The joys and sorrows in animal care professions
Mental Health Awareness Week took place last week. The official theme for this year, as set by the Mental Health Foundation, was ‘anxiety'. It is key to highlight the importance of mental health and the challenges many people face as well as the joys of this work, possible resources and solutions. It promotes open dialogues regarding mental health, offers knowledge about accessible resources and support networks, and advocates for self-care and we-care practices that enhance wellbeing, which are part of care, respect, and real love in the workplace.
The nature of the job
Various factors can trigger feelings of anxiety, such as the stress of exams, relationships, the beginning or loss of a job, and other life events. Experiencing anxiety while working at zoos, aquaria, sanctuaries or other animal institutions can be a challenge for some individuals. Working with animals involves the pressure to ensure the wellbeing of the animals,...
The importance of nutrition podcast
Adequate nutrition is essential for promoting optimal animal welfare, as it helps ensure that animals have the energy, nutrients, and vitamins they need to maintain good health and wellbeing. Inadequate or imbalanced diets can lead to a range of health problems, including malnutrition, obesity, and metabolic disorders, which can cause pain and discomfort.
Following a 24/7 approach to animal welfare, animals should have access to a species-specific and appropriate diet, therefore zoo staff should review the typical diets under human care, nutritional composition of wild diets, food presentation, availability and sourcing of food. In addition to providing appropriate nutrition, the diets of animals should also take into consideration their natural feeding behaviours and preferences. For example, frugivorous animals mostly rely on fruit or fruit-like produce from plants, while carnivorous animals should be provided with a diet that is high in protein...
This month on the animal wellbeing platform is all about nutrition, and we talk about food relations on the planetary wellbeing platform. How are these two topics interconnected?
Nutrition is an essential aspect to sustain healthy and active animals. A suitable diet should meet energetic requirements, prevent nutritional disorders and diseases, be safe and hygienic, and encourage natural and engaging behaviours. Nutritional needs differ between species and vary across lifespans. Animal care staff works towards ensuring adequate diet and feeding regimes are provided to the animals.
On the other hand, our global food systems are closely intertwined with planetary health, including the quality of soil, water, and global emissions. Contemporary zoos, aquaria, and other animal care facilities play an important role in the dynamics of global food systems, and are recognising their responsibility to reduce their...
ENRICHMENT FOR BIRDS OF PREY
A new & free resource is available! Many different facilities and organisations around the world have excellent ideas, activities, research, and other opportunities in the space of caring for birds of prey in human care. we combined some in this new booklet where you can find different resources for the enrichment of birds of prey including owls, vultures, hawks, eagles, and other raptor species living in human care. Thanks to all for their efforts!
The free resource can be downloaded HERE
AnimalConcepts welcomes May with new exciting topics in all platforms!
This month on the animal wellbeing platform is all about nutrition. Nutrition is crucial in captive animal facilities, such as zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries, as it directly impacts the health, behaviour, and welfare of the animals. We will explore nutritional needs of different species and how this impacts their wellbeing, we will also investigate feeding enrichment, as well as a holistic and sustainable approach to animal nutrition in captive environments. You can download HERE a list of freely available resources created in 2022 on this topic.
Our focus for May in the space of human wellbeing is “Real love in the workplace”. Every human being has a primal need for love, but most of us fail to realise that this need continues into the workplace. Learn more this month about the eight principles for consistently effective leadership grounded in kindness and care....
Workshop at Zoo de La Flèche, France
Zoo de La Flèche wrote recently on their Linkedin page: "Last week we were pleased to welcome Sabrina Brando, an international animal and human wellbeing consultant.
Sabrina founded AnimalConcepts and has been working with wild animals in human care worldwide for over 30 years. She promotes a concept which considers the lives of animals 24/7 across lifespan, including the time when the animal caretakers.
For 5 days, Sabrina collaborated with the park's animal care and veterinary teams to establish an animal welfare report for the individuals in the Zoo. These 5 days were punctuated by workshops and behavioural studies in the field in order to highlight opportunities and challenges and provide food for thought to be implemented in the daily work by the animal care staff.
"I was delighted to work again alongside the animal care teams at Zoo de La Flèche. We had an interactive week with a 24/7 workshop, as well as other topics...
New free-access article published on primate wellbeing
The responsibility to provide a complex environment and environmental enrichment is an essential element of primate wellbeing programs that should be approached from a 24-h perspective and planned according to the species and individual needs. It is necessary to be aware that animals’ care needs may vary over a 24-h period, and the necessary provisions for good welfare at night and out-of-office hours when care staff are not present may not be the same as during the day. The present review presents a case for increased attention to the welfare of non-human primates during night hours when care staff are not on site, including relevant topics concerning the care of animals during these hours and the use of related technologies to both assess and facilitate wellbeing overnight.
You can download the paper free of charge HERE
Compassion for others and for yourself
This month on the human-wellbeing platform our focus is...
I SEE YOU
Our I SEE YOU flower has developed over years of thinking about how we at AnimalConcepts embody a culture of care. This includes the animals in our care, people, the greater community of life, and the planet we share. Notice a theme here? Yes! Also this connects to INTERBEING and everything and everyone being interconnected. Compassion is an important way of being and skill. We often say that compassion is empathy combined with action. We invite you to explore the I SEE YOU flower and through this lens explore your views, beliefs, and actions towards others of all kinds. While created before AnimalConcepts became an Earth Charter International friend and partner, it aligns with its spirit. The month of April on the human wellbeing platform is all about compassion. The I SEE YOU concept has, and will continue to evolve, expanding the circle of kindness and compassion for all beings of all kinds and this beautiful planet we share.
Celebrating our renewed corporate...
On April 9th, 2020, the AnimalConcepts membership experience launched for the first time, with the Practical Animal Welfare Science platform. In 2021 One Care and Earth Charter-SDG platforms were added to focus on human wellbeing and planetary wellbeing respectively. The interconnected learning platform combines animal, human, and planetary wellbeing content and is unique in the world, offering varied, affordable, and accessible continued professional and personal development, sharing, and learning for all. We have spent the past 3 years developing the platforms with webinars, webposters, activity books, podcasts, and a variety of other resources across a variety of learning styles.
We have continually learned and improved thanks to community feedback since we first launched, and we are pleased to give back to the community with this free celebratory resource and activity book. In 2023, we officially renamed our interconnected...
HOT OFF THE PRESS:
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center, in collaboration with Kore Zoo, AnimalConcepts and San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance recently published a groundbreaking study titled Environmental Enrichment Devices Are Safe and Effective at Reducing Undesirable Behaviors in California Sea Lions and Northern Elephant Seals during Rehabilitation
The use of environmental enrichment with wild animals in rescue and rehabilitation facilities has not always been welcomed, appreciated for its opportunities, or utilised. This collaborative study was conducted by the staff and volunteers at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in California, USA on Northern Elephant seals and California sea lions. The positive outcomes hopefully encourage more organisations to use as well as study the benefits of environmental enrichment to support positive wellbeing through cognitive, social, physical, and other challenges. Enrichment devices can assist young animals during critical...