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Study reveals “mammal bias” in zoo animal research
Scientists are being urged to study zoo animals like the waxy monkey frog.

Scientists urged to study the welfare of lesser-known species

Researchers at the University of Exeter say there is a distinct “mammal bias” when it comes to scientific research on zoo animals.

The study, published in the journal Palgrave Communications, analysed the past decade of zoo animal research and noted the growth and value of such studies.

It found that research on zoo animals focuses more on “familiar” species such as chimpanzees and gorillas, less so than well-known species such as the waxy monkey frog. This is despite the fact that, globally, fish and birds outnumber mammals reptiles and amphibians in zoos. 

Lead author Dr Paul Rose said that while this bias exists on wider research, zoos can provide great opportunities to study other species.

“Some species, such as chimpanzees, are popular with scientists because we know a lot about them, they are accessible and humans can relate to them,” he said. As well as being found in zoos, many of these species are relatively easy to find and study in the wild. By contrast, it would be hard to find a waxy monkey frog in the rainforest to conduct your research.

“Zoos offer us a fantastic opportunity to study a vast range of species, many of which would be very difficult to observe in their natural habitat. Our findings can teach us about conservation, animal health and how best to house them in zoos.”

The research also looked into whether research in different animals tended to focus on different topics. 

Dr Rose continued: “Lots of mammal studies are about animal welfare, which is great, but we should also research the welfare of fish, birds and anything else we keep in zoos.

“At the moment, we are publishing on the same few species, rather than broadening our scope.
 Obviously we have lots to learn about every species, but opportunities to study many other zoo-housed animals are currently being missed.”

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Kennel Club appoints new chief executive

News Story 1
 The Kennel Club has announced the appointment of Mark Beazley, who was previously Cats Protection's director of operations, as chief executive. Mark replaces Rosemary Smart, who stepped down from the role in April after 18 years.

Mark has held several senior strategic and executive roles, including executive director at Dogs Trust Ireland and chair of the Companion Animal Working Group at Eurogroup for Animals. He was also heavily involved in the establishment of the Eu Cat and Dog Alliance.

Mark will take up his new role in October. 

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International Cat Care appoints new head of veterinary division

International Cat Care (ICC) has announced the appointment of Nathalie Dowgray as head of the charity's veterinary division.

Nathalie, who is an RCVS advanced practitioner in feline medicine, will lead the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) and a play key role in advancing knowledge and research in feline medicine.

Claire Bessant, iCatCare's chief executive said: "We're absolutely delighted to be welcoming Nathalie to the charity. She brings a depth and breadth of feline expertise and understanding which fits perfectly with the charity's work and development, and her enthusiasm for cats is infectious."