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Wild Welfare present at EAZA Animal Welfare Forum 2024

Simon and Sarah present workshop in Italy at EAZA Welfare Forum 2024

Sharing Expertise & Building Connections at International Animal Welfare Forum

Wild Welfare was delighted to speak at the recent EAZA Animal Welfare Forum 2024, held at Parco Natura Viva in Verona, Italy. This was the second meeting of the forum, following an event held in the Netherlands back in 2022, which Wild Welfare also presented at.

This year’s event theme, “Knowing Me, Knowing You – Understanding Individual Animal Welfare” highlighted the importance of the welfare needs of individual animals under human care. A total of 234 delegates from 37 represented countries were in attendance, including a diverse range of professionals from animal care, research, and education backgrounds. The forum provides a platform for animal care professionals from across the globe to share knowledge and build vital collaborations.
Wild Welfare Director, Simon Marsh and Animal Welfare Field Manager Sarah Bonser-Blake, actively participated in presentations, workshops and networking opportunities across the three-day event. On the afternoon of the first full day, Sarah captivated audiences with her thought-provoking presentation, “We Have Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself – But What If You’re an Sarah presenting talk at EAZA Welfare Forum 2024Animal?”. The presentation discussed fear responses in animals, and how they might be different in each individual depending on their personal history. Delivered over two sessions to a total of 100 attendees, Sarah explored how animal care staff can factor these considerations into management decisions, ensuring every animal can seek species-specific safe spaces.

“It was great to know that we are not on our own in seeking solutions (for animal welfare).” – Aude Haelewyn Desmoulins, Parrot World, France.

Sarah and Simon also co-hosted two 90-minute workshops entitled “Practical Application of Animal Welfare Assessments Within Husbandry Practices”. These interactive sessions explored the barriers and potential solutions to both carrying out a welfare assessment and then applying those findings into practical husbandry practices. Workshop participants openly engaged in discussions, sharing experiences and solutions they have encountered at their own zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums.

“As an early career welfare professional, it was so useful to discuss problems and solutions that experienced colleagues have been through in their careers” – Naomi Frost, Animal Behaviour and Welfare Coordinator, Twycross Zoo, UK.

Wild Welfare have now collated the valuable data collected during the workshops to submit to the EAZA with the hope it can help towards developing a framework as to how these challenges can be overcome in captive animal facilities, encouraging more staff to not only conduct effective welfare assessments for the animals in their care, but also having a process in place so they can act on those findings and create more positive welfare experiences for the animals.
Wild Welfare presentation at EAZA Welfare Forum 2024

Ensuring a positive shift in the narrative of animal welfare is a passion project for the Wild Welfare team. Participation in conferences such as the EAZA Animal Welfare Forum provide a global stage for the team to not only share their expertise but highlight the importance of their work in driving forward animal welfare improvements around the world.

“Overall, the EAZA Animal Welfare Forum 2024 was a very positive experience,” concluded Sarah. “The focus on advancing our understanding of animal welfare and translating that knowledge into practical applications was truly inspiring. We are confident that the collaborative spirit and insights shared at the forum will have a lasting impact on improving animal welfare across the globe.”


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 a world where every captive wild animal is able to thrive and live a good life. Find out more at Registered charity in England (no.1165941).