The Animal Welfarist

Wild Animal Welfare. Community-Led Conservation. Care-full Wildlife Tourism.

Dr. Siobhan I. M. Speiran, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Visitor, York University
Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
The Lives of Animals Research Group

Doctor of Philosophy
School of Environmental Studies,
Queen’s University, 2023

Master’s of Arts
School of English & Theatre Studies
University of Guelph, 2017

Bachelor in Arts & Sciences (Hons.)
Zoology, English Literature
University of Guelph, 2015

Dr. Siobhan Speiran, Ph.D.

As an interdisciplinary wild animal ​scholar, I am passionate about developing non-invasive, participatory, socio-ecological frameworks for the assessment of animal welfare in wildlife tourism, conservation, and research contexts. 

In January 2024, I joined York University’s Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change as a postdoctoral visitor, continuing my collaboration with feminist animal geographer Dr. Alice Hovorka who served as my Ph.D. supervisor at Queen’s University.

As a postdoc, I continue to conduct transdisciplinary research at the intersection of wild animal welfare, ​conservation, and tourism. 

My Ph.D. research adopted a mixed-methods, socio-ecological approach to understanding the lives of monkeys in Costa Rica in collaboration with wildlife ​sanctuaries and stakeholders around the country.

My dissertation is available to read in its entirety here. This research was generously funded by a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship (2018-2023). 

During my Ph.D., I developed an expertise in the ethical issues surrounding wildlife tourism– especially animal welfare, conservation, and sustainable, community-based approaches to tourism development.

Now, I am looking to collaborate as a consultant with any individual, business or organization seeking to improve the welfare and conservation of wild animals impacted by tourism practices. Learn more here. 

The findings from this research continue to be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, as well as scientific activism and communication.

During my Ph.D., I founded the Costa Rican Monkey Interest ​Group to connect in-country primate researchers, caregivers, conservation practitioners and international collaborators.

I have published on primate rehabilitation with colleagues for the edited volume Primates in Anthropogenic Landscapes (2023).

I have also published on monkey labour in Costa Rican wildlife sanctuaries for the edited volume Exploring Non-Human Work in Tourism (2021).

I have contributed as a wildlife expert to multiple podcasts and journalistic news outlets, including National Geographic and the Queen’s Alumni Review. You can find these interviews, podcast appearances, and video lectures here. 

I am active on Instagram as @theanimalwelfarist and on X as @siobhanisa, where I share research findings, updates, and environmental education.

Follow the links below!


As a wild animal welfare scholar and animal geographer, I conduct transdisciplinary, socio-ecological research at the intersection of primate welfare, conservation, and sustainable tourism in wildlife sanctuaries.


I have published peer-reviewed research on primate rehabilitation, animal labour, tourism ethics, and the phenomenon of ‘wildlife selfies.’


I am passionate about participating in scientific activism and communication by engaging in teaching and research.


I am always interested in hearing from individuals or organizations seeking expert consultation or collaboration in the disciplines of animal welfare, conservation, and wildlife tourism,   

Costa Rican Monkey Interest Group

I founded the Costa Rican Monkey Interest Group to connect wildlife researchers, caregivers, and professionals around the country and internationally through collaborative research, conservation initiatives, and activism to improve monkey lives.


Dr. Siobhan Speiran

Contact me!

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