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1996 …2024

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Personal profile

Personal profile

With a background in zoology and experimental psychology, Raf Freire seeks to better understand the effect of human contact on animal behaviour in a broad range of contexts. In captive animals, the effect of humans is mainly concerned with the effect on animal welfare. For animals involved in re-introduction programs, behaviour is important in predicting the chances of released animals surviving and thriving, and for ensuring that population resilience to environmental change is a central facet of management and pre-release training practices. In wild populations, the behaviour of the animal is often the first line of defence against anthropogenic challenges, and the ability of an animal to respond and adapt in a way that maximises its chances of survival is critical for determining the impact of environmental change. Better knowledge of wild animal behaviour therefore provides a more complete understanding of the impact of disturbances on population dynamics, and allow us to better predict population trends, and of course can inform the development of more effective mitigation strategies.

Research Interests

  • Impact of anthropogenic factors on animal behaviour and welfare
  • Complex decision making in animals
  • Animal cognition


Professional Information

External Appointments & Memberships:

  • Associate Editor, Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 2020-present
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Animal Science. 2020- present
  • Animal Welfare Advisory Council NSW. 2020-present
  • Australian Society for Fish Biology (member)
  • Member Animal Care and Ethics Committee (CSU)



  • ASC212: Animal Behaviour, Welfare and Ethics
  • ASC225: Assessment of Animal Welfare
  • ASC525: Domestic Animal Behaviour

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Education/Academic qualification

Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, Charles Sturt University


Doctor of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh


Bachelor of Science (Zoology and Psychology) (Hons), University of Bristol


External positions

Lecturer, University of New England


Researcher, USDA-ARS

Post-doctoral researcher, University of Bristol


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