Monday, August 6, 2012

Blair Drummond Safari Park Design Conference: Animal Welfare and Habitat

Animal Welfare and Habitat Design Conference.
October 22nd to 26th 2012.
Stirling, Scotland.
How does zoo habitat design improve animal welfare?
A multi-faceted program to examine how an animal’s
biological, psychological and emotional needs can be met through carefully considered habitat design.
International guest speakers from zoos and field research projects presenting on how the needs of both great apes and elephants should be addressed in the modern zoo environment.
Cost for the 5 days will be £295 with an optional additional £35 cost for a
conference dinner at the 4 star Highland Hotel in Stirling.
To pre-register or for further information or registration form please send your details to :
Chris Lucas or Alasdair Gillies at:  

Blair Drummond Safari Park Design Conference: Animal Welfare and Habitat.

Blair Drummond Safari Park is situated 4 miles outside Stirling in central
Scotland. It is a small park of 125 acres and has been established for over 40 years. During the past decade we have started pushing our understanding of animal welfare to new levels for the species we hold. In the past our chimpanzees and elephants were kept in what we now consider detrimental conditions.
By taking their biology and behaviour as our guiding principle, we feel we
have created two species specific habitats that have redefined the standard of welfare we can offer these animals.
We are hosting this conference in the hope of sharing evolving philosophies and concepts with you. Topics to be discussed include:
The Importance of Elephants and Chimpanzees in Zoos
The Role of Zoos in Society
The Evolution of Zoos
Biology and Behaviour of the Wild Elephant
A Day in the Life of a Zoo Elephant
History of Chimpanzee and Elephant Management at the Park
Emotional Wellbeing of Gorillas in Captivity
Veterinary Access and Welfare
Site Tours of Habitats
The Future for Elephants in Zoos
The Future for Great Apes
Wild Habitats
Development of an Elephant Management Programme
Habitat Preparation and Institutional Support
Professional Habitat Design
Protected Contact chutes and Drugs
Improving Chimpanzee Habitats
Access in Protected Contact

Blair Drummond Safari Park Design Conference: Animal Welfare and Habitat.
The following topics will be the main areas for discussion during our conference. The topics will complement each other by highlighting how the important issue of providing welfare through correct habitat design and management can be achieved.
As this is a preliminary agenda please note that additional speakers will be announced as they confirm.
The Role of Zoos.
Zoos hold a very important role in society through research, conservation and education. It is crucial that the message they deliver addresses each of these areas, thereby influencing public understanding of issues in the wider global environment.
Jamie Muir: Owner of Blair Drummond Safari Park.
Miranda Stevenson: Director of BIAZA: The Importance of Elephants and Chimpanzees in Zoos.
Anthony Sheridan: Professional author: Benefit of Zoos to Society.
Using the Animals’ Biology as our Reference:
A captive habitat can only be a good habitat if it allows the animals within it to act in the way they have naturally evolved. When designing an exhibit it is vital that the biology and behaviour of the species is closely examined and then used as the main focus for dictating how the finished display will look and function. The topic will help explain how, using these key elements, this can be achieved.
Alan Roocroft: Elephant Business: A day in the Life of an Elephant in our Zoos.
Chris Lucas: Blair Drummond Safari Park: History and Development of Elephant Management at Blair Drummond.
Alasdair Gillies: Blair Drummond Safari Park: History and Development of Chimpanzee Management at Blair Drummond.
Yvonne Baur: University of Stirling: Emotional Wellbeing in Gorillas
Colin Scott and Simon Girling: Head Vet at Blair Drummond and RZSS respectively: Habitat Design from a Vet’s Perspective.
Facing the Future:
Looking at some of the problems facing elephants and great apes in both the wild and captivity, and what should be done to address this.
BBC wildlife
Can Zoo Habitat Design Improve Welfare?
This topic will examine how habitat design directly influences the welfare of the animals within it. Several examples of collections that have made specific changes and the benefits they have brought, not only to the animals, but also the zoo as a whole.
Gerry Crieghton: Operations Manager Animals and Grounds, Dublin Zoo, Ireland: Habitat Design and Institutional Support for elephants and gorillas at Dublin.
Karen Gibson: Elephant Manager, Dallas Zoo, USA: Habitat design, documentation and support.
Jim Anderson: University of Stirling, Scotland/Kyoto Primate Research Centre, Japan: Improving Chimpanzee Habitats.
Andrew McKenzie: Head of Elephants, Chester Zoo, England: Protected Contact Training for Elephants.
In addition to presentations and lectures we will also be hosting tours of Blair Drummond Safari Park and holding question and answer sessions in both the elephant and chimpanzee houses on their design and function. There will also be practical demonstrations of Protected Contact Training for the elephants where we will encourage delegates to participate.
We will also be hosting a conference dinner, cultural tours and evening events that will provide excellent opportunities to network and share ideas with other delegates on the course.
There will be a workshop at the end of the conference to put what has been learned into practice and have a group discussion about key factors that are involved in beneficial animal welfare and habitat design.

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