Ethoplanet - Etologiczne Centrum Szkoleniowo Doradcze

Mikołaj Zybała, MSc

A biologist who is passionate about the sea wild life, ecological education and animal training. He is a proponent of a positive work with animals. He began his career in 2006 at Seal Sanctuary in Hel, where he maintained and trained a group of grey seals. Then he went on to work for a seal hospital in the Netherlands, monitored the Vistula estuary for WWF Poland, was employed at the first Polish private seal sanctuary, Sea Park, in Sarbsk and after that at Wroclaw Zoo to tend to jackass penguins, southern fur seals and also common seals. His next stop was at the Bristol Zoo, where he was the manager of the animal presentation section. His job included teaching teams of workers and training small animals to take part in educational presentations held outside the fences which could prevent the animals from escaping. For this task he trained: polecats, meercats, palm civets and raccoons. While in Bristol, he also worked with five adult male southern fur seals. Recently, he has started a new adventure with a seal sanctuary in Cornwall, which allows him to join his passion for rehabilitation and seal training to contribute to the welfare of the old and ill specimen by means of a personalised training. In the meantime, he has paid many visits to leading European centres, such as Fjord&baelt in Denmark or Seehundstation Friedrichskoog in Germany, to upgrade his qualifications. He has consulted for zoos in Poland, among others, in Gdansk and Plock.

He is a regular participant of trainings and workshops in animal training organised by Animal Concepts Sabrina Brando, contributes to the Internet community under the aegis of Animal Training Academy created by Ryan Cartlidge, for which, together with Ryan, he recorded two podcasts in animal training and work, he also was a speaker at the First Conference in Animal Training Methods in 2017.

In over a decade, he has eagerly built up his expertise and developed a substantial network of professional and personal relations with renowned animal trainers all over the world. He also enjoys, the longest in Poland, membership of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA).

In 2012 he has been one of ten participants, as the only European representative that year, in Global Fellowship international program held by Duke University in USA. The program included a course in sea environment protection and in methods of research in sea mammals in their natural habitat. In his work, he likes to use positive enforcement training of seals and eared seals to facilitate scientific goals such as hearing range research, educational presentations or advanced medical care: USG or blood sampling. As his major interest is work with seals and eared seals, he thinks his greatest achievement has been to make five male southern fur seals train peacefully together, with one trainer, and in a direct contact.

Privately, he remains focused on his main passion – work with animals and educating people how to be efficient in this field. In his free time, he follows the latest developments in deep sea or space research. He is also far from disdain for an interesting journey or film.

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