Animal Welfare Assessment,
Research & Education

AWARE is proud to be a contributor to the recently published PLOS ONE collection.  Read More.

Our Mission

AWARE Institute is an independent consulting organization based in Portland, OR, with the mission of bringing together scientific methods and efficient software systems to support animal welfare assessment, research, and education.

We are driven by our fascination with the animal world, but equally inspired by the power of data and sound science to help elevate the practice of animal management and enhance the welfare of animals.

What We Offer

Our Model

Our approach is to embed welfare monitoring into the daily practice of animal care. We achieve this by working with species-specialists to understand housing and management practices and then customizing software tools that capitalize on the process of daily documentation. We also apply best practices of animal welfare science to the development of software tools that support reliable and efficient measurement of welfare outcomes.

AWARE's model has been designed to help animal care communities to deepen their understanding of their population and programs. Our projects yield information on the prevalence of welfare outcomes, allow for in-depth understanding of the range and diversity in management practices, highlight opportunities to enhance welfare, and inform the development of guidelines or standards.

Clients begin by setting up their zoo profile, which provides background information on animals and facilities (A). On a daily basis participants document practice using the Daily Management Tool and collect welfare outcome data using "on the fly" via mobile web-applications (B) or at a desktop (C). The AWARE software system synthesizes input and animal outcome data (D) to provide users with reports, metrics, and performance indicators (E). Synthesized data can be used to guide future planning, assist program development, or to conduct research (F).

Aware Process


AWARE's Welfare Monitoring System capitalizes on the process of daily documentation to provide zoo professionals data on specific welfare indicators and associated management factors. We designed all modules using flexible architecture and each is customizable to accommodate species-specific practices. We can develop new modules and integrate these into the system to support a wide variety of goals, and we may be able to integrate existing documentation systems, such as medical records.

Currently available modules include:

Our Work

PLOS ONE Collection

AWARE is proud to be a contributor to the recently published PLOS ONE collection titled: Epidemiological Investigations of North American Zoo Elephant Welfare . This landmark study demonstrates the impressive potential for collaborative welfare projects to generate meaningful results that can help shape and inform the future of animal care in zoos and aquariums.

The collection resulted from a comprehensive study analyzing the daily lives of 255 Asian and African elephants in 68 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Research focused on factors related to the wellbeing of elephants including: behavior, body condition, foot and joint health, female reproductive function, and walking distance.

 View the Collection

AZA Elephant Welfare Initiative

The AZA Elephant Welfare Initiative is collaborative effort toward positioning the AZA elephant care community at the forefront of evidence based welfare-focused animal management. To execute this initiative, AWARE employs a model that leverages the collective efforts of AZA elephant holding zoos, and supports enhanced practice of elephant management through:

  • Application of scientific methods to develop and implement effective management refinements.
  • Development of common metrics to demonstrate success and identify opportunities at the individual, institutional and population level.
  • Facilitation of informed decision making and resource allocation.
  • Support of elephant care staff with education and software tools to enable enhanced elephant care
  • Connection of zoos for multi-institutional collaboration and goal setting

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