Can understanding animal personalities help us to improve conservation?

8 February 2022, 18:00 - 19:30

The idea of humans having individual personalities is something that we are all aware of and experience in our daily lives. These behavioural characteristics, that stay consistent over time, influence how we deal with our environment, including changes in situation and how we socialise with people around us. Historically, the idea that personality existed in non-human animals was disputed, however for anyone that spends time with animals (whether that be with pets, animals in the zoo or those we see regularly in the wild) examples of individual differences exist within these species too. 
It is only relatively recently that the study of animal personality has gained support and attention within the scientific community, and with this increase in focus we are learning more about individual differences and how this knowledge can potentially benefit conservation efforts. Scientists across ZSL have studied animal personality in a variety of settings, both for the management of free-living and reintroduced species, as well as those animals housed in zoos globally – all with the aim of understanding how we can use personality as a conservation tool. Through a series of case studies, this event will showcase how animal personality as a field of behaviour study can help us work for wildlife. 


  • Dr Alecia Carter, Department of Anthropology, UCL: “A Very Brief Introduction to Animal Personality Research”

  • Dr Victoria Franks, University of Chester: “How can considering individual differences inform reintroductions?”
  • Lewis Rowden, Wildlife Health Services, Zoological Society of London: “Application of personality assessment to ex-situ conservation and management”

This event was hosted by Guy Cowlishaw, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.



  • Learn about how the study of animal personality has developed over the past century and its modern-day applications to conservation in this blog post by Lewis Rowden.


Catch up on the event on our YouTube channel here or watch below:


Science and Conservation Event Details:

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ZSL Wild Science Podcast

We will be creating a fascinating podcast episode on the topic of this event, so keep an ear out! Listen to previous episodes of our award winning ZSL Wild Science podcast here. Don't forget to rate and review to help boost us in the charts, and subscribe on your podcast app so you don't miss any future episodes!


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