We encourage our staff and students to be enterprising in all they do and we maintain close ties with regional employers

View content


I am an animal welfare scientist and primatologist specialising in zoo welfare assessment and the interplay between cognition, environmental enrichment, welfare and conservations. I joined the Centre for Animal Welfare in Sept. 2018.

I have over seven years’ experience lecturing and managing programmes in animal welfare, zoo biology and science, and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I also work as a welfare consultant, most notably I have helped organisations create campaigns to raise awareness of the pet primate industry in the UK and the need for prohibition or regulation. For more information, visit the Welfare 4 Wildlife campaign run by Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre.

Prior to lecturing, I was a Senior Scientist at the RSPCA, where I instigated a primate rehoming scheme to rescue traumatised pet primates and provide them with safe, specialised care and an opportunity to experience good welfare, trust and good health. I have worked on other projects including the welfare of animals in travelling circuses, animals in tourism, zoo animal welfare and the welfare of other exotic mammals kept as pets.

My approach to animal welfare is one of inclusivity. I value a collaborative approach and maintain strong links with industry: I am the Coordinator of the Research Engagement Subgroup, Research Committee, British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and coordinate abstract review/programme development for the annual BIAZA research conference.

Areas of expertise

  • Chimpanzee cognition and social learning
  • Aye aye welfare and breeding success
  • Quality of life concept of animal welfare and use of qualitative behaviour assessments
  • Aetiology of abnormal behaviour in zoo animals
  • Cognitive enrichment
  • Zoo research and welfare assessment


Lang, G.P.S.A., Rose, P. E., Nash, S. M., and Riley, L. M. (accepted). The nocturnal activity of a commonly housed rodent: How African pygmy dormice (Graphiurus murinus) respond to an enriched environment. Journal of Veterinary Behavior.

Shaw, N. and Riley, L. M. (2020). Domestic dogs respond correctly to verbal cues issued by an artificial agent. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 224, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2020.104940

Riley, L. M. and Rose, P. E. (2020). Concepts, applications, uses and evaluation of environmental enrichment: Perceptions of zoo professionals. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 8(1), 18-28.

Riley. L. M. (2019). Qualitative Behavioural Assessment and potential uses in veterinary practice. International Animal Health Journal, 6(4), 16-19.

Rose, P. E. and Riley, L. M. (2919). The use of Qualitative Behavioural Assessment to zoo welfare measurement and animal husbandry change. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 7(4), 150-161.

Hammerton, R., Hunt, K. A., & Riley, L. M. (2019). An Investigation into keeper opinions of great ape diets and abnormal behaviour. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 7(4), 170-178.

Rose, P. E., Brereton, J. E., Rowden, L. J., de Figueiredo, R. L., and Riley, L. M. (2019). What’s new from the zoo? An analysis of ten years of zoo-themed research output. Palgrave Communications, 5(1), 1-10.

Riley, L. M. (2018). Conserving behaviour with cognitive enrichment: A new frontier for zoo conservation biology. In M. Berger and S. Corbett (Eds), Zoo Animals: Husbandry, Welfare and Public Interactions. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Rose, P. E., Hunt, K. A., and Riley, L.M. (2018). Animals in an online world: An evaluation of how zoological collections use social media. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 6(2): 57 - 62. 

Rose, P. E., Nash, S. M. and Riley, L. M. (2017). Moving forward with zoo welfare assessment: A response to Cooke (2017). Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 22, 75-77.

Rose, P. E., Nash, S. M. and Riley, L. M. (2017).  To pace or not to pace? A critical review of what Abnormal Repetitive Behaviour tells us about zoo animal management. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 20: 11-21.

Riley, L. M. (2012). Exotics Pledge: Project and Funding Brief. RSPCA document.

Riley, L. M. (2012). Pet Primates. RSPCA Brief for Government and associated press.

Riley, L. M. (2011). Enrichment report for MONA Foundation, Girona, Spain.

Return to the Staff Directory