Dr. Megan Ross is a visionary institutional director focused on all strategic, operational, and programmatic initiatives at Lincoln Park Zoo (LPZ). She is also the first female zoo director in the 150-year history of the zoo. Megan is an expert in zoo and aquarium ethics, a published scientist, and a committed environmentalist.
Megan talks about how she started in the zoo community many decades ago when she met Terry Maple. Throughout her time in the zoo, she has done research in several fields, and she discusses her studies with flamingos, as well as her research on ultra-violet light in birds when she was working as a bird curator.
Megan encourages people who are interested in a zoo career to say yes to (almost) all challenges, to try new things, and seek out advice from others respected in the field. Sabrina and Megan discuss the detail of honesty with yourself as a key point, and how it can help you achieve your goals, and enjoy what you are doing. Megan shares how this...
Dr. Terry L. Maple is an animal behaviourist and wildlife conservationist known for his visionary leadership in revitalizing Zoo Atlanta as the director. Aside from being Professor Emeritus, he is the founder of the Center for Conservation & Behavior, and the Founding Editor of the journal Zoo Biology among many other things from his long career.
Terry shares with us how he transformed Zoo Atlanta in a build for change towards research and improvement for the welfare of the animals. He describes how he applied his knowledge in psychology for turning around and creating wellness-inspired habitats for animals.
Over the years, much of his work has been published in more than 12 books!
Dr. Maple has written much related to zoo biology, in addition to many other scientific publications. He dives deeper into some of his books and his experiences like “Great Apes and Humans: The Ethics of Coexistence”, “Ethics on the Ark: Zoos, Animal Welfare and Wildlife...
Con Slobodchikoff is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Northern Arizona University, and co-founder and CEO of Zoolingua, a company that is using artificial intelligence technology to decode animal communication. Also known for writing the book “Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals”.
Con shares with us his story on how he became interested in animal languages invites and encourages us to keep an open mind in our theories to understand it.
He shares his studies on defence behaviours in beetles, and later on about his work on prairie dogs, finding these animals to have a rich social life, including demonstrating that also nonrelatives could form part of a social group.
Sabrina and Con discuss the differences between communication and language, and about his books, “Chasing Doctor Dolittle” and “Prairie dogs”, both based on language abilities and communication in animal societies.
Con refutes the idea that animals don’t have...
Saskia Verbruggen is an experienced animal trainer from the Netherlands, with a long career training marine mammals as well as birds of prey. She founded her own consultancy company Animal Training Roundeurope.
When she started her career, she enjoyed learning to train pinnipeds through positive reinforcement. Saskia shares with us her personal stories of the sea lions she cared for, learning that animals should have a choice in participating or not in a training session.
Saskia talks about the importance of giving animals the option to choose, and using positive reinforcement training, a common way of training with marine mammals, with birds of prey, rewarding them when they cooperate.
She discusses with Sabrina the complexity and quality of the habitats of the zoo she works in, trying to make them as natural as possible. She describes with detail the aviaries, and remarks that a key part for the birds is having different types of habitats, thus promoting optimal welfare.
In this episode Mirian Vilela guides us through the importance of sustainable development. She is originally from Brazil, but now she works in Costa Rica as the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat and Earth Charter Center on Education for Sustainable Development. She is also a professor in the University for Peace teaching in the areas of Sustainable Development, Environmental Governance, and Education for Sustainable Development.
Mirian discusses the Earth Charter document that articulates values and principles for a more sustainable, compassionate world, explaining the document’s vision that inspires a global movement for a better world and social justice with ecological integrity. “I fell in love with the work of the Earth Charter because of the possibility to meet people from all regions of the world,” Mirian comments, highlighting the truly inclusive nature of the movement.
She presents the Earth Charter Center on Education...
We are delighted to welcome Mark Kingston Jones on this next episode of the iBuzz podcast! Mark is a co-founder of Team Building With Bite, which aims to increase cohesion and animal welfare by having teams come together to build enrichment devices. He is also the workshop Coordinator for The Shape of Enrichment, a non-profit dedicated to promoting environmental enrichment around the world. The organisation is based on two key founding principles: goal-based and holistic welfare programmes.
Having always wanted to work with animals, Mark originally planned to become a keeper, but a desire to pursue research sent him down the path of education. Throughout his time in the field, he has seen environmental enrichment shift from being thought of as simply toys and extras to being an integral part of animal welfare. By creating behavioural opportunities and giving animals some choice and control in deciding if and how they want to interact with a change in their environment (such as...
In this episode, we are joined by Margo DeMello (PhD, Cultural Anthropology, UC Davis), Assistant Professor at Carroll College in the Anthrozoology Program. Margo has also been an adjunct professor in the Canisius College Anthrozoology program, she directed the Human-Animal Studies program at the Animals & Society Institute for 15 years, and she is the immediate past president of House Rabbit Society. She has published over a dozen books, most within the field of human-animal studies and body studies, and dozens of articles and book chapters.
To introduce us to her work and field, Margo explains the field of anthrozoology, the study of human-animal relationships, and what goes into pursuing a degree. She describes it as a lens through which we can look at other species in a way that challenges anthropocentrism and recognises that humans and animals have always been interlinked.
After working with the Animals & Society Institute for...
Jorg Massen, assistant professor of animal ecology at Utrecht University and editorial board member at Animals, joins us in this next episode of the iBuzz podcast. Jorg talks in-depth about a topic we can all appreciate – friendships among animals.
He begins by sharing a bit about his background and PhD-work studying friendship in macaques, where he found that the concept of friendship between macaques is, in principle, actually the same as it is between humans in terms of how they maintain friendships and what fitness benefits (i.e. survival and reproduction) they gain from these relationships.
Jorg went on to study several different species, including chimpanzees, common marmosets, and a number of corvids. His findings suggest that some animals do make an active choice in their friendships and tend to befriend individuals with similar characteristics, likely because their behaviour is more predictable. Moreover, animals who have friends and more meaningful relationships...
We are delighted to be joined by Al Kordowski in this episode of the iBuzz podcast! Al is an animal behaviour and training practitioner who has trained with 125 different species over the course of his influential career. Though his work training animals has spanned from marine mammals to service dogs to hawks, his number one goal with every animal is the same: building a trusting relationship.
In our episode, Al begins by sharing with us the evolution of the animal training world from using adverse methods to using positive reinforcement and providing animals with as much choice and control as possible. When he started working as a professional animal trainer, methods for providing veterinary care were far less developed than they are today. Thanks to hard work, it is now commonplace to teach husbandry behaviour to animals, making care safer for both the animal and the animal care professional and further developing their relationship.
To make animal training the best...
In this episode the father of animal welfare, Donald Broom, Emeritus Professor of Animal Welfare at Cambridge University, Department of Veterinary Medicine and St Catharine's College, takes us on a journey through the emergence of animal welfare as a scientific field and discusses its role in the world today.
Donald is a long-standing pillar of the animal welfare community, having been Chairman or Vice Chairman of EU Scientific Committees on Animal Welfare 1990 – 2012. His many contributions to the field include scientific assessment of animal welfare, cognitive abilities of animals, ethics of animal usage, the evolution of morality, and sustainable farming. He has published over 360 refereed papers and eleven books including:
"The Evolution of Morality and religion" (2003 CUP)
“Sentience and Animal Welfare” (2014 CABI)
"Domestic Animal Behaviour and Welfare, 5th edition" (2015 CABI)
“Tourism and Animal Welfare” (2018 CABI)