A digital animal welfare education programme launched earlier this year in the UK has now reached people in more than 40 countries around the world.
UK animal welfare charity Wild Welfare, launched the Wild About Welfare animal husbandry and welfare e-learning programme in January 2021, and has already seen it accessed by people in 42 countries across the globe.
Developed in collaboration with The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) at the University of Edinburgh, the programme is aimed at supporting Wild Welfare’s work challenging and improving welfare standards for captive wildlife around the world.
Wild Welfare’s acting UK director, Simon Marsh, said: “We knew there was a real need for a programme like this and that’s why we developed it, but I don’t think we expected that within nine months, it would be accessed by people caring for wildlife in more than 40 of the world’s countries – it’s a phenomenal reach!
“The enthusiastic uptake has really highlighted the need for a programme like this and it will have a positive impact on wild animals living in captivity and those caring for them.”
The interactive resource addresses knowledge gaps that may result in captive animal suffering and gives animal care staff the tools they need to provide optimal welfare for animals living in captive facilities such as zoos, aquariums and wildlife centres.
The programme has been downloaded thousands of times by users in 42 different countries (and counting) across the world, from Africa to Australia, Portugal to Peru, with user feedback ranging from heartfelt thanks for its creation, to the detailed ways in which animal husbandry and management has changed in captive wildlife facilities as a result of the learning content.
The course definitely gave me some ideas on how to improve animal welfare and was a helpful programme to complete to build my knowledge and make me better prepared to provide good welfare to animals. Megan Horsley – UK
The modules covered many important key concepts in a way that flows logically and helps with retaining information. Ashley Wong – Singapore
I can say that using Wild About Welfare programme we can learn about animal welfare, and behaviour too….We can use the learning to study techniques that must be put into real practice. Aarón Vargas Briceño – Costa Rica
I learned a lot from the modules. Can’t say I really had a favourite module, I liked them all. Yana Krauwer, Netherlands
Simon Marsh added: “Getting the programme launched and in use has been a significantly exciting time, as the vision of an online course to help ensure and improve animal welfare has long been a dream of our team.
“Evidence that it is connecting with difficult to reach communities and impacting animals who might be suffering in silence is exactly the response we were hoping for.”
As well as individual animal care staff working in zoos and wildlife facilities, the charity has been contacted by many different organisations and educational facilities wanting to utilise the course.
The University of South Africa’s primary lecturer for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Nature Conservation has included many references to the programme’s modules across course content, Johannesburg’s Lory Park Zoo are currently using the programme as a training resource for their animal care staff and creating visitor educational posters from the learning content and the Hirola Conservation Programme in Kenya are utilising the programme for their teams and as part of their education outreach schemes.
In the UK, social mobility charity The Sutton Trust, has been using the programme in their summer school curriculum – aimed at secondary school aged children, many of whom are hoping to become future veterinarians. Institutions such as Sparsholt college, Millgate Secondary School, The University of Edinburgh and many more are also utilising the programme as part of their teaching resources, something of particular use during the pandemic when learning had to move online.
The Wild About Welfare programme is completely free to access and available on smartphones, tablets and computers, where videos, pictures and interactive quizzes guide learners through bite-sized modules on topics including animal behaviour, animal welfare needs and enrichment.
The charity will be launching the programme in Japanese later this year and has already begun other language translations, to make the programme as accessible as possible and to represent the many countries it is active in.
To access the Wild About Welfare animal husbandry e-learning programme, visit the charity’s website wildwelfare.org/resources
Notes to Editors
For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By working together with animal welfare organisations and captive wildlife facilities, including zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries, we achieve long-term and sustainable solutions to the most critical issues facing wild animals in captivity.
Our vision is a world where every captive wild animal is able to thrive and live a good life. Find out more at: wildwelfare.org. Registered charity in England and Wales No.1165941.