New AnimalConcepts Collaborator

AnimalConcepts is delighted to announce our new collaborator Petra Janssen! Petra will be working on research projects, publications, communications, and operations for the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).

“Petra’s love for African nature and wildlife began when she first visited Kenya as a young adult. A lifelong fascination found root during this trip and many more visits followed. A master’s degree in film studies and in journalism, combined with her love for animals, put her on the track of wildlife film making. With the film production company Nature Conservation Films, she filmed National Parks in Tanzania and Malawi. And after that, she travelled back and forth to Cape Town to volunteer with the South African wildlife film production company Natural History Unit.”

You can keep reading about Petra’s journey to PASA in her bio!


Enrichment and welfare of wild animals in a controlled environment. Arricchimenti e benessere delle specie selvatiche in ambiente controllato

19-21 Marzo 2019, Parco Zoo Punta Verde

Thanks to our collaborator Federico Chiti, AnimalConcepts is pleased to share with you our new video! This installment revisists Parco Zoo Punta Verde in March 2019, where Sabrina Brando worked with animal caregivers from the zoo, the Italian Association of Guardians of the Zoo (A.I.G.ZOO), and the Zoological Gardens of Pistoia to expand and improve enrichment programmes for a range of species.

Over the course of the three-day workshop, participants covered the 5 categories of enrichment, the SPIDER method, species-specific design processes, behavioural observation, building and preparation, and implementation and observations.

Through a compilations of short clips and pictures, see how the team came together to promote positive welfare and enrich the lives of the animals in their care. You can wait our new video on our YouTube channel here!


Compassion Awareness Facebook Group

“Compassion awareness - awareness around compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction - is key in the animal care profession in order for animal care professionals to serve animals and people with compassion and integrity.”

- Sabrina Brando -

Do you want to learn more about compassion awareness? Check out the Compassion Awareness Facebook group! This group is a joined commitment by Kelli Inglis, Jo Thrower, and Sabrina Brando who post self-care tips, articles, jokes, and other content encouraging self-care, create awareness around compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction, and have a good laugh too!

This is a closed group to create a safe environment for sharing stories and asking questions. All members of the group are invited to post content, their stories and questions, anything relevant to this topic.

Together we can create a feeling of care, belonging, and support, that is is 'OK not to be OK', and importantly, that you can find professional help in your community through health care professionals who are trained to support those with feeling of for example, overwhelm, burn out, depression, and/or loneliness. Your community can also be your friends, family, sports club, volunteering program, or other. This group can be 1 of the places you can go for a listening ear or a laugh.

The importance is to really listen and become aware of your psychological wellbeing in the early stages, and to seek help as often you cannot do this alone, you do not have to do this alone, no one should. By having good boundaries, self care rituals, communication, and other practices in place, you can aim to prevent these negative feelings, states, and thoughts.

This group is for animal care professionals who want to learn about compassion, including fatigue, satisfaction, and importantly, resilience. Resiliency skills will allow you to take care of yourself and your wellbeing. It is a community to learn, grow and change through the understanding and implementation of provided resources.

Through sharing stories, discussions, a variety of practices to help create healthy boundaries and promoting positive wellbeing, we hope that this group forms one of the building blocks for your positive wellbeing through which you can continue to serve animals and people with compassion and integrity.


7th International Congress on Zookeeping

9-12 February 2021, Wellington, New Zealand

In February next year, zookeepers from around the world will gather in Wellington, New Zealand for the 7th International Congress on Zookeeping. Roughly 200-300 animal care professionals from at least 20 countries will come together under the 2021 theme of `Me Tiaki, Kia Ora! (We must look after our environment so all life will flourish)’.

The International Congress of Zookeepers (ICZ) is extending an invitation for abstract submissions to present papers, posters, or workshops relating to animal husbandry under human care. For those interested, the deadline for abstracts is 31 August 2020.

Additionally, the ICZ is offering a limited number of scholarships that may assist in covering registration fees and travel and accommodation expenses for caregivers seeking financial support to attend the congress. To learn more, visit the event page here.


New Blog Post Local Festivity in Barcelona Saint Anthony the Abbot

For nearly 10 days in January, the streets of Barcelona’s popular neighbourhood Sant Antoni are filled with festivities to celebrate Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint not only of the neighbourhood, but of animals.

Many centuries later his legacy is still celebrated with a mass on the Sunday closest to the anniversary of his death. This special congregation is filled with animals and their caregivers who bring them along to receive a priest’s blessing. In Barcelona, this takes place in the neighbourhood of Sant Antoni near where the Church of Saint Anthony once stood, which is how the neighbourhood got its name and patron saint.

This religious celebration aims to connect humans and other animals and can be a joyful event for all. However, while the event aims to benefit animals with blessings, from an animal wellbeing perspective it is important to consider and evaluate the perspective of the animal.

What does the dog, the cat, the parrot, or other animals we may have as companion animals in our homes, think and feel about the large crowds, all the sounds, smells and sights? These can be overwhelming and stressful for some individuals. Before attending this, or any event (including daily outings onto the street) with the animal you care for, consider whether this will be a positive welfare experience.

We encourage all to pay close attention to what the animal in your care is telling you though body language, sounds, and other ways he or she communicates. Every species, and every individual has her/his own ways of expressing joy, anxiety, fear, or curiosity. We want this to be nice and fun, and so do the animals!

Who was Saint Anthony? He was born in mid-3rd century Egypt where he spent the majority of his life in the desert in near-complete isolation with only animals for company. Considered the founder of Christian monastic asceticism, the practice of the denial of physical or psychological desires in order to attain a spiritual ideal or goal. Around the age of 20 he sold all of his possessions to benefit charity before leaving for the desert to pursue solitude, which he believed to be the only successful method to purify a person from evil tendencies. Over the years, word spread about the devout holy life he led, inspiring many to follow in his footsteps and seek his guidance. Those followers are thought to be the first monastic Christians and they gave Anthony a platform to disseminate his ideas that included and emphasised a deep respect for all animals. Saint Anthony died on 17 January after more than 100 years of life, nearly 80 of which were spent in isolation


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