New book available September!
Personal stories and beautiful images of ageing individuals brightening the start of each chapter and remind us that what we do must be in the best interest of the animal and be at the heart of their care.
We are thrilled about our edited volume - all about Optimal Wellbeing of Ageing Wild Animals in Human Care, by Sabrina Brando and Sarah Chapman DVM. A remarkable group of experts, practitioners, and thought-leaders have contributed and we are currently in the process of proofreading.
Many wild animals in human care live longer than their wild counterparts because of modern care and wellbeing programmes, leading to a growing demographic of ageing animals. This handbook is dedicated to their care. As an innovative expert publication, it integrates all aspects of professional care, including topics such as behaviour, ethics, environmental enrichment, training, veterinary care, nutrition and habitat design. Each animal is unique in their...
Collaborations with Zoo de Bordeaux-Pessac in France
The whole team at AnimalConcepts is delighted to continue collaborating with Zoo de Bordeaux-Pessac, in France, in its transition and transformation over the coming years in the space of animal, human, and planetary wellbeing.
"I met Sabrina more than 15 years ago, and at that time I made a promise to myself: one day I will collaborate with her. In February 2022 that we materialized this with a 3-day visit to do an audit of the zoo. Very quickly I decided on starting a long-term collaboration as change takes time and we have a lot to do. Her interest and expertise in animal, human, and planetary wellbeing allow us, beyond the animals that hold a fundamental place in our professions, to address more broadly the wellbeing of our team, community and planet. It is through our new philosophy that we aim to continue and develop our practices in the direction of better living together and respecting the planet we share. I am convinced...
Annual BIAZA Research Conference
Recently BIAZA held its 25th Annual Research Conference, with many talks and poster presentations from professionals from the field. Max Norman, Animal Welfare and Conservation Coordinator at AnimalConcepts attended the in-person event at Dudley Zoo & Castle in the United Kingdom.
"With a topic of Peering into the past and looking to the future it was excellent to hear much reflection on best practice and how we can do better for animals and for people for the future", says Max Norman.
The team at AnimalConcepts presented a poster on traditional management practices and facility design with suggested improvements in non-public animal management areas, often called “back-of-house”, in zoos, sanctuaries, and research facilities. Such improvements are integral to enclosure design that aims to optimise animal wellbeing on a 24/7 basis, promote positive affective states and...
The Akron Zoo Chapter of AAZK invites you to the 48th Annual AAZK National Conference which is taking place from 17-21 September 2023 in Akron, Ohio, USA. The conference also includes a trip to the Akron Zoo, where you'll come nose-to-nose with more than 1,000 animals from around the world, such as tigers, snow leopards, red pandas, penguins, Komodo dragons and so many more!
"The Akron Zoo Chapter of AAZK is thrilled to have Sabrina Brando join the AAZK National Conference in September of this year. The theme of this conference is focused toward 'the heart' of animal care, which lines up perfectly with AnimalConcept's purpose. With Sabrina's work in human well-being and geriatric animal care, her experiences will be an invaluable contribution to the program." says Kristen Scaglione, Conference Co-Chair.
There are also other trips possible to explore for example Cleveland Metroparks Zoo or go on safari in The Wilds. The program is fully booked with papers and posters, as well as fun...
Short survey artificial versus natural enrichment
You can help and contribute to the growing literature, research, and best practices for animals in human care.
This survey asks about differences in using artificial or natural enrichment in zoos and aquariums. There is an ongoing discussion on which method is best, and what is most appropriate for the animal as well as guests. The results from this survey will help us determine what people who work with enrichment on a daily basis experience, which will complement the literature already written on the subject. We thank you for your participation.
Please note: This is a survey which started in 2020 and was put on hold due to COVID-19, thanks to all who have already completed it! We are doing 1 last round and writing up the results which we will share here for open access.
Click HERE to participate, thank you!
If you have any questions regarding this study, please contact Sabrina Brando at [email protected].
A free paper from the AnimalConcepts team is available open access and you can download it below.
This paper is part of the book Transforming food systems: ethics, innovation and responsibility by Donald and Ann Bruce, and discusses the challenges zoos face to be more environmentally-conscious and make decisions in regard to the sourcing of food for both animals and people. This paper also highlights the efforts undertaken by zoos to mitigate these challenges.
Contemporary zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and other facilities housing animals in human care (hereafter zoos) are concerned with their core values of animal wellbeing, education, and nature conservation. There is a wide variety of species living in zoos worldwide, spanning across many different taxa, which results in an enormous diversity of diets – each bringing its own set of challenges. Meats, fishes, insects, fruits, vegetables, and browse are some, among many, of the necessary components for...
A new paper resulting from a collaboration between AnimalConcepts, the University Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, and the University of California in the USA is now available. The open-access article can be downloaded below.
The present study aimed to identify common joys and stressors experienced by zoo professionals working in a variety of roles ranging from junior animal care staff to curators. While many of those who care for non-human animals professionally identify their work to be purposeful, meaningful, and intrinsic to their calling and values, there can be downfalls to their chosen careers. Through a survey of 311 zoo and aquarium professionals, the present study identified common themes about their lack of ability to feel empowered to do their best for animal welfare. We identified a link between staff welfare and perceptions of animal welfare, highlighting areas that organisations can target to improve the ability of their staff to care for animals by taking better...
A new paper is freely available, a collaboration between SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Universidade federal de Minas Gerais, and AnimalConcepts. The article is available open access and you can download it below.
While the existence of human–animal relationships dates back thousands of years, the effects of these bonds on animal well-being have only recently been examined in detail. The existing literature demonstrates that factors such as familiar human caregivers and persistent, predictable care may, for example, lower an animal’s fear response and improve overall welfare. The goal of the present study was to analyse how a range of variables, including age, sex, animal species, and previous bonds with a pet could influence the development of human–animal bonds between caregivers and animals at six affiliated zoological facilities. The present study is a survey of 201 animal caregivers focusing on their perception of the bonds shared between...
"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." - Chief Seattle
Monday 5th June we celebrated World Environment Day, an event intended to raise global awareness and take action on pressing environmental issues. It is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and serves as a platform for promoting positive environmental action worldwide. This year the theme will focus on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution.
Every year, more than 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced, with half of it intended for single-use purposes. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled. Around 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and oceans, exacerbating the problem. Currently, plastic pollution is evident in overflowing landfills, ocean contamination, and the release of...
Every June the world celebrates Pride Month, marking the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and reflecting on how far we have come towards LGBTQIA+ rights and where we still need to go. At AnimalConcepts, we are celebrating LGBTQIA+ inclusion and championing diversity in the zoo and aquarium community with a brand-new free resource addressing the ways in which animal care and other facilities can support staff, students, and visitors no matter how they identify. You can download the free resource HERE
While we wear the rainbow flag for June, it is important to remember as a community that Pride is not something we think about only for one month of the year. There are always things we can do year-round, whether it is day-to-day changes like sharing your pronouns or using inclusive language, or systemic changes like rewriting our DEI policies or building new gender-inclusive infrastructure.
We presented a webinar on gender diversity and...