There is an increasing desire in the zoological community to embrace the fundamental concepts of behavioural science to enhance animal welfare.
ZSL’s Behavioural Management Committee applies behavioural science in animals’ lives to ensure best practice in animal training and enrichment across ZSL’s Living Collections.
Attendees heard directly from ZSL’s dedicated Zoo Keepers about their daily work with the animals in their care. They provide opportunities for animals to express their natural behaviours, and voluntarily participate in veterinary and husbandry activities.
From teaching African wild dogs to accept wearing radio-tracking collars and training fish for voluntary relocation, to maximising behavioural diversity in Asiatic lions both in the Zoo and in breeding centres overseas, ZSL Keepers work to give animals greater choice and control over their own environment.
Through a series of case studies, this event showcased and celebrated the positive impacts of training and enrichment within ZSL’s Zoos, throughout the wider zoo community and as part of ZSL’s conservation programmes at home and abroad.
Lisa Clifforde, Animal Welfare Officer, ZSL
What is Animal Welfare?
Lisa Clifforde is the Animal Welfare Officer for ZSL’s London and Whipsnade Zoos, a role which is responsible for assessing current states of welfare, resolving concerns and developing proactive strategies to prevent new issues arising.
Lisa has a specific interest in broadening the scope of animal welfare assessment to incorporate all taxa and has worked intensively on developing assessment criteria that can be applied across the full range of ZSL’s animal collection.
Prior to joining ZSL, Lisa qualified with a degree in Animal Behaviour & Welfare from Chester University and subsequently worked as a keeper, animal manager and curator within other BIAZA collections.
Additionally, she has undertaken research and voluntary work in Africa and Asia on carnivore and primate reintroduction and rehabilitation programs, and now trains both keepers and veterinary students on animal welfare assessment. Lisa also sits on the BIAZA and EAZA Animal Welfare Working Groups, and the BIAZA Reptile and Amphibian Working Group.
Jim Mackie, Animal Training and Behaviour Officer, ZSL
Giving animals choice: the practical application of behaviour science in ZSL’s animal training programmes
Jim was appointed ZSL's first Animal Training and Behaviour Officer in 2012 having previously demonstrated the value of trained behaviours to improve husbandry and welfare in the zoo’s living collections. Jim’s interest in animal behaviour began when he trained his own raptors for educational demonstrations 25 years ago.
This led to an opportunity to join ZSL’s Animal display department where he worked for ten years developing the zoo’s visitor education programme. Jim realised that the techniques associated with training animals for demonstrations could be transferred to the whole living collection to augment, and ultimately replace, the more traditional management techniques of chemical and manual restraint when applied to medical and husbandry procedures.
Jim’s passion for the sharing information in the field of operant learning and behavioural enrichment in zoo animals led to formation of ZSL’s Behaviour Management Committees, at both London and Whipsnade Zoo’s and later the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA) Animal Behaviour and Training Working Group which he chairs.
In this capacity Jim is currently working with the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC), the government endorsed regulatory body which maintains the national registers of appropriately qualified animal trainers and behaviourists, and education providers, to create a formalised education and accreditation programme for animal trainers in zoos and aquaria.
Jim is also a member of the EAZA Training Group and an EAZA Academy Instructor. In 2015 ZSL was the recipient of a BIAZA gold award in the welfare category for its work in establishing a coherent, collection wide animal training programme for veterinary and husbandry care.
Luke Harvey, Deputy Team Leader, Predators, ZSL
Utilising Positive Reinforcement Training to support African wild dog conservation
Luke has worked in a variety of zoological environments for the past 14 years, the last 6 of which he has enjoyed sharing time between ZSL London and Whipsnade zoos.
Behaviour management training is a big passion for Luke. He finds it one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of his job. It involves problem solving, patience, sometimes frustration but also a lot of fun. With the biggest reward seeing positive results for the benefit of the animals’ welfare.
Although the majority of his career has been based in elephant care, since joining London zoo 3years ago Luke quickly became fascinated with the collections pack of African wild dogs. Working with the dogs reinvigorated his passion for field conservation. This led him to collaborating with ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, and designing a behavioural management program that benefits both zoo animal welfare and in-situ field conservation.
Matt O'Leary, Senior Keeper, Elephants, ZSL
Advancing environmental enrichment
Matt is currently Senior Keeper based on the Asian Elephant Section at ZSL Whipsnade. Along with working with elephants, Matt has experience working with a wide range of mammal species including big cats & bears.
In 2016 Matt represented ZSL in a project in Partnership with Australian charitable wildlife-protection organization Free the Bears. Matt conducted a series of workshops in Laos & Cambodia helping to train staff and help improve animal welfare practices in South East Asian wildlife sanctuaries. Matt is an instructor for the EAZA Academy program and has hosted workshops in four European countries as part of their Animal Welfare program.
Jim Mackie, Animal Training and Behaviour Officer, ZSL
“Land of the Lions”: how behaviour management has supported Asiatic lion conservation at home and in India
Chaired by Mark Habben, Head of Zoological Management, ZSL
- This Science and Conservation Event is free to attend and booking is not required.
- Venue: Huxley Lecture Theatre, Main Meeting Rooms, ZSL London Zoo.
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