About the NAC – an Unusual Attitude to Business


We manage our lives & business in a way which is perhaps unusual and as such you deserve to know about it up front … since 1997 when the NAC formally opened all of our decisions (personal, financial and business) have been driven by our core belief system – compassion for animals.  We are in principle a   ‘not-for –profit organisation’;  all of the centre’s surpluses are channelled into furthering our mission statement be it through discounting the prices of our Distance Learning Programmes to ongoing behaviour research in Africa.



It is amazing that when you have a mission statement like … positively influencing the well being of animals worldwide … which has no mention of profits or money, that you find that what you need you can attract.  So being non-profit focused does not conflict with being able to achieve all that you wish to achieve in this life time.  We hope that this attitude to treating money as merely a form of energy comes through clearly in all that we do.   It has worked for us in that we have been able to fund the NAC Sanctuary and the Zebra Behaviour PhD research project (which has been operating since 2006) all based on this concept.


Heather’s first PhD paper can be downloaded at:    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13364-011-0061-x

Or just type ‘Heather Simpson 5 year study of the plains zebra’ in to Google Scolar and it will find it for you.


The abstract is in the magazine:  Acta Theriologica

Volume 57, Issue 2pp 111–120

Social structure, vigilance and behaviour of plains zebra (Equus burchellii): a 5-year case study of individuals living on a managed wildlife reserve

  • Heather I. Simpson
  • Sean A. Rands
  • Christine J. Nic1


Most studies of plains zebra (Equus burchellii) have focused on population ecology and have not included long-term observations of identified individuals. Over a 5-year period, we studied the crepuscular activities of 13 individual zebras within a focal group held within a managed game reserve. We also examined individual residency within the group by recording births, mortalities and longevity of group membership by adults. Residency of individuals living in other groups on the reserve was similarly monitored to examine variability in social structure within this closed population over an extended period of time. Stable, female groups were the mainstay of group sociality with male mean residency at 31.6 months being variable in length or even absent. Social interactions across all categories of zebras were free from aggression. Despite an absence of non-human predators, the proportion of dusk time budget allocated to vigilance was high, at 41% for males during periods when they accompanied stable female groups and 12% for females during these same periods. Female vigilance increased significantly to 19% when males were not resident. Females spent 70% of the time grazing and males just 36%. Due to its long-term nature, we concluded this study established a base line for plains zebra activity that could assist in understanding the factors that influence the successful management and conservation of healthy populations.

Zebra meets Donkey

Zebra meets Donkey

We (Heather & Ross Simpson) founded the NAC in 1997 when we opened our first centre in Sussex. In 2003 we moved to Wales which remains the centre from which all of the Distance Learning programmes eminate.  With a background in animal behaviour, Heather has published her first PhD paper on zebra behaviour working with Professor Christine Nicol of Bristol Vet School.  The research continues at our centre in Africa, where we have approximately 150 zebra.  Ross, the co-founder of the NAC, is responsible for the publication of the Distance Learning Programmes and specialises in animal training through positive reinforcement.

We are very fortunate to be so well supported such by a dedicated team of full time staff and working students who benefit from a combination of practical experience in the day to day management of animals and formal study under the behaviour qualification program.  If you are interested in the working student programme see the section on working at the NAC and email us your CV and we will put you on the waiting list for the next position to come up.

In 2015 we launched the NAC Animal Sanctuary with the aim of raising charitable donations to maintain the animals both in the UK and the zebras in South Africa. If you would like further information on this aspect of the NAC then please have a look round our website, call/email us or follow us on Facebook.
It is our sincere wish to help you to help animals so we hope that our courses, trips to Africa or the NAC Sanctuary will help you to also positively influence the well being of the animals around you.

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