Designing habitats that work

 Melody presented at the AICAS conference

By presenting at the Iberian Association of Wild Animal Caretakers (AICAS) ninth Congress, Melody:

  • Encouraged empathy: by asking "do you know what the animals in your care do, while you're not there?". Some participants noted that they had not thought about this much before.
  • Made learning and interconnection accessible: by presenting in Spanish more animal caregivers were able to consider the individual's needs of their animals, alongside their own wellbeing needs. Making important links between quality of work and quality of life for both.
  • Supported creativity: because despite the shared challenges of limited time and money, people started to ask...

"How can we re-design a habitat for it to be functional and positive from the animal’s perspective?"

Find out by listening to the podcast


Last week, The Animal Behaviour Management Alliance invited Sabrina to talk about animal wellbeing science and practice.


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EEDs in rehabilitation centres, 4 platforms overview, April in DogPAWS & Bonus SiP #143 Into the animal mind


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...

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ATA, Oakland University, and Science into Practice #137 Environmental enrichment for lizards

Enrichment office hours with ATA Founder Ryan Cartlidge

"Meeting our animal's needs can feel overwhelming and stressful at times! And at Animal Training Academy, our members know what this feels like. Therefore we were super grateful to have Sabrina Brando bring her decades of knowledge and experience to our community [in January] to help grow our skills, knowledge and confidence in this area – thanks so much, Sabrina!" said Ryan Cartlidge, Founder of the Animal Training Academy.

The Animal Training Academy (ATA) recently had a month dedicated to environmental enrichment. Founder Ryan Cartlidge shared a short example: "Sabrina and I discussed the importance of an excellent environmental enrichment program to help us meet our animals' needs! One example discussed was training penguins to use foot baths to help with bumble-foot (bumble-foot is lesions or sores on the underside of bird feet). We talked about how we could easily train a penguin/s to stand in a foot bath. However,...

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Science into Practice #123 Animal training, environmental enrichment, and animal welfare: a history of behaviour analysis in zoos

There have been many advancements in zoo animal welfare and management that are present in modern, accredited zoos. These have been shaped by two major behavioural welfare advances: (a) the use of training to increase voluntary husbandry care, and (b) the implementation of environmental enrichment to promote naturalistic behaviours. Both practices have their roots in behaviour analysis, or the operant conditioning-centered, reward-based approach. The authors present key individuals and events that formed two of the advancements of the modern zoo: (1) the emergence of reward-based husbandry training practices, and (2) the engineering of environmental enrichment. This paper suggests ways in which behaviour analysis can continue to advance zoo welfare.

Links to some practical examples

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