There were several aspects of 2021 that were unexpected. A negative was that we didn’t think the pandemic would stop us visiting our partners and projects for the entire year. As a positive though, the overwhelming uptake of our animal welfare educational programme came as a pleasant surprise. This highlighted the real need for a free, accessible animal welfare resource such as our Wild About Welfare Digital Education Programme. What was also unexpected was the sheer scale of the impact we have managed to make purely through utilising virtual opportunities. Hundreds of people and thousands of animals have benefitted from our resources, training workshops, and partnership over the course of the year and it’s been wonderful to see the difference we can make to global animal welfare from the relative comfort of our own homes.
Over the course of 2021 we have delivered over 23 different animal welfare presentations and workshops, primarily online. These include international conferences, webinars, and tailored training to captive wildlife facilities such as zoos, aquariums and animal sanctuaries around the world. We have also reached over 45 different countries this year, thanks in large part to the launch of our online learning programme which alone has been utilised in over 40 countries.
We have also managed to have a direct impact on over 850 different people who have been personally trained by us in animal care and welfare concepts. This number doesn’t include the thousands of people, and animals, we have indirectly reached through our free to access educational resources. During 2021 we have developed and translated over 30 individual resources such as our Care For Us Guides and Core Fundamentals Standard. They are now available in multiple languages and continue to educate and inspire animal care staff globally.
Seeing the influence we have had through continued dialogue with our partners shows the importance of our virtual presence. We love to see the many photos and video clips sent to us from partners across Asia and South America, most of which show animals interacting with enrichment devices or enjoying new elements of their enclosure, designed with our training in mind. Feedback from our resources only solidifies this. There are so many positive comments flooding our inbox, expressing gratitude for the accessible information we have provided and detailing animal care changes that have been made in response to learning more about animal welfare.
Being pro-active in tackling the challenges that we currently face, be them animal welfare issues around the world or a global pandemic which keeps us at home, we are determined to continue with our vital work. 2021 has been an important reminder of the far-reaching impact our animal welfare work can have, driving forward positive changes in many facilities and giving thousands of animals an opportunity to thrive.
The success of rehoming Suzie the chimpanzee from a solitary life as a pet, to a sanctuary where she can live with other chimpanzees, was another highlight of the year for the team. The repatriation of Siti, the endangered macaque back to her native Sulawesi where she can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild, continues to challenge us. We are determined to make this happen and our campaign to help primates like Siti will run into the New Year.
Looking forwards to the future, 2022 is a very special year for Wild Welfare as it’s our 10-year anniversary! From the initial founding of the charity in 2012 to its current status as an international hub of welfare expertise and action, Wild Welfare’s first decade of operation has been an incredible journey so far. We are very excited to share our celebrations with all of our supporters, looking back on fond memories and 10 years of global impact for animal welfare. 2022 will also see the launch of our 5-year strategy to make sure Wild Welfare continues to improve wildlife welfare and help shape the next 10 years of animal welfare achievements around the world.
For now, from the entire Wild Welfare team, we are wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.