“Not everybody is convinced that a zoo can offer these conditions ... in most zoos, there is a great awareness that this is one of their biggest challenges - to give animals a natural environment in which to develop their natural behaviours" - Jan van Hooff
Jan van Hooff joins us once again to share more stories about the chimpanzees, led by Mama, living at the Royal Burgers Zoo. He shares with us more tales of coalition behaviour in primates from his time with Mama and the Arnhem chimps, during a time when there was a great interest regarding the functions of aggression in the life of social animals.
Jan explores the topic of how social groups are formed and maintained, and the importance of giving and taking in forming a community that benefits all members involved. He discusses how coalitions form, supported by the work of his PhD student Frans de Waal. Jan goes on to retell the development of relationships between the Arnhem Zoo chimpanzees, as observed by Frans, and how...
Unedited transcript of the video above
"We are all in the welfare department. So it's really interesting. Sometimes I hear these things about, you know, well, we should talk to the welfare department, or we should, you know, talk to the welfare scientist. And of course, being a welfare scientist and animal welfare scientist is a professional in itself. You know, everybody has their specializations. But it is important to know that we are all in the animal care and welfare department. So sometimes, it's also about, well, let's create a special issue around animal welfare. But everything that we do is about animal wellbeing. Everything that we do, revolves around care, right? So there's no separation with regards to when we're talking about breeding conservation efforts, feeding the animals cleaning, the human-animal interaction, everything is animal care, and well being in the sense that it has an effect. And whether that's a good one or a bad one, you know, depending on how...
“My focus was to study the social aspect of companion animals and how they change our social relationships with people.” – Lynette Hart
Today we will hear Dr Lynette Hart as she delves into the world of Human-animal interactions, grief counselling and animal behaviour research, which she was happy to be a part of at a time when women with PhDs did not find suitors!
As she tells how Leo Bustad pioneered in talking about the human-animal bond and vulnerable people, she asserts that ‘interaction’ best describes the positive and negative aspects.
She shares her part alongside others in popularising grief counselling for the loss of animals as a valid aspect of the human-animal bond. She tells how addressing grief is important for pet parents, veterinarians, animal laboratory workers and zookeepers.
Listen as Lynette talks about a unique volunteer-based animal behaviour research on flehmen behaviour in ungulates, her work on elephant infrasound...
Unedited transcript of the video above
Hey, for the love of learning, you know, hashtag forever student. And so I'm Sabrina Brando, I'm the director of AnimalConcepts. And I've been, you know, in the field of animal care and well being for 30 years. And the other day with some friends and colleagues, we were talking about how sometimes we can become like these magpies that are like collecting, you know, all kinds of new shiny things like knowledge, or impressions and ideas, and so on. And but we don't necessarily take that information or those ideas, and use them with the animals or, you know, embed them into our programs or something like that. So and actually, the research on the magpies is out on this thing about collecting, but we tend to say that right, shiny new things. And so it reminded me of some of the work that I've seen by Jim quick, who helps people with knowledge and learning and reading, and he has these three questions that I find useful about, you know, why would I...
Hi! How are you?
Yesterday I was reading and writing about love in the workplace, inspired by a few books on this topic. I am so excited about this! We speak of love in many contexts but not often when it comes to working. When thinking of drawing a boundary around a system, I think we can say that it is safe to draw a boundary around peoples, humankinds. Humankind is a system within systems.
I am hopeful that ultimately our common purpose is to care for and have respect for each other. That we can trust and be authentic, to be kind and supportive for each other and feel this from others too, i.e., love and loving-kindness. Not only at home, with friends or family, but also in the workplace.
Animal care professionals across different disciplines such as laboratories, shelters, zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and farms experience a wide range of occupational stressors (sorrows) as well as satisfactions (joys). Sorrows may include extended workloads, dysfunctional teams,...
“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,...
"Curiosity is key. Ask questions and break them down into smaller components and apply it to a study to create a fundamental understanding... it helps us progress from what we know to more knowledge" - Samantha Ward
Let’s welcome Dr Samantha Ward, a senior lecturer in animal science at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) who also manages the undergraduate bachelor’s degree in zoo animal biology. Furthermore, Sam works within the EAZA Records Working Group, a research advisor for Wild Welfare and is a welfare expert on the Zoo’s Executive Committee as part of Defra.
Sam shares with us how her love of animals came from her childhood through caring for her pets. She specifically reminisces of a goat named ‘Fudge’ which she entered a local race, which got mentioned in the local paper. Through work experience, Sam discovered the veterinary career was not for her. This led her to complete a BSc in Applied Zoology, an MSc in Animal Behaviour and a PhD in...
"The toughest part of animal training is that you find your own way, and not following rules. Because, following rules means there is no forward development" - Sven Wieskotten
Let’s welcome Sven Wieskotten for today’s podcast. He is the founding director of Animal and Training.
Sven first reminisces about his childhood bird and how far we have come in terms of animal husbandry. Then his first animal bond during his PhD with a Harbour seal named Henry. Sven noted his first career choice was being a pilot, however, due to unforeseen circumstances, he could not do this. So, he studied his second choice; biology, in 1997 at the Ruhr "University Bochum". During this, he met the founding director of the ‘Marine Science Center’ in Rostock, who introduced the research his team do on Harbour seals to his class. This started his passion, Sven enquired whether he could join their team. After seven weeks of enquiry, the centre got new seals and invited Sven to join.
This podcast is dedicated to Dr Hal Markowitz (1934-2013)
"Hal argued that an unnatural stimulus is better than a natural environment with no stimulation."
- Autumn Sorrells
Let’s welcome Autumn Sorrell, the Animal Care Director at Elon Musk’s neuro-tech company, Neuralink. She attributes her career to being heavily influenced by the Father of Environmental Enrichment, Dr Hal Markowitz, with whom Autumn worked for the last 10 years of his life. As such, this podcast is the celebration of his life.
Autumn undertook an undergraduate agricultural animal science programme at the University of Missouri, Columbia and graduate work at Purdue University. She was granted a scholarship from the USDA to study livestock behaviour and learned to ask animals questions about their environment and preferences. During her undergrad, Autumn pursued various internships in different zoos, reading journals trying to learn more about the behavioural design of enclosures, including one...
Let’s welcome Dr Brice Lefaux for today’s podcast as he takes us around the world to meet with the most endangered species of primates on earth.
It all started with Lily, the family dog. Growing up together, and learning to live with each other was probably the trigger to a life dedicated to animal welfare and conservation. One career option would be becoming a vet, although it wouldn’t be a match to his determination to make a difference.
Not realising at first how zoos could have an impact, Brice still decided to take a position as a Vet and Assistant manager at Bioparc de Doué la Fontaine. After a year, he experienced his first fieldwork in South America with Spider monkeys, a species of which he was studbook keeper back in Europe. There he realised that zoos were undeniable for the sustainability of field research and in-situ conservation actions. He felt a true connection to the wild and his long-standing passion for primates got even...