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In December 2019, Co-Founder Nic Field made a reconnaissance visit to Ensessa Kotteh Wildlife Rescue, Conservation and Education Centre in Ethiopia.

In February 2020 Global Animal Welfare organised a workshop at Ensessa Kotteh Wildlife Rescue, Conservation & Education Centre. The Centre was officially established by Born Free in 2010 in collaboration with the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA). Ensessa Kotteh means ‘animal footprint’ in Amharic and is the first and only Centre of its kind in Ethiopia.

The Centre provides a home and cares for wild animals who have been confiscated from the illegal trade, surrendered or rescued inadequate captive conditions. Each animal who enters Ensessa Kotteh is carefully assessed to see whether full rehabilitation and release back to the wild is feasible. Those that cannot be released are provided with lifetime care.

The focus of the workshop centred around behavioural management and environmental enrichment through a series of formal lectures and practical exercises. It was conducted by Global Animal Welfare’s founders Annemarie Weegenaar and Nic Field and took place over 6 days.

The participants included the Centre’s animal care staff as well as the resident Veterinary Technician, Centre Technical Manager and Education Manager. Also present for the duration of the workshop was Head of Centre, Mandala Hunter-Ishikawa and Animal Rescue & Care Manager, Maggie Balaskas.

Species at the Centre include: African Lion, cheetah, various primate species, tortoise, hyena, antelope and birds of prey.

Lectures covered topics ranging from the principles of animal welfare, natural behavioural biology, behaviour-based husbandry, health & safety, environmental enrichment and animal learning & training. Practicums included environmental enrichment design for specific species and creating devices utilising locally available resources. There was also a session focused on designing animal records.
Problem-solving workshops covered behaviour and animal management using positive reinforcement. Food presentation and increased environmental enrichment was discussed as well as how human behaviour can impact the behaviour of the animals.

It was a productive week with an impressive and engaged team. The participants demonstrated a great deal of enthusiasm and a real passion for their work. This workshop has laid the foundation for further collaboration on developing an environmental enrichment programme and possible future training.