UK animal welfare charity Wild Welfare has launched a new, free, online animal husbandry programme, to support its global work challenging and improving welfare standards for captive wildlife.
The unique, open-access online programme Wild About Welfare, is produced in collaboration with The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) at the University of Edinburgh, and makes animal welfare education available to anyone working with captive wildlife around the world.
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.
Wild Welfare’s acting UK director, Simon Marsh, said: “We can empower animal care staff to understand what good animal welfare looks like and what the animals in their care need.
“The Wild About Welfare programme has been designed to upskill staff working in captive wildlife facilities around the world and give them the knowledge to be able to deliver good care and welfare to their animals.”
The programme offers a comprehensive yet simple introduction to animal husbandry practices for all wildlife caregivers, in facilities such as zoos, aquariums and sanctuaries.
Delivering bite-sized online modules on subjects such as animal behaviour, animal welfare needs and animal enrichment, the programme can be taken one module at a time or as a complete course.
The programme is accessible on smartphones, tablets and computers and comprises videos, pictures and interactive quizzes – the interactive online modules were built by the University of Edinburgh’s Dr Louise Connelly, a digital education specialist.
Dr Heather Bacon OBE of JMICAWE, who worked with the Wild Welfare team on developing the content, said: “We are delighted to partner with Wild Welfare on producing this important educational resource.
“Our team has established expertise in animal behaviour and welfare science, and digital education.
“Combining this with the practical experience and expertise of the Wild Welfare team, has resulted in an accessible, interactive resource that aims to improve captive animal welfare globally, by inspiring caregivers to optimise animal husbandry in wildlife facilities.”
Wild Welfare has extensive experience in identifying where there are gaps in animal welfare standards in captive wildlife facilities and has published research into the most common captive animal welfare issues.
Simon Marsh added, “This programme will enable animal care staff the opportunity to address these issues and improve animal welfare.
“Education is key, and by offering people a way to access good quality information, we can help ensure they are better able to play their part in providing good welfare for the animals in their care.
By upskilling individuals and communities in captive animal welfare concepts across zoos, aquariums, wildlife sanctuaries and rescue centres, the charity aims to optimise and improve captive animal welfare globally.
The new programme is currently available in English, but it will be translated into multiple languages to represent the project countries Wild Welfare is active in around the world.
The charity’s global projects help captive wildlife facilities provide better care for their animals by working in partnership with facilities and their staff, to achieve long-term, positive results that improve animals’ lives.
To access the Wild About Welfare animal husbandry e-learning programme, visit the charity’s website wildwelfare.org/resources
Notes to Editors
- The Silent Foundation is dedicated to assisting what it calls the ‘silent sufferers’, which includes animals, the environment and human beings as long as they are overlooked and are not getting sufficient assistance from the public at large.
Wild Welfare: 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 wildwelfare.org. Registered charity in England and Wales No.1165941.
The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education: Integrated within the R(D)SVS is the Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE), which is committed to improving the health and welfare of animals through education, training, research, and promoting the important role of veterinarians in protecting animal welfare, as well as supporting capacity building in animal welfare within various parts of the world.
The JMICAWE is a hub of expertise on animal welfare education, collaborating with international partners to advance understanding of animal welfare issues. Find out more at www.ed.ac.uk/vet/jeanne-marchig-centre