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Dr Jacqui Wilmshurst

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Professional biography

I am working towards a PhD in Anthrozoology, via a project entitled 'Caring Wildly', exploring human-animal relationships through working with wild animals in a sanctuary context.

Several years' practice as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator has already shown me that these relationships have much to teach us; about the animals and their welfare in captivity, about our own healing, resilience, animal-natures, and wildness. Also about how to live well in our more-than-human communities, and within the wider ecosystems we inhabit. 

Using multispecies methodology and methods, this research will explore themes including agency, personhood, relating across species boundaries, disability, communication, 'right to life' and 'right to death', 'wildness' and 'domestication', and 'shared will' - all through lived and embodied relationships with wild animals. The animals in this study are unable to return to the wild, and are living in captivity for the sole purpose of their own welfare. This is opposed to those who are in captivity for another primary purpose such as conservation and education in zoos, or for research in laboratories.

I have a previous academic background in health, social and environmental psychology, applied to human-natural environment relationships and in particular towards improved resilience and risk management for natural hazards. This research examined different 'ways of knowing' alongside conventional scientific and academic enquiry, including indigenous and traditional knowledge about the natural world and other animals.

In addition to my work as an academic, I was previously an officer in the British Army (retired as Captain) and a leader in mental health and wellbeing in large complex organisations including the BBC, Meta and TikTok. I am a Chartered Member and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Socety, in the Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology.

For the past decade I have been working as a consultant and senior leader in health, wellbeing, and inclusion in the workplace, and I provide additional services as a speaker and consultant in Conservation Psychology and behaviour change.

I also run a small, private wildlife sanctuary from my home in East Yorkshire. I have worked with a wide range of urban wildlife, and now focus exclusively on the rehabilitation and care of birds from the corvid (crow) family, and grey squirrels for which I hold the required licence from Natural England.

You can learn more by visiting my personal website at www.jacquiwilmshurst.com

Research interests

Human-Animal Relationships

Anthrozoology

Animal Welfare

Animal Ethics

Wellbeing and Resilience

Multispecies Methodology

Trans-species Psychology

Wild Therapy

Teaching interests

Health & Wellbeing

Environmental & Conservation Psychology

Urban Wildbeing