Behaviour Research

The research of the centre has concentrated on the behaviour, welfare and  cognition ( mind-skills) , education and subjectivity of large mammals. Published work includes  equines, elephants, bovines & camelids. We have joint research programmes with Imire Safari Park, Zimbabwe.

Marthe teaching immitation True imitiation of a novel act, in this case the foal imitating his mother who is imitating the human.         Elephant

1972 was the start of a 44 year research programme with the Druimghigha horses. This is the longest running behavioural study of a group of horses worldwide. The social organization and communication of horses was studied in detail. Equine epistemology ( knowledge of the world) an subjectivity, the provision of a life of quality for horses and it's measurment and social learning and mother infant relationships, Improvements for the welfare, husbandry and breeding  of top quality competitive horses have been developed and tried with the seven generations of internationally competeting Druimghigha horses to date some of which are now used world wide or have helped to change the law for the keeping of horses.  

Evidence for distress & suffering has been monitored in equines, cattle, llamas and guanacos, elephants, rhino and buffalo. (See Publications)

The animals on the farm are monitored and the degree of freedom in their lives is measured to assess the quality of their lives (See Publications).
The life of many large mammals can be enriched by mutual contact if it is correctly done. For the last 20 years research has concentrated on establishing the science of animal educational psychology by experimenting with improved teaching of mammals. We have developed the theory and practice of Cooperative Teaching (teaching without trauma violence of fear: Exploding the Myths. Large mammal handling and teaching (M.Kiley-Worthington & J.Rendle-Worthington 2013, ex libris , amazon in English & French).

Chris & Marthe with a Zebra

Today, our research is on the consciousness and knowledge of different species and  (their particular world view) and what we can learn from this. This  brings together all the information from relevant disciplines (science, philosophy of mind, cognitive science, ethology and psychology, and traditional practises and knowledge, including the individual’s lifetime experiences. The degree to which equines, elephants and bovines can learn to comprehend human language, their ability to acquire human concepts, consciousness, self-awareness and collective intentionality are central to our work. (See Publications)

Our Animal Welfare Science research is geared to assessing the quality of life of individuals mammals in all types of captive environments as well as in the wild, and advising and helping those committed to conserving and breeding different species while allowing them a life of quality (zoos, circuses, wildlife parks, teaching and working animals of all types).

Applied Ecological Research

Chamois A chamois on the farm cliffs

The ecotypes on the farm are monitored,  and  lists all the plants and animals to be found, and their numbers have been monitored  over a period of years to understand the effect of ecological farming practices. (See Publications)

A field study of the chamois whose populations are declining in the area, including population dynamics and behaviour is planned.

Local ecologists are helping with the research and the centre is an active member of local conservation group (ASPAS).

Debates on  how and why we must integrate wildlife conservation and food production locally are increasingly important. The aim of the centre is to bring all the arguments together to reach generally agreed compromises for the future, rather than taking opinionated stances. 

Ecological Agricultural Research

Cutting hay with a tractor Harvesting the wheat crop with an old reaper/binder, the most appropriate implement in this area.          Picture gardens

The eco-agricultural research centers on integrating food production with wildlife conservation, and detailing the resource utilization and energy budgets of the farm, while experimenting and discovering land management techniques to forward the goals of an ecological farm. (See Publications

If you are a researcher requiring more details of current research projects and publications, interested in cooperating with the centre, doing an undergraduate or post graduate project here or volunteering to join our research team, contact us by email.

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