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Dr Holly Farmer

Honorary Contract

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



I am the Zoo Research Officer at the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Newquay Zoo and Living Coasts). The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust works closely with the University in many ways, most importantly through the joint delivery of the MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology.I manage the zoo-based research at Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts, and I also manage the animal records for both WWCT sites. My work involves student supervision, teaching and I help coordinate the behavioural husbandry groups (environmental enrichment and animal training) at the zoo. I am also the EEP (Endangered Species Programme) coordinator for the critically endangered Sulawesi crested black macaque (Macaca nigra) and I support staff members who coordinate captive breeding programmes for a range of species at WWCT sites.


BSc Zoology, Aberystwyth University (2002)
MSc Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter (2003)   
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LTHE) Certificate, Higher Education Academy (2011) 
PhD Vocalisations of the howler monkey (Alouatta caraya) and welfare applications, University of Exeter (2011)

Professional membership

Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
Primate Society of Great Britain (Institutional Member)  

Roles on external bodies

Chair, EAZA Animal Welfare Working Group 
Member, EAZA Old World Monkey Taxon Advisory Group
Core Group Member, Shape of Enrichment 
Founding member, SHAPE-Regional and SHAPE—UK-Ireland
Course Assessor, Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA), Sparsholt College   



Research interests

I am interested in a wide range of fields including animal behaviour and welfare, bioacoustics, the application of zoo records for research and the role of zoos in captive breeding.

Current research topics include:
Management methods for captive breeding programmes
Development of monitoring systems for in situ primate surveys
Husbandry of captive bred Auk species
Reproduction in macaroni penguins
Effect of visitor experiences on animal behaviour and welfare
Bioacoustics in howler monkeys