Research Assistant animal behaviour and welfare
As a research assistant I organize all the practical matters to conduct applied animal welfare research. I discuss the different research topics with the keepers, coordinators, curators and researchers, I provide background information about the animals, I order research materials, I take care of the student administration, and so on. I am also involved in Bonobo research at Planckendael ZOO in affiliation with the University of Antwerp. I work closely together with the bonobo keepers to train and move the animals for research experiments and I help the researchers by developing the setup in the bonobo enclosure. Besides practical organization at Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO, I work closely together with the EEP-coordinator (EAZA Ex-situ programmes) Jeroen Stevens, to assist him with the bonobo research at other Zoos in Europe and the US.
Since I started working at Zoos I have been connected to the Harpij Foundation (Stichting de Harpij), an organization by- and for employees in Dutch and Flemish Zoos, with over 1300 members. Our goal is to increase the quality of animal care at Zoos all over the world by sharing knowledge. We organize workshops, conferences and sports days and we have a quarterly magazine. I am a member in the board and an editor for this organization.
My interest in Zoos and Wildlife is not limited to working hours; in my spare time I love to visit Zoos and Nature reserves all over the world.
- Animal Welfare
- Animal Behaviour
- Wildlife and Conservation
I have no research background, but have always been interested in Zoos and Wildlife. I studied Animal Care and Management at Groenhorst College Barneveld in the Netherlands. I combined the studies with working as a keeper at Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen during weekends and school holidays. After graduation I started working at Dierenpark Wissel, and a few years later in Zoo Parc Overloon, where I became a lead keeper. After ten years working at these zoos I started working as a birdkeeper at Zoo Antwerp, then I became a keeper at the small primate department and finally a Coordinator Animal Care in Antwerp ZOO. In February 2018 I had the opportunity to become a research assistant at the Centre for Research and Conservation (CRC) of Antwerp ZOO and Planckendael ZOO, where I can use my practical skills to connect research to daily animal management.