Finding inspiration for animals through the sharing of experiences

An image from the IFAW short film called “People of Dogs”, about the South African CLAW team. Click to watch.While I was at the annual International Society for Anthrozoology conference in Cambridge, England, we screened a short film, produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare called  “People of Dogs” about that team’s work at our CLAW project in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

I was really pleased by the response from this audience of international experts in the field of human-animal interactions – there were very few dry eyes amongst these pretty seasoned professionals.

IFAW occasionally attends conferences like this in order to exchange ideas with leading scientists and share our experiences in the field. I was particularly excited by Stephen Jenkinson’s presentation on pet-friendly planning in the UK.

He described how some innovative responses to wildlife protection laws, which here in the US frequently mean restricting dogs, can actually lead to improved access to dog-friendly, off-leash, traffic-free, green space. 

In some places housing developers are actually paying levies of up to GBP 10,000 per home into a trust fund to provide green areas that are designed to be appealing to dogs and their owners  - like having access to water for swimming but with a nice ramp rather than a muddy exit so the wet dog comes out clean. 

Since these areas are so appealing to dog-owners they naturally choose to use them over the sites that are more important for wildlife. A terrific solution to protecting wildlife at the same time as encouraging off-leash fun for dogs and their owners! 

I immediately saw opportunities for sharing this approach with our partners at the Sustainable Jersey initiative.

It turns out that Stephen was in turn inspired by IFAW’s work, as he shares in his regular column in the October issue of Your Dog magazine (PDF, 1MB), the biggest selling canine monthly in UK. 

If you haven’t yet seen People of Dogs, you’ll be as proud as we are of Cora, DeVilliers and the rest of the team at IFAW’s CLAW project in Johannesburg.


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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Veterinarian, DVM, PhD
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters