Dr Daniel Allen is an Animal Geographer with interests in human-animal relations in policy and practice. His research on otter conservation and animal companionship has informed evidence-based animal advocacy, science-policy communication, government and non-government decision-making, and educational practice and innovation.

Otter Conservation

Since completing a doctorate on ‘the cultural and historical geographies of otter hunting in Britain (University of Nottingham) in 2006, Dr Allen has established a reputation as an active IUCN/SSC UK otter specialist. During his advisory role with the UK Wild Otter Trust, Dan supported the formation and direction of the award-winning charity (2016), contributing to successful media and policy campaigns around otter protection. Dan also led an Environment Agency funded research project about ‘perceptions on otter predation’ (Allen and Pemberton, 2019), and continues to explore the influences and implications of human-otter relations, including temporal and spatial differences towards otter predation.

You can listen to Dr Allen on BBC Radio 4’s Natural Histories, Otter, which first aired on August 13 2018. The updated second edition of his 2010 book Otter was published in 2020.

Animal Companionship

Since 2018, Dr Allen has been spearheading collaborative research on the nature and extent of dog theft in the UK. Dan has carried out extensive work exploring how animals are more-than-property. His research on dog theft and award-winning advocacy for ‘Pet Theft Reform’ has been used as evidence in the Pet Theft Taskforce policy report; and his work continues to inform policy decision-making at government and multi-organisational levels.

Recognising the importance of the human-animal bond, Dan’s latest collaborative research project, ‘No pets! Young people’s transitions to campus living and the importance of the human-animal bond for mental health and wellbeing’ (2022-2023), is funded by the Society for Companion Animals Studies (SCAS).


Dr Daniel Allen first joined Keele as a Teaching Fellow in Human Geography in 2008, navigating a series of temporary and part-time contracts to secure a permanent role in 2016. As programme director for Geography, from January 2020 to September 2023, Dan led the redesign of the Geography curriculum and re-accreditation from the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).

Dan has a Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education; and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and RGS. An enthusiasm for geography led to the creation of Reaktion Books “Earth” Series in 2012. The series, which Dan continues to edit, has been praised by the Geographical Association: “They keep our attention. They are great geography. These books will get us reading geography for pleasure”.

Module Leadership (2023-2024)


  • GEG-10015 Nature, Conservation and Society 
  • GEG-20015 Space and Society 
  • GEG-20048 More-than-human Geographies
  • GEG-30006 Geography Double Dissertation
  • GEG-30008 Geography Single Dissertation
  • GEG-30021 Animals and Society


  • GEG-40008 Animals and Society 
  • GEG-40020 Key Themes in Human Geography and Sustainability
  • GEG-40030 Advanced Traineeships in Geography, Geoscience and Sustainability
  • PhD Supervision: Emma Randall (2020-2026) ‘The Nature Nurse: The practices of eco-therapy, wild interactions and wellbeing’ (First Supervisor: Prof Clare Holdsworth)



  • Allen, D., Arathoon, J. and Selby‚ÄźFell, H., 2022. Experiences of dog theft and spatial practices of search/ing. The Geographical Journal, 188(4), pp.518-533.  
  • Wyatt, T., Maher, J., Allen, D., Clarke, N. and Rook, D., 2022. The welfare of wildlife: an interdisciplinary analysis of harm in the legal and illegal wildlife trades and possible ways forward. Crime, Law and Social Change, 77(1), pp.69-89.
  • Allen, D.,Devoile, J., Nobajas, A., Pemberton, S., Webb, D., and Wright, L.C. 2020. Fenced Fisheries, Eurasian Otters (Lutra lutra) and Licenced Trapping: an Impact Assessment. IUCN Otter Spec. Group Bull. 37 (1) pp. 38-52.
  • Allen, D., Peacock, A. and Arathoon, J. 2019. Spatialities of Dog Theft: A Critical Perspective, Animals, 9 (5), 209.
  • Wisniewski, K. D., Pringle, J. K., Allen, D. and Wilson, G. E. 2019. ‘Wildlife Crime: The application of forensic geoscience to assist with criminal investigations’, Forensic Science International, 294, pp. 11-18.
  • Allen, D., Matless, D. and Watkins, C. 2016. ‘An incredibly vile sport’: Campaigns against Otter Hunting in Britain, 1900–39. Rural History, 27, pp 79-101.


  • Allen, D. and Pemberton, S. 2019. Perceptions on Otter Predation. Environment Agency, Bristol


  • Allen, D. 2013; 2014. The Nature Magpie. A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World, Icon Books, London
  • Allen, D. 2010; 2020. Otter, Reaktion Books, London.


  • Allen, D. 2017 ‘Earthworm’, in Urbanik, J. and Johnston, C. L. (eds.) Humans and Animals. A Geography of Co-Existence, ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara. pp. 113-115.
  • Allen, D. 2013. ‘The Hunted Otter in Britain, 1830-1939,’ in Beinart, W., Middleton, K. and Pooley, S. (eds.) Wild Things. Nature and the Social Imagination, The White Horse Press, Winwick. pp. 120-141.
  • Allen, D. 2012. ‘Animal Blood Sports, British Isles,’ in Nauright, J. (ed.) Sports Around the World: History, Culture, Practice. ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara. pp. 13-15. 
  • Allen, D. 2007. ‘A delightful sport with ‘peculiar’ claims: the specificities of otter hunting, 1850-1939,’ in Hoyle, R. (ed.) Our hunting fathers: field sports in England after 1850. Carnegie Publishing, Lancaster, pp. 143-164.


  • Allen, D. 2018. 'Book Review: The Gospel of Kindness. Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America', Agricultural History Review, 65, 2, pp. 348-350.
  • Allen, D. 2013. ‘Book Review: Placing Animals: An Introduction to the Geography of Human-Animal Relations, by Julie Urbanik’, Geographical, February 2013.


  • Allen, D. 2006. The cultural and historical geographies of otter hunting in Britain, Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Nottingham.


  • Over 600,000 reads through The Conversation
  • ‘The Nature Magpie’, monthly column in NFU Countryside since May 2014.
  • Hoole, J. and Allen, D. August 24 2018. Do dogs have feelings? The Conversation. Reproduced by Newsweek and IFLScience.
  • Hoole, J. and Allen, D.  July 16 2018. It takes just six minutes for a dog to die in a hot car, The Conversation. Reproduced by iNews, Science Alert, The Weather Network, Dogs Today and IFLScience.  
  • Allen, D. February 15 2018. Pet theft is on the rise, with more than 60 dogs stolen in the UK every week, The Conversation. Reproduced by K9, iNews and Metro.
  • Allen, D. January 9 2018. How to stop the humble hedgehog disappearing from British gardens and countryside forever, The Conversation. Reproduced by Independent, Metro and 23 regional newspapers.  
  • Allen, D. December 2017. A Dog’s Life. Beanz: the Border Collie who went from being an abandoned stray dog in Ireland to a therapy dog visiting patients in psychiatric hospitals in England, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. November 2017. A Dog’s Life. Kayla: the Scottish Sheepdog trained to follow her nose and sniff out otters, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. October 2017. A Dog’s Life. Beebee: the King Charles Spaniel with debilitating health issues helping to raise awareness about canine health, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. September 2017. Otters in Focus, BBC Wildlife Magazine.
  • Allen, D. September 2017. A Dog’s Life. Django: the Tosa Mastiff rescued from the South Korean dog meat trade, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. August 2017. A Dog’s Life. Rupert: the over excitable chocolate Labrador who became a part of my family, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. July 2017. A Dog’s Life. Harley: the rescued Staffordshire Bull Terrier giving the breed the good name they deserve, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. June 2017. A Dog’s Life. Foosa: the three-legged Soi Dog rescue, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. May 2017. A Dog’s Life. Simba: the top model Leonberger, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. April 2017. A Dog’s Life. Koda: the lost hunting hound that needed a loving new home, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. March 2017. Separating fact from fiction: otters and anglers, BBC Wildlife Magazine.
  • Allen, D. March 15 2017. Fox-hunting row: playing politics with animal welfare, The Conversation.
  • Allen, D. March 2017. A Dog’s Life. Wisp: the most patient of patients in canine first-aid training, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. March 12 2017. What Does The Zoo Mean To You? Huffington Post.
  • Allen, D. February 2017. A Dog’s Life. PJ Egan: the Romanian rescue named after an animal advocate, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. January 2017. A Dog’s Life. Jack: the assistance dog who helps with physical chores and brings emotional support, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. December 2016. A Dog’s Life. Lyra: experiences of breed-specific legislation, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. November 2016. A Dog’s Life. Mugly: from world’s ugliest dog to most heroic hound, Dogs Today, p. 98.
  • Allen, D. January 2016. Quoth the Raven, The Field, pp. 81-84.
  • Allen, D. December 2015. Stoats and Weasels: The Wild Wooders, The Field, pp. 95-98.
  • Allen, D. December 2015. How do otters cope in winter? BBC Wildlife Magazine.
  • Allen, D. May 2015. Best Friends Forever, National Geographic Kids.
  • Allen, D. February 2015. The World's Deadliest Snakes, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 58-59.
  • Allen, D. January-February 2015. Animal Instincts: The demand for animal-assisted therapy and such like is increasing – but caution is needed when choosing a provider, Mental Health Today, p. 21.
  • Allen, D. September-October 2014. Animal instincts: Animals can have a positive impact on mental health, as the example of Tracey Doolan and her dog, Jack, demonstrates, Mental Health Today, p. 22.
  • Allen, D. June-July 2014. Pet Nation. Meeting Asian Small-Clawed Otters, Small Furry Pets, pp. 10-13.
  • Allen, D. May-June 2014. Animal instincts, Mental Health Today.
  • Allen, D. February-March 2014. Pet Nation. Meeting Sugar Gliders in Sheffield, Small Furry Pets, pp. 40-42.
  • Allen, D. December 2013. On the Slime Trail. Slugs and Snails, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 44-47.
  • Allen, D. December 2013. The Forgotten Pet: Rabbits, Pet Gazette, pp. 20-21.
  • Allen, D. November 2013. Where's Mum? Puppy Farming, Pet Gazette, pp. 20-21.
  • Allen, D. October-November 2013. Hedgehog Heroes. Protectors of our Prickly Garden Guests, Small Furry Pets, pp. 38-41.
  • Allen, D. August-September 2013. Pet Nation. Rabbit Jumping, Small Furry Pets, pp. 10-11.
  • Allen, D. October 2013. The Naked Truth: Skinny Pigs, Pet Gazette, pp. 34-35.
  • Allen, D. August-September 2013. Pet Nation. Meeting Rescue Ferrets, Small Furry Pets, pp. 32-35.
  • Allen, D. August 2013. Otterly Charming, The Field, pp. 118-121.
  • Allen, D. July-August 2013. Animal Magic: the therapeutic benefits of animals to people with mental ill health is increasingly being recognised and becoming a more common part of services, Mental Health Today, pp. 12-13.
  • Allen, D. June-July 2013. Pet Nation. Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs’, Small Furry Pets, pp. 32-34.
  • Allen, D. June-July 2013. Pet Nation. Introducing Melanie Raccoon, Small Furry Pets, pp. 6-10.
  • Allen, D. May 12 2013. From Spongebobs to bullet ants... nature’s unnatural wonders, Daily Express.
  • Allen, D. April-May 2013. Squirrels in Britain, Small Furry Pets, pp. 39-41.
  • Allen, D. April 2013. RSPCA: Animal rights or animal welfare? The Field, pp. 78-81.
  • Allen, D. April 2013. Snakewatching and other reptilian observations with Desmond Morris, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 8-12.
  • Allen, D. March 2013. Tarantula Talk, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 14-18.
  • Allen, D. February 2013. Going Wild and Staying Safe, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 42-44.
  • Allen, D. Autumn 2012. Pet Nation. Meeting the Skinny Pigs, Small Furry Pets, pp. 40-42
  • Allen, D. Summer 2012. Pet Nation. Meeting a House Skunk in Hampshire, Small Furry Pets, pp. 42-44.
  • Allen, D. October 2012. Pet Therapy with Reptiles, Practical Reptile Keeping, pp. 8-10.
  • Allen, D. Spring 2012. Otters of the World, Small Furry Pets, pp. 50-53.
  • Allen, D. Winter 2011. Countrycall. An Otter Delight, Evergreen, pp. 22-25.

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
William Smith Building
Keele University