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Past REEC Conferences


For all past REEC conference abstracts please click here REEC Conference proceedings


UK & Ireland


1st UK & Ireland REEC: Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Devon, U.K. (14-17 May 2006)

The 1st UK—Ireland meeting was a great success with around 50 delegates from 21 different institutions and a varying number of Paignton Zoo staff members attending. In addition to over 20 talks on a variety of topics, from how to set up an enrichment timetable and enrichment group to talks on vicuña and Komodo dragons, we also held a workshop on how to measure the effects of environmental enrichment hosted by Dr Amy Plowman, and a very productive discussion session.


2nd UK & Ireland REEC: Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol, U.K. (20-22 April 2008)

The conference was great, with attendance from over 60 delegates from a range of institutions. The meeting included a rope-splicing workshop, a ‘make the most novel enrichment device’ competition, and a workshop in evaluating enrichment, data analysis, and interpretation. Talks and posters included work on enriching rare species such as echidna, aye-aye and poison-dart frogs, to auditory enrichment, to how to make 10 enrichment devices in 10 minutes


3rd UK & Ireland REEC: Marwell Wildlife, Winchester, U.K. (10-12 May 2010)

Marwell Wildlife held the 3rd REEC which was attended by 100 delegates from 30 UK zoos and universities and 14 worldwide institutions. The conference was excellent! We heard a range of talks from keepers, research students and a vet on enriching carnivores, primates, ungulates, birds and reptiles and found the workshops on rope splicing, willow shaping, the practicalities of enrichment and how to study the efficacy of enrichment very useful. The topics presented by the keynote speakers at the conference; Prof Stephen Lea (University of Exeter), Prof Georgia Mason (University of Guelf, Canada) and Simon Bell (BBC Natural History Unit) covered animal cognition, the importance of enrichment for captive animal welfare and the portrait of filming and working on a wildlife documentary.


4th UK & Ireland REEC: Port Lympne and Howletts Wild Animal Parks, Kent, U.K. (14-16 May 2012)

The conference was a great success. It was a small meeting, with around 45 delegates, meaning that it provided lots of opportunity for discussion and socializing with people from a wide range of institutions. The conference included workshops on rope splicing, fire hose work and evaluating enrichment through research. The keynote speakers were Professor Steven Shapiro (The University of Texas), Mr. Graham Law (University of Glasgow) and Dr. Betsy Herrelko (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland). We also had an excellent introduction to the Shape of Enrichment database by Karen Worley, hopefully delegates will be populating the database with their enrichment devices soon. The social events were also a great success; a bbq and high-ropes course event as the icebreaker and a closing banquet and hilarious quiz at Port Lympne.



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1st Australasian REEC: Zoos Victoria at Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne, Australia. (1-2 November 2006)

The conference committee said that they could not have imagined just how successful the conference was. With 98 delegates, their wonderful Friends of the Zoo volunteers (FOTZ), and a couple of sunny days, the meeting was an amazing opportunity to share everyone’s enthusiasm for enrichment. It was truly inspiring to hear the presentations that were both diverse in topic and enlightening. Along with the other delegates, l made new contacts who share a passion in this field and learned new and interesting facts from other organizations, while also highlighting some of the less-known enrichment techniques being used with Australian fauna. Guest speakers included Valerie Hare, Margaret Hawkins, Kerrie Haynes-Lovell, and Dr. Vicky Melfi.


2nd Australasian REEC: Auckland Zoo, Auckland, New Zealand. (2-5 November 2008)

This conference gained great support from both New Zealand and Australian zoo keepers and animal caretakers.


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1st Brasilian REEC: Såo Paulo University, São Paulo, Brazil. (26-28 September 2008)

Over 150 researchers, animal caretakers, professors, and students, from numerous states in Brasil and Argentina, attended our first Brasilian REEC! The aim of the conference was to fulfill the need in Latin America to discuss new discoveries and relate them to better levels of animal welfare. This conference was not limited to the exchange of knowledge built in Brasil but also designed to create a more comprehensive exchange among different cultures and institutions. Presenters from Brasil, USA, and Austria, representing zoos, universities, animal laboratories, and the farming industry spoke on a variety of enrichment-related topics, including the  history and principles of enrichment, enrichment programs, stress, enrichment and welfare assessment, and enrichment ideas for a variety of taxa. Based on the evaluations received after the conference, the first Brasilian REEC achieved its objectives, promoting stimulating discussions on methods to enhance the welfare of captive animals and encourage the development of methods to evaluate the effectiveness of the enrichment techniques used.


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