Pritzker Scientists Discuss Animal Welfare at Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago and Beyond

On Monday, Parker welcomed Dr. Katie Cronin and Dr. Seth Magle from the Lincoln Park Zoo to speak to the community as the 17th Annual Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence. They discussed animal welfare and conservation and their work at the exhibits in the zoo, the streets of Chicago and beyond.

Dr. Cronin, an animal welfare scientist and primatologist, is the director of the Animal Welfare Science Program at the zoo and studies and analyzes animal behaviors to learn about the feelings and well-being of the animals in the exhibits. She provided several examples of using animal behaviors to examine the physical makeup of the exhibits, the effects of research initiatives on the animal psyche and the charge to they led to ensure animals could voluntarily participate in zoo programs. Dr. Cronin even shared how she and her colleagues at the zoo created an app called ZooMonitor, which allows them to record animal behavioral data, visualize the information and export the data for analysis. “When designing ZooMonitor our goal was to make it easy for experts and non-experts alike to collect data that will aid in making and evaluating management decisions that impact animal welfare.”

Dr. Magle, an urban wildlife ecologist, is the director of the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute focusing on research on urban wildlife species, with the hope that humans and wildlife can coexist on our increasingly urbanized planet. He brought up many of the local animal celebrities who became local media darlings when the public began learning more about them and discussed the many tools they use to study and catalog animals all over the Chicago area, whether in backyards, in parks, along waterways or even on busy streets. Dr. Magle is also executive director of the Urban Wildlife Information Network, a global alliance of dozens of cities working together to study animals in cities, which grew from Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute. Their goal is to “to conduct the science needed to ensure that humans and wildlife can coexist in urban areas and that cities can contribute to biodiversity conservation around the world.”

Audience members then had a chance to pick the brain of these two scientists.

Parker sincerely thanks Dr. Cronin and Dr. Magle for their lecture. Being able to speak to two leading scientists who spend their time and efforts working towards the betterment of animals and the future was a tremendous experience for Parker students, faculty and visitors.

Click here for photos.
Click here to view slides and listen to their lecture.

The Robert A. Pritzker Visiting Scientist•Inventor•Engineer in Residence program was created by a gift to Parker in honor of engineer, industrialist and philanthropist Robert A. Pritzker ’44. This program aims to expand science education opportunities at Parker and foster an ongoing dialogue among students and teachers about current issues in science. Previous recipients include Dr. Leon M. Lederman, Dr. Paul Sereno, Dr. Russell Mittermeier and Christina Mittermeier, Dr. Edward “Rocky” Kolb, Dr. Ka Yee Lee, Dr. Don Hillebrand, Dr. Matthew Tirrell, Dr. Elizabeth Gerber, Dr. Sian Beilock, Dr. Wendy Freedman, Dr. Rick Stevens, Dr. Eve Van Cauter, Dr. Dinee Simpson, Dr. Farah Fahim and Jamal Moss.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.