Registered Charity in England & Wales No.1165941

Connecting and Communicating at International Conference


Connecting and Communicating at International Conference

Wild Welfare’s Animal Welfare Field Manager Sarah Bonser-Blake recently returned from a visit to the Netherlands where she attended a conference dedicated to the advancement of animal welfare.

Hosted by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the three day conference was the first of its kind, designed to highlight an evidence-based approach to animal welfare. The theme of the Animal Welfare Forum was bridging the gap between scientific research and application, something that the internationally active Wild Welfare is very passionate about.

Whilst in attendance, Sarah delivered two talks on the organisation’s Wild About Welfare Digital Education Programme. During each presentation, Sarah highlighted the scientific evidence behind Wild Welfare’s Core Fundamentals Standard of Practice for Captive Wild Animals and how this was utilised to develop an interactive and engaging learning tool to advance animal welfare knowledge and practical application.

The talks were an opportunity to reiterate the importance of accessible learning content on the topic of animal welfare and husbandry practices for anyone working with captive wild animals. Having a freely accessible resource anywhere in the world is vital to enable staff to deliver good animal care and allow animals to thrive, which is why the charity continues to translate the online learning programme into different languages. The programme is produced in collaboration with The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) at the University of Edinburgh.

The conference took place at Apenheul Primate Park and was attended by nearly 200 delegates from welfare organisations, captive wild animal facilities, such as zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries, and academic institutions from around the world. There were a multitude of insightful presentations and discussions ranging from species-specific welfare indicators (e.g. how you might diagnose pain in a frog) to the latest research on activity levels in captive carnivores.

“It was inspiring to be in a room full of people with such passion, skill and practical application of animal welfare. I loved being able to share the story of our resource, and the response we got from the talks was really positive. Many attendees couldn’t believe that the programme was free!” Sarah Bonser-Blake, Wild Welfare’s Animal Welfare Field Manager.

The opportunity to share Wild Welfare’s mission with a network of like-minded individuals across the captive wild animal community was a motivating experience and there were several interactions which highlighted how far reaching the charities’ impact can be. Sarah met people who had been utilising Wild Welfare’s resources for years, learning of changes being made as a result of interaction with the organisation’s learning materials.

Wild Welfare’s online learning programme aims to address knowledge and skills gaps which may result in captive animal suffering and gives animal care staff the tools they need to provide optimal welfare. It is currently available in English and Japanese with Vietnamese and Indonesian language translation releases planned before the end of the year.


Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on

Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.

Our vision is to end the suffering of captive wild animals around the world and ensure full and sustainable protection is given to all animals in human care. Find out more at Registered charity in England (no.1165941).