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Samantha Ward

Associate Professor

Animal, Rural & Environmental Science

Staff Group(s)
Animal and Equine


Dr Samantha Ward is an Associate Professor of Zoo Animal Welfare at Nottingham Trent University.  Sam leads the School of Animal, Rural & Environmental Sciences Teaching and Practice Pathway and is the Schools' Athena Swan Champion.

Sam sits as the Welfare Expert on the Zoo’s Executive Committee as part of Defra, advising the UK Government on UK zoo-matters including re-writing the Secretary State Standards for Modern Zoo Practice and the Zoo Licensing Act. She is a Committee member of the Animal Records Working Group for the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Research Advisor for the Charity ‘Wild Welfare’ and a member of the ‘Global Wildlife Welfare Working Group’

Sam offers consultancy expertise in:

  • Zoo Animal Welfare includes but not limited to exhibit/environment design, assessment, animal-based measures, evidence-based practice.
  • Zoo Education Provision - including but not limited to setting up zoo education programs, provision of education material, signage.
  • Zoo Animal Behaviour – assessment and dealing with behavioural issues, environmental enrichment provision & assessment.
  • Zoo Legislation (UK and EU) – adherence to standards and legislative requirements, zoo inspection compliance.

Sam currently supervises the following PhD Candidates:

  • Eileen ‘Kat’ Tuit: Fostering enrichment in Zoos (Partnered with Darwin University, Australia)
  • Hannah Jenkins: Zoological species collection management and how to facilitate species conservation
  • Thomas Welsh:  Are there benefits from human-animal interactions? Implications for human health, well-being and animal welfare
  • Julia Machado:  Facial expressions, cognitive bias and welfare indicators in zoo-housed primates
  • Kathryn Fingland: Urban red squirrel conservation.
  • Rae Foreman-Wosley - Domestic cat welfare.

Career overview

Sam has both practical and managerial zoo-industry expertise as well as an academic objective standing in research. Sam has worked as a zoo animal keeper and head of section of various hoofstock, primate and macropod species. She then completed an MSc in Animal Behaviour and went on to complete a PhD in Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Following this, she was a zoo conservation and research manager with collection planning & transportation, inspection, quarantine, and studbook management responsibilities.

Research areas

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5857-1071

Sam’s research impacts various themes within the zoo industry, predominantly animal behaviour & welfare but falling into the following sub-themes:

  • The impacts of human-animal interactions (HAI) and human-animal relationships (HAR) in zoos,
  • Zoo animal husbandry and management techniques to investigate impacts and improve captive welfare.
  • The impact of zoo legislation and zoo Associations on welfare and management
  • Zoo management and processes to improve animal welfare and collection planning.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil/PhD exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent work is being undertaken with the collaboration of:

Press expertise

  • Zoo animal behaviour, welfare, housing and husbandry
  • Zoo organisation and management
  • Human-animal interactions and relationships
  • Captive pressures on behaviour and welfare