It matters how you do things

Hello friend,
You might start to see some tiny tweaks...

We all get way too many emails. Inboxes fill up, emails get ignored and content can be overwhelming. But when you get a great email, it's really rather satisfying.

Something that is actually helpful, interesting and meaningful.

Now that sounds like an email worth writing and reading.


We want our emails to be useful. We hope they already are, but we're also in the business of continued improvement! So you might start to see some tweaks and changes as we experiment with what works best.

We just want to say that if there are bits you like, something you find useful, or parts that aren't so great, then please hit reply and share your story. This space is for you.

We're really glad you're here.

How we do things makes a difference

What difference can you make today?
It matters how you think

Melody is presenting a talk in Spanish at the Iberian Association of Wild Animal Caretakers (AICAS) ninth Congress meeting. Key takeaways...

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Help animals through our short survey on natural versus artificial enrichment

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].


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Free resource "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

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Behaviour, animal training and human wellbeing- Science into Practice #124 Training as enrichment: a critical review

Watch and listen to a zoo-focused virtual behavior chat hosted by Dr. Eduardo (Eddie) J Fernandez (Florida Tech; University of Adelaide), with Sabrina Brando (AnimalConcepts), Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Herrelko (Smithsonian's National Zoo), Nicholas (Nic) Bishop (Adelaide Zoo). It was recorded on February 26th, 2021. In this chat, we cover many topics related to the science and practice of animal training, enrichment, and general welfare of zoo animals. Some specifics include increasing and examining optimal animal-visitor interactions, training as both a means to increase husbandry/veterinary procedures as well as a form of enrichment, how we incorporate both research and practice into proper zoo animal welfare, and lots of responses to attendee questions/comments. On the YouTube page, you also find a lot of references! You can access by clicking HERE

Ongoing learning and sharing is at the core of AnimalConcepts philosophy and to continue serving our community in the human wellbeing...

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Environmental enrichment as the sprinkles on top

What do we mean by environmental enrichment? As with anything, it is always good and helpful to understand where things came from. Environmental enrichment was born from something that the words reflect: enriching the environment.

Not long ago, and even today, animals in all kinds of systems can find themselves in environments that are not enriching, which are lacking in stimuli, in opportunities, complexity, and therefore a lack of choices and control and ability to exercise one's agency.
Some of these areas are still very much lacking, think for example of the back of house areas animals can spend many hours in. Whether in zoos, aquariums, research laboratories, with farm animals, or animals in shelters and at home, we came to the realisation that we need to enrich the environment by adding structures (flexible, fixed, soft, hard, etc.), vegetations, substrates, considering their social needs, hiding places, places as viewpoints, shade, or spaces large enough to rest, play or...

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Swimmingly forward: Fish welfare, pain and intelligence

By Holly Molinaro & Sabrina Brando

Usually, we release one Science into Practice (SiP) resource every week. For this month, we have a little bonus for you. Two SiPs in one week! You can access all materials via the PAWS platform, not a member yet? Become one HERE or sign up for more blogs like this via our newsletter!

This week, both SiPs are about fish welfare, pain and intelligence.

One of the reasons for this is that we would like to discuss and cover a wide variety of topics and stances, including the ones we do not necessarily adhere to. We should make all efforts to not fall into the trap of excluding information just because it does not fit our worldview, philosophy, or opinion, but rather discuss openly and put forward our ideas, thoughts and feelings, bringing in all the science and other perspectives available to have a deeper conversation.

(1) Rose (2007), Anthropomorphism and ‘mental welfare’ of fishes


(2) Sneddon (2019), Evolution of...

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Ep1 In memory of Graham Law - an inspiration to all in animal welfare and enrichment

The first podcast of AnimalConcepts is a special podcast. It is dedicated to our friend and colleague, the late Graham Law. This podcast is a conversation between AnimalConcepts PAWS Director Sabrina Brando and Mark Kingston Jones, Co-Founder of Team Building with Bite, remembering the work, travel, and downtime with the kind, witty, always up for a joke and drink, and to animals committed Scotsman, of which he was very proud. 

Graham Law was Graham, and he was a husband, father, friend, and colleague. He was a visionary, an inspirator, joker, deep thinker, a poker & pusher to explore and be the best we can be, he was and is a legend.

Graham's thinking and ideas have brought so many changes in the animal care and welfare field, for bears, cats, birds, fishes, and others. Enrichment ideas such as the wobble tree, the pitfall feeder, the 'bear' basket, the swing pole feeder, and the feeding pole, are all among the many contributions he made. ...

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