Research put into context by visiting speaker

Our animal management undergraduates were privileged to have a lecture on the importance of research from Dr Paul Rees, a leading authority on captive elephant welfare.

Dr Rees, of the University of Salford, has been advising on our degree programmes for over four years and was instrumental in the launch of our wildlife and ecology degree. He is also a respected author and several of his books are required reading for students.

Dr Rees’ lecture looked at methods of research used by scientists to measure the behaviour of elephants in zoos and the legislation and practices which had been put into place as a result. He also looked at the challenges faced by academics when it came to data interpretation.

On an encouraging note, Dr Rees showed how some research had resulted in additional facilities being provided in enclosures to allow natural behaviour such as dust bathing and to provide more opportunities for feeding. Data gathering had also influenced a trend to keep captive elephants in mixed age groups, which was more akin to how they would live in the wild.

Describing Dr Rees’ visit as ‘a great coup’, HE Course Manager Kevin Palmer said: “This was a great lecture which was of particular interest to undergraduates who are currently involved in researching projects or who may be thinking of going into research as a career.”

Header picture caption: Dr Paul Rees shows his latest book to undergraduates Rachel Turner, Claudia-Rose Stefanie, Harry Martindale and Emma Evans