To enable the fully digitized handling of data in the animal welfare centers, we developed a comprehensive CMS for the global animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS in which all aspects of animal care can be documented. With additional features such as the search function powered by ElasticSearch, the system is already making everyday life much easier for animal caretakers in conservation centers in Ukraine, Kosovo, the Netherlands and Germany.
© FOUR PAWS
Founded in 1988 and with sanctuaries for animals in need in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS has been actively engaged in animal welfare for over 30 years. The organization identifies abuses, rescues animals in need and protects them. The considerable variety of animals that are taken care of results in a wealth of data that has to be recorded in a structured way. In addition, it was FOUR PAWS’ wish to keep the digital recording of this data as simple and efficient as possible, so that the time thus saved could be used again directly for the care of the animals. The new system fulfills both of those requirements.
Before our cooperation, the animal caretakers of FOUR PAWS handled the recording and documentation of data in the respective animal welfare centers differently. Much of the data was still recorded in paper form or stored on local servers. The international veterinary team or headquarters could, therefore, access the information only with a time delay and corresponding effort. In order to make the processes efficient, a completely digital and centralized solution was needed that would allow FOUR PAWS to record the diverse data from animal care directly.
In the first phase of the project, we developed a basic system in which the essential animal care data could be recorded. For this purpose, we developed an interface with Strapi as CMS. At that stage, FOUR PAWS caretakers could already store animals’ data, add photos, document the type and amount of food and standard training procedures of different animals.
“Parkside came up with a perfect way of setting up the data structure and how to create records. This simplifies not only the workflow of the caretakers but also for us at the headquarters, since the data for all sanctuaries is accessible via one interface. Thanks to this simplified access, we can optimize animal care even further, which in turn directly benefits the welfare of our animals.”
— Irene Redtenbacher, Four Paws
© FOUR PAWS
Among the essential features we added in the second phase were quality-of-life improvements such as the ability to create group feedings and add nutritional supplements. This should allow groups of animals receiving the same diet to be assigned data only once instead of having to be edited individually. Another goal was to specify how the amount of food is divided between the individual animals and entries should be able to be duplicated for efficient editing. All of this represented a challenge, especially from a UX perspective, due to the different requirements of each animal welfare center.
In order to ensure the smooth use of the CMS for animal keepers without language barriers, we set ourselves the goal of internationalization in the third and current phase. In the future, this should not only make it possible to translate the interface, but with the help of Microsoft’s Bing Translator, comments from caretakers should also be translated automatically. In addition, we have already implemented the integration of ElasticSearch for the efficient search of data records in the system.
These are the features we developed for the system:
All sanctuaries can add themselves as a location where they can manage their data and also easily switch between locations.
Caretakers can create animal data entries, add photos and duplicate feeding data entries.
A number of different kinds of data can be entered for the animals: feeding (including special features like during hibernation), dietary supplements and medications, enrichment (interaction of animals with objects) and behavioural training (especially medical training to perform simple and necessary examinations without anesthesia).
Animal groups with the same diet can be assigned group feedings where caretakers can divide the amount of food given between the individual animals.
Search function with ElasticSearch
Animals and data entries can be searched for via ElasticSearch.
The interface is available in multiple languages for sanctuaries in different countries.