is currently working to unpack carceral logics by thinking through a complex set of issues like dignity, self-respect, empathy, disposability, and hope and hopelessness.

Learn more about Lori Gruen HERE

Listen on your favourite player or directly HERE

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Ep64 David Neale on the Animals Asia Foundation and the importance of education and collaboration for animal welfare

2021 ibuzz podcast Oct 09, 2021

David Neale has been the Director of Animals Asia Foundation since 2002.

David shares with us how when he was 14, he saw chimpanzees used as photo props whilst in Majorca, Spain, and how it ignited his passion for animal welfare. Sabrina shares similar memories of seeing Africa Greys, snakes, and a Tiger. She also mentions apps where the public can record these animals to influence change.

David says his study choices were limited, so studied Environmental Science and then a postgraduate in Conservation Biology. After graduating, David worked as an ecologist for a river restoration charity in England, which aimed to restore lost habitats. When David surveyed for European water voles (a species that declined due to pollution, habitat loss and the release of mink), he determined the mink would need to be culled. This introduces an animal welfare element. David did not want to contribute to this, so embarked on a trip to Asia and South America to determine an alternative career. 

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Ep63 Sally Thompson-Iritani on laboratory animal care, positive interactions, and human wellbeing

2021 ibuzz podcast Oct 02, 2021

Content warning: This podcast includes descriptive content related to laboratory animals which some listeners may find distressing.

Sally Thompson-Iritani is the Asst. Vice Provost, Animal Care, Outreach & 3Rs and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington. Additionally, she is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional and a Human-Animal Bond Practitioner.

Sally shares with us how her love of animals developed from her love of cats. Despite not being allowed one as a child due to living in a small apartment, she found interacting with them comforting. Through this, Sally’s mum nurtured her understanding of ensuring an animal is provided with all their needs. Sally developed an interest in the care provided to research animals due to her childhood friend's father completing research on mice at a university. This was further developed when she read an article on a neuroscience study that used non-human primates, whereby Sally questioned herself on the...

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Human wellbeing in animal care professionals

Since my first job almost 30 years ago, I have seen animals been born, cared for them daily, stayed the night if they were ill or when pregnant, been with them when they died. There are many stories of joy, of fun and success, of enrichment activities, behaviours trained, enjoying time together and play, of changes made. Good teamwork, seeing many animals flourish, and wonderful conservation, research, and education outcomes. Unfortunately, I have also worked in facilities where there was little or no regard for animal wellbeing – or human wellbeing. I have found myself in toxic work environments, have been bullied by bosses, and quit many paid jobs and volunteering positions. Did I have a role to play in that, could my communication have been better, could I…, well yes, every time these things happen there are a lot of sides to a story, however, many experiences were out of my control.

Since 2004 I enjoy full-time work through AnimalConcepts, and I still miss being...

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PRESS RELEASE Elephant Care and Wellbeing in now LIVE

Media contact: Sabrina Brando

Founder and Director


[email protected]



The new platform, all dedicated to elephants, and collaboration between Global Elephant Care and AnimalConcepts, is now live!



Coming from a culture of care and compassion and combining the most up to date scientific literature and best practices, we strive to improve standards and promote optimal wellbeing for elephants in all types of human care globally.

"Gerry & Sabrina trumpet in excitement about this new platform for elephants and peoples around the world!"

Promoting positive wellbeing and flourishing is at the core of what contemporary zoos, sanctuaries and all other facilities caring for elephants strive for. The aim of this platform is to provide a progressive, safe, and active space for all people involved in caring for elephants anywhere.

Through this online continued education platform, both individuals and organisations can find support,...

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Ep62 Elisabetta Palagi on comparative research, primates, animal friendships, and play

2021 ibuzz podcast Sep 25, 2021

Elisabetta Palagi is an Associate Professor at the University of Pisa, whose research focuses on social and sexual behaviour, and mechanisms underlining empathy such as rapid facial mimicry and emotional contagion.

Elisabetta shares a short story of growing up on a farm, of chickens and other animals, her early interest in animal behaviour, and a wise lesson by her grandmother.

She shares her start in academia, being a student at the University of Pisa, and completing her PhD in evolutionary biology. After her studies she continued at the University of Pisa, in the role of mammal curator at the museum of natural history, expanding her views on animal behaviour through zoology.

She shares her collaboration with the Pistoia Zoo where she studied lemurs. After great apes, wolves, hyenas, sea lions, and others, both in the wild and under human care.
Elisabetta discusses aspects of her and collaborative research on animal friendships, focusing on individuals, agonistic support,...

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Ep61 Becca Hanson on landscape architecture, Conservation by Design and sustainability in animal enclosure structure

2021 ibuzz podcast Sep 17, 2021

Becca Hanson is a Founding Principal of Studio Hanson | Roberts. She is a landscape architect with over 44 years of experience.

Becca shares with us how her love of nature started in Cincinnati, Ohio, during her childhood in the woodland behind her home. Here she could interact with nature first-hand by climbing trees, handling animals etc.

Becca started her university career intending to be an architect. However, she realised it was not for her, so took a nine-year sabbatical where she had a child and lived in Europe. During a trip to the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens in Wisley in the UK, she saw the rockery. This inspired Becca to finish her degree to construct similar works. Becca then enrolled in the University of Washington to get a BLA in Landscape Architecture and a minor in plant community ecology.

From here Becca got a job with Jones & Jones, who were working to design landscapes for the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle. The more she worked with zoos, the more she fell...

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