ABMA Annual Conference

The 2020 ABMA conference will be 29 March - 2 April in BeekseBergen, the Netherlands!

Painting a Picture: Crossing Borders Between Science and Application

Beekse Bergen has cabins on site.  Details on lodging are in the hotel folder.


Upload your conference photos here!  **By uploading your photo(s) you agree to the ABMA photograph general disclaimer:  The undersigned (the "Photographer") hereby irrevocably grants to the Animal Behavior Management Alliance (the “ABMA") full and complete permission to use the photos submitted in any ABMA publication, including, but not limited to, use and display on newsletters, illustrations, advertisements, and internet content. With the exception of the foregoing, ABMA makes no claims to ownership of the submitted photographs and ownership rights are retained by the Photographer.

Quick Links for Conference Information

BMF Scholarship

Did you know that ABMA’s Behavior Management Fund (BMF) committee has a travel scholarship available for one lucky member at each of our annual conferences? Abstract deadline for the BMF Travel Scholarship has passed.

CONGRATULATIONS to Kate Webb!  Her presentation, “Training the Trainer: How Behavior Skills Training Helped African Pouched Rats Sniff Out Smuggled Wildlife” is the winner of the 2020 BMF Scholarship. 

This scholarship is to assist an ABMA member whose institution is unable to give them financial support. The Travel Scholarship will help the award recipient by giving them the ability to present their work and it will help the organization by giving ABMA members the opportunity to hear presentations that the membership otherwise would not have the opportunity to hear and as such, the Travel Scholarship supports the ABMA Core Value of “Sharing the Knowledge.”

The abstract submission deadlines for the 2020 annual conference in Holland are:
January 15- Abstracts due
January 20- Winner notified
January 31- Winner accept/deny

The scholarship will provide:
• Transportation: Up to $500.00 reimbursed at Conference with receipt of purchased ticket or based on government per diem if driving, verification of mileage is required.
• Hotel room for the entire conference.
• Conference registration fee (including site visits, the banquet, and any meals included with registration).
*Airport to hotel transportation and meals on your own will not be provided.
Applicant Requirements
• Applicant must be an ABMA member in good standing. ABMA membership must be valid through the dates of the conference for the given Travel Scholarship Award year.
• Applicant may not have received this scholarship in the previous year.
• Applicant must submit the online abstract submission form, check the BMF scholarship box within the form, and complete the additional scholarship questions after checking the BMF box within the online form.  Incomplete submissions will not be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure application materials are complete; applicants will not be notified if the application materials are incomplete.

Application Process:
There are 3 required components of the BMF Travel Scholarship application:
1. Complete the online Abstract Submission Form.  Don’t forget to check the box for BMF!
2. Complete the BMF questions within the online abstract submission form after you check the box for BMF.
3. Travel Scholarship winner must officially accept the award within one week of email notification, otherwise the award will be offered to the runner-up.

Abstract Submissions
If you have a behavior management accomplishment, an intriguing case study, a research project, or innovation for the field, especially one that resonates with the theme of the conference, please come share it with your colleagues!  The abstract deadline for the 2020 Conference has passed.

Abstract review will be based on quality of the abstract, content and subject matter of the paper, application of the ABMA mission statement, and incorporation of the theme of the conference.  Please keep in mind that we receive a number of quality submissions each year, and not all abstracts can necessarily be accepted for presentation.  When your abstract is accepted for either a poster or presentation you are required to submit a paper for the conference proceedings prior to presenting.  This submission deadline is one week before the conference.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Conference Content Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Antonio Ramirez, at abmaabstracts@gmail.com  or the 2020 Vice President, Missy Lamar at missylamar@mac.com.

Presentations are 20 minutes total.  Presenters should plan for a few minutes of questions afterwards (e.g. 17 minute presentation, 3 minutes for questions).  It is encouraged to be available for questions throughout the remainder of the week.  Poster presenters are required to stand by their posters on poster night and discuss their poster with conference attendees.  Posters will be available to view during the entire conference so please be prepared to turn in your poster at registration so it can be set up the next day.  If poster night is held off site, ABMA will transport and set up  your poster but you are responsible for it after poster night concludes.

Timeline for 2020 Abstract Submissions are:

January 15-  abstracts due by midnight EST

January 20- notifications to presenters

January 31- presenters accept/decline

March 22- papers due for proceedings

Conference Registration

Conference Registration is OPEN- Purchase Tickets

If you’re an AAZK or IMATA member you can receive the ABMA member rate!  Please download & submit the registration form.  We do not accept American Express.  Pricing for the ABMA conference is detailed below.

Weekly registrations are for the week of  29 March-2 April 2020.  The icebreaker and the banquet are included in the cost of your weekly registration- do not purchase these from the a la carte menu unless you plan to have an extra person attend for that event only. There will be no weekly registrations the week before the conference to allow us time to compile accurate numbers to the hotel.

Conference Pricing:

Member Early registration (week) $500 available for purchase from now until 29 Feb 2020.  The next day, 1 March, the price increases.

Non-member Early registration (week) $560 available for purchase from now until 29 Feb 2020.  The next day, 1 March, the price increases.

Member Full registration (week) $550 available for purchase from 1 March to 22 March 2020.  The next day, 23 March, no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 29 March.

Non-member Full registration (week) $620 available for purchase from 1 March to 22 March 2020.  The next day, 23 March, no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 29 March.

Member On-site registration (week) $650 starting 29 March & ending 2 April 2020.

Non-member On-site registration (week) $700 starting 29 March & ending 2 April 2020.

Daily registrations are for any day during the week of 29 March-2 April.  The icebreaker on the evening of the 29th and the banquet on the evening of the 2nd are extra- see a la carte.  We will allow daily registrants the week before the conference as not many people register for daily events that would drastically alter our numbers.

Member Daily Early registration $95 available for purchase from now until 28 Feb 2020.  The next day, 1 March, the price increases.

Non-member Daily Early registration $110 available for purchase from now until 28 Feb 2020.  The next day, 1 March, the price increases.

Member Daily Full registration $110 available for purchase from 1 March to 28 March 2020.  The next day, 29 March, the price increases.

Non-member Daily Full registration $125 available for purchase from 1 March to 28 March 2020.  The next day, 29 March, the price increases.

Onsite Daily Registration (member & non-member) $125 available for purchase from 29 March-2 April 2020.

A La Carte Pricing:  

Icebreaker $60 on Sunday 29 March 2020.  Available for purchase now until 29 March.

Banquet $60 on Thursday 2 April 2020.  Available for purchase now until 2 April.

General schedule of events:

3/29:  Check into cabins after 3:00pm, Evening icebreaker

3/30-4/2: Presentations, Site visit of Beekse Bergen, Awards banquet evening of 4/2

4/3: check out of cabins by 11:00am

**See program for more detailed schedule**

Contact us if you have any questions.

100% until 30 days before the start of the conference
50% from 29 days until 8 days before the conference
No refunds starting the week before the conference


We will again be offering CEU’s for a variety of organizations.  Once the program is finalized we will submit for credits and post here.  We normally offer CEU’s for the following organizations:

EAZA Welfare Forum:

EAZA is proud to announce the launch of its first Animal Welfare Forum in Apenhuel, Netherlands from 23-26 March 2020.  The Animal Welfare Forum will bring together up to 200 representatives of zoos and aquariums, welfare organisations and academic institutions for three days of workshops, presentations and other activities, discussing and highlighting an evidence-based approach to animal welfare and bridging the gap between welfare research and application.  Although the ABMA is not affiliated with this Forum, it is in Holland just a few days before our conference and we encourage interested people to attend both.

We look forward to seeing you in Holland!



Lodge maps:  https://www.beeksebergen.nl/en/stay-the-night/abma-congress  Most of the yellow highlighted lodges around Masai Mara and Ndebele Village are reserved for ABMA.

Lodge layout:  https://www.beeksebergen.nl/en/stay-the-night/accommodations/savannah-lodge




ROOMMATES: Everyone will need a roommate for the lodges!  We will be coordinating roommates for all attendees for all our assigned lodges.  Everyone that registers for the conference MUST submit the following information to our roommate coordinator, Shannon College.  A point of contact for each lodge will be submitted to BeekseBergen.  Payment for lodges will be on one credit card only.  As lodges are filled, our roommate coordinator will email the occupants of the lodge as a group so everyone can get acquainted and work out any details for arrival, departure, payment and anything else.  We realize this is a very different method of coordinating lodging and we appreciate your flexibility and patience!  There is a deadline to book your lodge- 4 February!  Our block is being released on 5 February.  If you do not submit for a roommate by the deadline and get a point of contact to book the lodge, we will try our very best to get you booked.  However, if the lodges are all reserved you will not be able to stay on-site.   

  1. Do you already know who you want to room with?  Please tell us.
  2. Your gender and your roommate gender preference
  3. How many roommates you would like to have (remember the price of each lodge is determined by number of occupants- up to 6)
  4. How many days you need a roommate
  5. Your name and email

View the lodging spreadsheet to see what lodges are available and how to make a comment on the sheet of where and with whom you’d like to stay.  Don’t worry- Shannon can only make changes to the google document so you can’t accidentally delete it!  Each lodge that is available for our conference is listed on the left column.  Below that you’ll see a helpful indicator, listing “RESERVED” for lodges that are already full, “female only” or “male only” for those with gender preferences for roommates, and “OPEN” for any lodges that are still available or have space available for roommates, and can be of any gender.  Lodges that are not listed as “RESERVED” can also flex to be female or male only, we just wanted to make sure we kept the option available for any who desired.  The majority of the conference will be close to Karibu Town, so you may want to keep that in mind as you select which lodge you prefer.  Once you have decided which lodge you would like to say in, you make comments on the google spreadsheet to put a temporary hold on your lodge.  To make a comment, make sure that you are viewing the spreadsheet in Google Sheets and are in comment mode, not just view mode as it will not allow you to enter your information.  To start a new lodge, please enter your name as “Person 1.”  You can do so by either clicking on the cell and typing your name over it, or right click on the cell, then select “Comment” which is often paired with a “+”, and add your name.  It will only show up in comment mode at first, but Shannon will be able to access it to save the changes for you later.  If you prefer to have only 2 other roommates, please indicate this by either putting a note below the Lodge Number and “open” lines, or you can edit the spaces for “Person 4-6” as saying “prefer 3”, which will indicate to others that you prefer less roommates.  Please note that the cost of your stay will vary based on the number of roommates you choose to have, which may impact your final decision.  All prices are listed on the spreadsheet in Euros.  Once you have selected your lodge, Shannon will work on helping others to be placed with you based on similar preferences.  When your lodge is full, you can coordinate with your roommates about who will be booking the lodge.  The spreadsheet is mainly a guideline so we can make sure that everyone’s preferences are met and that we are tracking which lodges are already booked.  This is why it’s very important to include your preferred email on the google spreadsheet as Shannon will be notifying everyone in the room to make sure the lodge is paid for.  Please be sure to use the Beekse-Bergen link above (by the map) to make sure you have all of the details required for booking.

3/29: Check into lodges after 3:00pm, Evening icebreaker.  **Check-in earlier than 3:00 PM on a Sunday 3/29 is NOT possible**

3/30-4/2: Presentations, Site visit of Beekse Bergen, Awards banquet evening of 4/2

4/3: Check out of lodge by 10:00am.  There are no ABMA events today.

PRICING:  Lodging prices do not include staying at BeekseBergen before or after the conference. This facility offers packages only, not daily rates.  If you want to extend your stay at BeekseBergen before or after the conference you will need to contact them about the number of nights and number of people you’ll be staying with.  The following prices are for the entire week (5 nights) for that lodge, excluding city tax € 2,20 p.p.p.n. and including service package with the beds made up, towels and a sanitary kit.

6 persons Lodges

41 Savanne Lodges > € 875 / ~USD 975 (max 6 persons) – price based on 3 persons / + € 60,00 per person extra

16 Lodges > € 875 / ~USD 975 (max 6 persons) – price based on 3 persons / + 60,00 per person extra

For the ABMA reserved lodging layouts and pictures, click here.  Pricing is based on the number of occupants.  Lodges can accommodate up to 6 people.

There are small kitchens in each cabin.  All meals but 1 lunch and 1 dinner will be provided and are included in the full conference registration.  There is a small grocery store on site and in town about 15 minutes from the facility.

AMENITIES: Details coming soon.

PARKING: The Safari Resort is a car-free park.  Cars may not be parked at the Lodges, but must be parked in the Safari Resort’s central parking spaces.  If you are driving to the park, you need to submit your license plate to the office prior to arrival.  If the entry gate is closed (after 10pm) your license plate is your entry access.

DINING:  Do you have dietary restrictions?  The lodge will be happy to accommodate you! Please inform them upon check-in of your dietary needs.  Don’t forget to let the ABMA know of your dietary restrictions during the online registration process.

CHECK-IN:  Once you’ve paid for the lodge, the park will email you an access code for your lodge.  There are no “keys” for the lodges, just a keypad with an access code.  You do NOT have to go to the front desk to check in- you have your access code and can go directly to your lodge.  The point person for the lodge is responsible for making sure others in your lodge have the access code!  Should your code NOT work at your lodge, please call +31 (0)88 9000323  for assistance.

If you are driving and will park at the Safari Park, you will need to submit your license plate number to the Safari Park- info@libema.nl.  This will allow the car gate to open for you to enter at any time of day.  To gain access with just yourself (with or without luggage) after hours you can enter the code *1111# on they keypad or push the button for night reception or call +31 (0)88 9000323, or just walk around the pole barrier. There are many options to get in, so you should not feel stranded on the outside after the park closes!


Hotel Location:


Some people may stay before or after the conference, but extending your stay at the safari park by a day or two is challenging as they only book rooms for a specific block of days.  Flying in and out of Amsterdam (AMS) or Antwerp (ANR) are the closest, largest airports.  Eindhoven (EIN) is the closest airport to BeekseBergen, and is more accessible from cities within Europe.  We are working out transportation from Amsterdam airport to the Safari park via train and bus.  The train’s closest stop is 15 minutes from the park, and you’ll need to take a bus to the park from the train station.  Feel free to look into renting a car!

Book your train & bus transportation here!

There is a small grocery store on site.  Tilburg and Hilvarenbeek are the two closest towns and are about 15 minutes from the safari park.


Try these search engines for low international fares.  Momondo and Skyscanner.

Our annual conference would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. Thank you!  If you would like more information on how to become a sponsor, please contact us!  We also have vendor opportunities available.

Site Visits
There is one site visit during this conference.  Learn more about the Beekse Bergen Safari Park. 

Badge Entries
Your ABMA conference committee is working on badge entries that will allow you access to other European facilities.


To reserve your access before or after the conference

Please email the park:  info@ouwehand.nl

There are many questions you may have about traveling internationally.  Please contact us to submit questions we haven’t thought of!  We’ll be posting more information soon

WEATHER: The high temperatures are typically in the 50’s (F) and lows in the 30’s (F).


Currency:  The Euro is the official currency of Holland (the Netherlands).  If you have a credit card with a chip, you shouldn’t have any problems, but you should know your card’s pin number just in case it’s needed for verification.  If you do not have a card with a chip, it will either not be accepted or will require a pin to process the transaction.

You can use an exchange rate calculator, such as xe.com, to convert currency to Euros.  Keep in mind rates change frequently.

Power:  The Netherlands runs on 220V.  The US runs on 110V, so you will need an adapter to run  your gadgets.  Adapter packages are fairly inexpensive to purchase, so make sure you get one before you arrive. 


We are excited to announce two keynote speakers!  Dr. Joe Layng and Stephanie Arne.

Dr. Joe Layng

Introduction to the science of behavior


This presentation will introduce the audience to the application of the methods of the natural sciences to the study of behavior. We will begin with a definition of behavior, how that leads to the search for functional relations that describe an organisms relation to its environment [B=ƒ(x) under c], which leads us to the concept of consequential contingency, from which we can define reinforcement (positive and negative), punishment, and extinction. We will then carefully define other relations important to applications of the fundamental principles, such as potentiating variables, stimulus props, conditioned reinforcement, stimulus control, shaping, and schedules of reinforcement. The importance of considering alternative behaviors and contingencies to understanding complex behavior relations will also be discussed.


T. V. Joe Layng earned a Ph.D. in Behavioral Science (biopsychology) at the University of Chicago. At Chicago, working with pigeons, he investigated animal models of psychopathology, specifically the recurrence of pathological patterns (head-banging) as a function of normal behavioral processes. While at Chicago, again working with pigeons, he contributed to the discovery and characterization of the behavioral process known as contingency adduction. Joe also has extensive clinical behavior analysis experience with a focus on ambulatory schizophrenia, including the systemic as well as topical treatment of delusional speech and hallucinatory behavior. In 1971 he founded the Center for Innovative Design and Programed Instruction at Western Illinois University. A few years later Joe established a research/treatment program, the Personal Effectiveness Group, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Northwestern University Medical Center. While still in graduate school he went on in 1984 to found Enabling Technologies, a software firm that produced the first use of gamification to teach business software, as well as an array of business products and advanced 3D modeling software. In the 1990s, Joe was Director of Academic Support and then Dean at Malcolm X College in Chicago where her founded the award winning Personalized Curriculum Institute. In 1999, he co-founded Headsprout. At Headsprout, Joe led the scientific team that developed the technology that forms the basis of the company’s patented Early Reading and Reading Comprehension online reading programs, for which he was the chief architect. Joe has published over 50 articles or chapters, and a book on Signal Detection Theory for behavior analysts. He is a fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and Chair, Board of Trustees, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  


Stephanie  Arne

Stephanie has felt a strong connection with nature. She embraces the importance of living as a part of the natural world, rather than separate from it. And she knows that sharing that connectivity is critical to protecting nature on a global scale.  She’s worked with – and learned from – biologists, conservation leaders, CEOs, farmers and fisherman in Africa, Australia, Japan,
Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the United States.
As a wildlife conservation professional, she’s committed to raising awareness about the disconnect between modern society and the natural world. And she’s determined to explore and share how each of us can use our specific talents and skills to bridge that gap to make our planet a healthier place for generations to come.
Today, she is not only the host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom but also a public speaker on global efforts in conservation and sustainability. Her insight has earned her a seat on the International Union of Conservation Nature’s (IUCN), Education and Communication Commission. Recently, Stephanie became a Deep Elite Ambassador for Scubapro; named Ambassador for the Planet by the Wyland Foundation; was profiled in Dive Alert Magazine;
joined the advisory council for Ecology Project International, Alaska Sea Life Center, and became co-founder of The Creative Animal Foundation.  Stephanie has become a regular on Harry Connick Jr.’s daytime show, “Harry!” and appeared on The Weather Channel, and Animal
Planet’s, “Animal Nation” with comedian, Anthony Anderson.  She’s also been featured on an episode of the HGTV series “Tiny House, Big Living”, kicking off the 2017-2018 tiny house tour for the Creative Animal Foundation.



Simon Prins

Crossing the Border between Science and Application

When I started as a professional police dog handler in 1993 I was puzzled. In my country, in my police organization was no education, no serious training program and nobody used the science. I didn’t understand why the general opinion was to use coercion training. It didn’t felt good and I decided to take a journey into another direction. I was challenged by an interesting commander to work with animals on a whole different level. I started to study and was fortunate to find and work with Marian and Bob Bailey. We build a close friendship.

During my journey I met and worked with many other very talented people and amazing animals. I always focused on operations. Selected, trained and worked with these animals in operations. Bob and Marian closed for me the gap between training and science. They let me see how important science is. How science can help us animal trainers to do a better job. How this benefits the training, the life of animals, the success of operations and lifting the animal trainer from a low rank position into the rank of a specialist. Animals are playing an important role in our security systems. Trainers play an even more important role. They are capable to change the behavior of animals in a way that humans and animals help and respect each other. And trainers educate the general public and our youth to take care for our wildlife and planet.




Training 101 and Advanced Training  

Anna Oblasser-Mirtl, CPDT-KA

The live training demo includes training of cooperation signals as well as the presentation of up to 20 husbandry or medical procedures, covering everything from nail clipping to voluntary blood draws on stage.

Animal training has been Anna’s passion since her early childhood. After graduating from Moorpark College in the USA, she founded the Animal Training Center in Austria in 2006. Since then, Anna has created a team of experts that specialize in a wide range of applications of animal training, including: service dog training; pet dog training and behavior consulting; wildlife education; dog bite prevention programs; zoo animal training and consulting; and teaching seminars, including chicken training workshops as well as domestic and exotic animal training and behavior management workshops for professional animal trainers. In addition to the human team that Anna put together, the Animal Training Center is also home to approximately 60 animals, including 25 species, which all play invaluable roles in the company.  Anna is not only a very skilled trainer and instructor, but also a state-certified judicial expert for dogs and the author of the book and DVD “Medical Training for Dogs.”

Training 101

Part 1: Puppy Life Skills & Obedience Training

What a dog really needs to learn within its first year in order to become a reliable service dog later on.  In this presentation we cover Life Skills for Puppies, a training program designed to create strong, thriving, and satisfied dogs. We also talk about our obedience-training program, which has been incredibly helpful to prepare our dogs for their future as life-changing service dogs. The live training demo includes a variety of Life Skill exercises as well as some basic and advanced obedience behaviors.

Part 2: Husbandry Training With Dogs Utilizing Cooperation Signals

Even though there has been an increase in positive reinforcement training in the dog training world, almost all medical and most husbandry procedures are still done without giving the dog a choice. Very often they are forced into stressful and painful situations, which compromises the dog’s welfare and can severely harm the individual human-dog relationship.  We created a program utilizing a variety of easy-to-train cooperative behaviors that give dogs choices and control in scenarios where previously they had none. Our book (published in 2016) and our DVD (2018) have served as guides for many dog owners and trainers who want to improve their pet’s welfare.  The live training demo includes training of cooperation signals as well as the presentation of up to 20 husbandry or medical procedures, covering everything from nail clipping to voluntary blood draws on stage.

Advanced Training

Part 1: Service Dog Training Focusing on Diabetic Alert Dogs

Some may say that dogs “see” the world through their noses and their extraordinary sense of smell is utilized in various well-known ways. However, there is a lesser-known application of this particular talent: Diabetic Alert Dogs. Diabetic Alert Dogs (DADs) are able to detect abnormal blood sugar levels and alert the diabetic or another person when these levels occur. For the diabetic, as well as their family, having a DAD is a life-altering experience and greatly reduces the constant fear accompanying Type 1 diabetes.  As in other areas of dog training, the methods used to train DADs have not always been entirely positive. At the Animal Training Center (ATC), we sought to change this fact by developing a program that not only fully utilizes positive reinforcement methods of training and ensures a reliable alerting behavior, but that also allows the dog to truly become a happy member of the diabetic’s family. This program has been used with dogs bred and raised at the ATC, in which case training begins when the puppy is only two days old. It has also been effective, however, with dogs rescued from shelters at various ages. To date, we have successfully trained and placed 60+ DADs and have witnessed their amazing abilities, such as remote alerting. The ATC program has resulted in extraordinary partnerships that bring safety and joy to diabetics, as well as to the dogs by their sides. Our service dog program received the ABMA Behavior Management Innovation Award in 2015.  The live training demo includes all training steps from smelling the target scent for the first time up to an alert with a hidden scent sample.

Part 2: Poison Avoidance Training

In various countries, poisoning of dogs has become a major concern among dog owners. Just like in rattlesnake avoidance training, a dog can be taught to gain distance or alert to food items on the ground which potentially could have been poisoned or stuffed with razor blades. While punishment-based avoidance training with shock collars is commonly used, all types of avoidance training can be successfully taught using positive techniques.  At the Animal Training Center we provide a modern, reinforcement-based approach to poison-proof a dog. By teaching the dog to point out tempting treats and food items on the ground using positive methods, we avoid unwanted side effects of traditional training.  The live training demo includes all steps of poison avoidance training, focusing on alerts, emergency behaviors like recalls, as well as various management opportunities.


Conservation Speaker:  Angela R. Glatston, Red Panda Network

Red Panda Network has been actively protecting red pandas in Nepal for around 15 years.
The reasons why this small, elusive and relatively unfamiliar species should become the
main focus of a conservation organization are to be found in its unique taxonomy and
biology together with its conservation status and a cute appearance that makes it an
excellent choice as flagship species for its ecosystem.
Red Panda Network was the brainchild of a young American who was studying in Nepal
when he came across a red panda in the field and became aware of the plight of this species
in the wild. The focus of the organization which he established is the involvement of local
people in the protection of the environment. They are encouraged to become more
involved in the conservation of the red panda and the protection of their forests. The
approach is to employ and train local people as Forest Guardians, to help providing
alternative livelihoods that don’t involve forest exploitation, to facilitate sustainability and
to raise awareness of the importance of protecting their environment.
From the beginning, RPN has been financially supported by members of the zoo community.
Over the years this association has grown with RPN being nominated as the conservation
partner of WAZA’s Red Panda GSMP (the global captive breeding programme for red
pandas). In the USA, the SSP coordinator encourages members to support RPN activities
and, in Europe, the EEP runs its own Forest Guardian Program that has adopted and
sponsors a number of RPNs FGs.
Red Panda Network is also active in raising public awareness of the red panda both with
range states and elsewhere. One of the most successful awareness programmes is
International Red Panda Day, which is celebrated on the third Saturday of September. This
special day is celebrated by zoos as far afield as North America, Europe, Japan and
Australasia as well as by schools and other organisations in Nepal.
Well into its second decade, RPN is now growing and developing and is beginning to attract
major grants. There are exciting plans for the future and hopes of extending activities to
other range states by networking with local NGOs in those countries. All this bodes well for
the long term conservation of the red panda conservation and the protection of its forest home.


To be green, the ABMA does not hand out printed programs. We also have an interactive app with the program and other exciting features available in the app store (i phone) or Google Play (android).   Search for “ABMA Conference”.  If you have the app from a previous conference you need to delete the app and upload the new 2020 app once it’s available.

ABMA Conference Schedule of Events

Sunday, 29 March: 

1:00-5:00: Registration check-in

5:45-9:00: Icebreaker

Monday, 30 March:

9:00: Welcome & Announcements

9:30-11:00: Keynote Dr. Joe Layng

11:00-11:30: AM Break

11:30-12:00:  “What Does Science have to do with Animal Training?” by Annette Pedersen, Copenhagen Zoo

12:00-1:00:  The Constructional Approach to Addressing Extreme Fear and Aggressive Behavior by Barbara Heidenreich, Barbara’s Force Free Animal Training

1:00-2:00:  Lunch Provided at Adventure Lounge

2:00-2:30:  Brightening Human Souls with the Help of Dogs: A Positive Reinforcement Training Approach to Add Colors to the Picture of Classical Therapies by Elke Grablechner, Animal Training Center

2:30-3:00:  The Importance of Training for Enhancing the Animal Welfare for the Birds of Prey at Landgoed Hoenderdaell, The Netherlands by Saskia Verbruggen and Silke Kruk, Landgoed Hoenderdaell

3:00-3:30:  Building Confidence Through “Free Choice-Training” in Companion Parrots and Parakeets by Hildegard Niemann, Parrot Behaviour Consulting

3:30-4:00:  PM Break

4:00-4:30:  Caretaker-Free Environments?  Effort to Create Affective Engagement Through Environmental Unpredictability by Darren Minier, Conservation Society of California, Oakland Zoo; and Karen Jaffe, Sonoma State University’s Primate Ethology Lab

4:30-5:00:  Training Free Flight Parrots–A Different Perspective by Chris Shank, Cockatoo Downs

5:00-6:30:  Training 101 with Ana Oblasser-Mirtl, Animal Training Center

6:30-8:30:  Dinner at Adventure Lounge

Tuesday, 31 March:

9:00-9:30:  Morning Announcements

9:30-10:30: Keynote Stephanie Arne

10:30-11:00:  Early Morning Cheetah Experience by Megan Adcock, Charmaine Davis, Krista Perry, San Diego Zoo

11:00-11:30: AM Break

11:30-12:00:  Painting a Picture: The Reality of a Developing Zoo and the Opportunities That Follow by Elizabeth Durkin and Jazmyn Snell, Colchester Zoo

12:00-12:30:  Training a Rescued Seal Pup, New Insights for an Experienced Training Team by Hayley Kim Tennant, Ursula Macklin, Bilal Limbada, Ana-Alicia Eyre, Paul Ziegler, Peter Baloi, Armand de Koker, Smitha Deonath, Themba Mnyawe, Leaveil Jacks, Melissa Verschoor, Paige Pascoe; South African Association for Marine Biological Research

12:30-1:00:  Daring to Paint the Ugly Truth of Enrichment: The Strengths and Pitfalls of Current Application by Kat Tuite, Charles Darwin University

1:00-2:00:  Lunch provided at Adventure Lounge

2:00-3:00:  Conservation Speaker: Angela Glatston, Red Panda Network

3:00-3:30:  Making Something Out of “Nothing”: Utilizing Limited Resources to Obtain Baseline Activity Budgets for a New Zoological Collection by Victoria Karabanova and Heather Paddock, Oakland Zoo

3:30-4:00:  PM Break

4:00-4:30: Space Utilisation and Social Proximity Pre and Post Enclosure Move in 3.2 Diana Monkeys (Cercopithecus diana) by Heather Thompson, Twycross Zoo

4:30-5:00:  How Much Can You Remember? Operative Memory Capacity as Mental Stimulation in Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) by Ricardo Ruiz and Cynthia Henderson, Welfare and Husbandry Innovative Training

5:00-5:30:  Benefits of Seesaw-Training by Nina Steigerwald, Steigerwald.T

5:30-6:00:  Cooperative Medical Training with Dogs – From Anomaly to Normality by Jonas Riise Johansen, K9husbandry

6:30-8:30:  Dinner at Adventure Lounge

Wednesday, 1 April:

9:30-5:00:  Zoo Day!  Member Business Meeting.  Lunch on your own.  Dinner on your own.

Thursday, 2 April:

9:00-9:30:  Morning Announcements

9:30-10:30:  Invited Speaker- Simon Prins

10:30-11:00:  It Takes a Village: A Unique Approach to Desensitization of Wolf to Human Presence by Darren Minier, Conservation Society of California, Oakland Zoo

11:00-11:30: AM Break

11:30-12:30:   Advanced Training with Ana Oblasser-Mirtl, Animal Training Center

1:00-2:00:  Lunch provided at Adventure Lounge

2:00-2:30:  Emergency Recall: A Must Have Tool for Your Training Toolbox by Nicki Boyd, San Diego Zoo and Pieter Giljam, Kolmårdens Djurpark

2:30-3:00:  Show Me How You Train My Goat and I will Tell You Who You Are by František Šusta, Trainingisdialogue.com

3:00-3:30:  Soaring a Yellow Headed Vulture on Cue by Hillary Hankey, Avian Behavior International

3:30-4:00:  PM Break

4:00-4:30:  Positive Reinforcement in a Pinch by Timothy Van Loan, Natural Encounters Inc./ABQ BioPark

4:30-5:00:  When a Seal Teaches Us About Our Life Support System by Jose Gomes, Mason Hill, Gregory McDonald, Chris Eccles, Bruce Eernisse, Michael Lynch; Melbourne Zoo, Zoos Victoria

5:00-6:00: BMF Scholarship Winner- Training the Trainer: How Behavioral Skills Training helped African Pouched Rats Sniff Out Smuggled Wildlife by Kate Webb (1&2), Miriam Schneider (1), Matthew Lewon (3), Dian Kuipers (1), Christophe Cox (1), Cynthia Fast (1); 1. APOPO, 2. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 3. University of Nevada, Reno

6:30-8:30:  Banquet at Safari Restaurant

Friday, 3 April:

Checkout by 10:00.

Thank you for attending the ABMA conference!

Details will be posted as they are finalized. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you in Holland!