Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations (ISHAR)

Canisius University affirms its strong commitment to the advancement of ethical thought as it pertains to humankind’s relationship with nature and the other species with whom we share the planet. The Canisius University Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relationships (ISHAR) is at the forefront of Human-Animal Studies, engaging Canisius students and members of our community in dialogs on pressing issues.



ISHAR functions include:

Outreach, advocacy, and education

Since its inception, ISHAR has produced educational materials for the public on topics related to wildlife and human-animal relations. We are excited to introduce our latest effort in that regard, a student produced podcast called Canisius Conservation Conversations. Recent episodes examine human-tiger relationships; stay tuned for exciting new episodes in the future!

Educational travel

ISHAR provides support to students at Canisius who have the opportunity to enroll in courses that explore the world beyond the classroom, immersing them in issues relating to human-animal relationships. While traveling, students have the opportunity to view wildlife in their natural habitat and learn from locals about the threats faced by these animals. Upon return to Canisius, students engage in outreach or advocacy related to their travel, for example by developing a podcast or fundraising to support conservation efforts. If you have travel that is aligned with the missing of the Institute, please fill out the general support form to request funding. 

Speaker and symposia support

The Canisius University Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations is proud to bring prestigious speakers to campus to make presentations on topics related to animal/wildlife advocacy. Past speakers include Jane Goodall and Steve Zawistowski of the ASPCA. The Institute is interested in collaborating with other entities at the college to support bringing speakers to campus. If you have a speaker that is aligned with the mission of the Institute, you may request support by filling out this form

Support for students

Students engaging in independent research and academic activities on topics pertaining to human-animal studies may apply for up to $250 in material support for their projects. Examples of appropriate requests include funds for software needed for data analysis, participant incentives, special travel needs, etc. Please click here to find the application form.

Full Speaker Series List

Stephen Zawistowski
Executive Vice-President, ASPCA
Pet Therapy: Who Benefits, and What Are the Risks?

Jane Goodall
The Jane Goodall Institute; UN Messenger of Peace
Gombe and Beyond: The Next Fifty Years

Jessica Whitham
Chicago Zoological Society
Using Intuition, Hunches and Score Sheets to Improve Animal Welfare at Zoos and Aquariums

Edward Spera
Spera Art Gallery, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Wildlife Art: The Art of Conservation

Temple Grandin
Colorado State University
Animal Behavior, Autism, and Sensory Based Thinking

James C. Ha
University of Washington
The Use of Primates in Biomedical Research: A Personal Perspective

Stephanie LaFarge
ASPCA Counseling Services
Project Nim: A Personal Perspective

Frans de Waal
Emory University
The Bonobo and the Atheist: Morality, Religion, and Prosocial Primates

Hal Herzog
Western Carolina University
Why Do Humans – But Not Other Animals – Keep Pets?

Tiffany Vanderwerf
The Buffalo Zoological Gardens
Finding the Recipe for Effective Zoo Education

Michael Tobias
The Dancing Star Foundation
The Many Challenges of Coexistence

Heather Hill
St Mary's University (Texas)
Misperceiving Marine Mammals?