Siobhan Speiran joined our research team as a PhD student in Environmental Studies at Queen’s University in September 2017.  She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and English (Hons.), as well as a Master’s in English Literature from the University of Guelph. Her Master’s research used post-colonial and post-humanist theory to probe de-/re-constructions of femininity in hyper-masculine and science fiction film.

Siobhan's doctoral work explores the lives of monkeys in Costa Rican sanctuaries, with respect to their rehabilitation and care, as well as how tourists and community members perceive sanctuaries and primate conservation. A leading wildlife tourism destination, Costa Rica is known for its magnificent landscapes which contain 6% of the world’s biodiversity. Despite the country’s ‘green’ reputation, their monkey populations are at risk; deforestation, electrocution, road collisions, conflict with humans/non-humans, illegal wildlife trade, and more account for their decline.

Siobhan's research recognizes that, while animals are integral to wildlife tourism, yet most scholarship does not focus on their lives. Her work address the call for interdisciplinary in tourism research by drawing on animal welfare, conservation, tourism and animal studies to understand the entangled lives of monkeys and humans, and what a ‘good life’ looks like for a monkey in a sanctuary. Her PhD research is generously supported by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship.

Siobhan was interviewed about her research on this podcast:

To follow Siobhan's research, visit her Instagram (@theanimalwelfarist) or website