Ep23 Frans de Waal on emotions and morality in animals

2020 ibuzz podcast Dec 26, 2020

Dr. Frans de Waal is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. He is C.H. Candler Professor of primate behaviour in the Department of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also the director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory. Frans is the author of many books of which he discusses during this podcast.

Frans discusses the attribution of emotion and morality to animals, which is still a subject of debate among animal scientists. For many, empathy and emotion have been thought of as a distinctly human experience. 

Frans compares feelings and emotions and shares with us different stories and experiences to illustrate emotional capacities in chimpanzees, bonobos, and other animals. He remarks that emotions can be found everywhere in the animal kingdom.

Frans and Sabrina share their thoughts on how scientists and academics should be interpreting their work for broader audiences and how we can get science into practical...

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Press release: AnimalConcepts launches new website

Media contact: Sabrina Brando
Founder and director
[email protected]

Press release


Be at your best to achieve excellence in wellbeing and conservation

Teulada, Spain (December, 22nd) AnimalConcepts has launched a new website to help you care for animals and yourself. This includes new pages dedicated to the Practical Animal Welfare Science (PAWS) platform which launched in April this year. This platform features many of the tools you need for animal care and welfare. It also includes individual and organisational care, so animals and people can flourish.

The worldwide platform brings us together in ways most other organisations don’t, or can’t. What AnimalConcepts does is so important!" said Darren Minier, Assistant Director of Oakland Zoo. Navigating the sea of animal care and welfare information is a challenge that can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, where do you start? Animal care and veterinary...

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Ep22 Megan Ross on animal care and welfare & conservation science, honesty and success stories

2020 ibuzz podcast Dec 19, 2020

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...

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Ep21 Terry Maple on animal welfare at the hand of science

2020 ibuzz podcast Dec 11, 2020

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...

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Ep20 Con Slobodchikoff into the world of animal languages

2020 ibuzz podcast Dec 04, 2020

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...

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Ep19 Saskia Verbruggen on the importance of training for positive animal welfare

2020 ibuzz podcast Nov 27, 2020

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.


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Ep18 Mirian Vilela on a vision for a better world, education, social transformation, and a global movement

2020 ibuzz podcast Nov 20, 2020

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...

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Ep17 Mark Kingston Jones on enrichment and the importance of the individual

2020 ibuzz podcast Nov 13, 2020

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...

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Ep16 Margo DeMello on human-animal studies, speaking for animals, and mourning animals

2020 ibuzz podcast Nov 06, 2020

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...

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Ep15 Jorg Massen on animal friendships, cognition, and enrichment

2020 ibuzz podcast Oct 30, 2020

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...

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