Dr Daniel Allen’s geographical interests centre on the relationships between humans, animals, public knowledge and identity, with focus on historical otter hunting, contemporary otter conservation, animal welfare, and pet theft. By engaging with perceptions of nature and human-animal relations, Dr Allen’s research contributes to debates in animal geography, social geography, rural geography and human-animal studies.

After graduating with first class honours in BSc Geography from the University of Central Lancashire, Daniel moved to the University of Nottingham, gaining an MA in Landscape and Culture in 2002, and a PhD in Human Geography in 2006. Awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded both his postgraduate degrees: MA (Award No. 01/1248) and PhD (Award No. 02/63215). In 2008-2009 Dr Allen became a Teaching Fellow in Human Geography at Keele University, returning in a Sessional Teaching capacity in 2012-2013, and as a Teaching Fellow in Human Geography from 2013.

Dr Allen enjoys science-policy communication and animal advocacy. As an Animal Geographer, he has been commissioned to write more than 100 animal-related magazine features, published two books (Otter; The Nature Magpie), and his writing has had over 250,000 reads through The Conservation. He has influenced policy change at national level with the UK Wild Otter Trust, and created the #PetTheftReform campaign with the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance. You can follow Dr Allen through his verified Twitter account @Dr_Dan_1 .


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS)
  • Member of the IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group (OSG)
  • Media and Policy Advisor for UK Wild Otter Trust (UKWOT)
  • Patron of the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA)
  • Associate Member of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW)

Research and scholarship

Otter Conservation: influencing UK policy and promoting public understanding

Dr Daniel Allen’s research on historical otter hunting and contemporary otter conservation has established him as one of the leading otter experts in the UK. This research expertise has been used to raise public understanding of conservation issues through extensive public engagement; support the formation and direction of an award-winning charity; lead an Environment Agency funded research project about ‘perceptions of otter predation’; and influence national policy change. As media and policy advisor for the UK Wild Otter Trust, Dr Allen contributed to a successful campaign to secure a Natural England initiative ‘class licence’ to humanely trap and relocate otters inadvertently trapped in fenced fisheries. As the first otter-related policy change in 30 years, this has had a positive impact on otter welfare and stillwater fisheries management.

You can listen to Dr Allen on BBC Radio 4’s Natural Histories, Otter, which first aired on August 13 2018. The second edition of his 2010 book Otter is due for publication in 2019.

Pet Theft Reform

Dr Daniel Allen created and managed the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (Sampa) #PetTheftReform campaign from January 2018. Dr Allen appeared on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire, over 20 radio interviews, and was quoted in over 100 newspaper and magazine features. His government petition to ‘Reclassify pet theft as a specific crime in its own right’ gained over 100,000 signatures in four months, triggering a parliamentary debate on July 2 2018. The following day, Ross Thomson MP presented the first reading of the Pets (Theft) Bill in the House of Commons.

In 2019, Dr Allen launched a second government petition, ‘Pet Theft Reform: Amend animal welfare law to make pet theft a specific offence’. He also spoke as an invited expert at the All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), had a meeting with Defra Minister David Rutley MP about Pet Theft Reform, and published a joint-paper about Spatialities of Dog Theft: A Critical Perspective.

“Earth” series

Dr Daniel Allen’s enthusiasm for geography and interest in science communication led to the creation of Reaktion Books “Earth” Series. Launched in 2012, this is the first popular science book series to trace the historical significance and cultural history of natural phenomena and resources. The series, which Dr Allen 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”.




Year One

  • Geography Student Welfare Committee
  • GEG-10012 Practising Human Geography
  • GEG-10013 Human Geographies
  • ESC-10035 Geographical Skills
  • ESC-10041 People and the Environment
  • LIB-10001 Understanding the World through the Liberal Arts

Year Two

  • GEG-20009 Geographical Research Training
  • GEG-20015 Space and Society (Module Leader)
  • GEG-20018 Concepts and Debates in Geography
  • ESC-20049/50 Representing the World (Section Leader)
  • ESC-20049/50 Nature & Society (Section Leader)

Year Three

  • GEG-30006 GEG-30008 Dissertation Supervision
  • GEG-30014 Inspirational Landscapes
  • GEG-30021 Animals and Society (Module Leader)
  • Geography Student Staff Voice Committee (SSVC) Co-ordinator

MSc/MA Geographical and Environmental Research

  • Member of Core Programme Team
  • GEG-40007 Dissertations (Module Leader)
  • GEG-40008 Animals and Society (Module Leader)
  • ESC-40042 Literature Review
  • ESC-40046 Research Project Design and Management
  • ESC-40049 Research Skills



  • Allen, D., Davoile, J., Nobajas, A., Pemberton, S., Webb, D., and Wright, L. 2019. Fenced Fisheries, Eurasian Otters (Lutra lutra) and Licenced Trapping: An Impact Assessment, IUCN Otter Specialist Group Bulletin, 36 (3) pp. 142-156.
  • 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 of Otter Predation. Environment Agency, Bristol


  • Allen, D. 2014. The Nature Magpie. A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World. Icon Books, London. (Paperback)Nature Magpie Cover
  • Allen, D. 2013. The Nature Magpie. A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World. Icon Books, London. (Hardback)
  • Allen, D. 2010. Otter. Reaktion Books, London. (Paperback)otter-book-cover-allen


  • 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 370,000 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.

Conferences and talks


  • 4th Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching Conference: Practice and Knowledge Production, Keele University. April 2019. Paper: Animals and society: Embedding experiences of animal campaigning into interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
  • All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group (APDAWG), Houses of Parliament, Westminster. March 2019. Invited Expert: Pet Theft Reform. Joint Paper: Spatialities of Dog Theft: A Critical Perspective. (with Adam Peacock and Jamie Arathoon) 


  • Criminal & Environmental Forensics, The Geological Society, London. December 2018. Joint Paper: Wildlife Crime: Use of Geoscience Surveys and Geophysics to Assist Badger Sett Investigations. (with Kris Wisniewski, Jamie Pringle and Gary Wilson)
  • Evidence to Action: Research to Address Illegal Wildlife Trade, London Zoo. October 2018. Invited Panellist: 'The welfare of the wildlife: is there a place for non-human animal welfare concerns in the IWT?'
  • RGS-IBG Conference, Cardiff University. August 2018. Session: Beyond mere signifiers: centring animals in the (re)production of rural landscapes (2) - Beyond the farming environment. Joint Paper: Otter predation and the reproduction of rural landscape: conflict or consensus in the English countryside? (with Simon Pemberton)
  • Animal Geography Research Workshop, The Hemsley, University Park, University of Nottingham. July 2018. Invited Session Chair.
  • Celebrating Research Impact Conference, Keele University. June 2018. Paper: Policy, Practice and Public Understandings of Animal Welfare.


  • Environment and Society Seminar Series, University of York. February 2017. Talk: Changing Policy, Practice and Public Understandings of the Protected Otter in England.
  • Environment Department, University of York. February 2017. Guest Lecture: Animal Geographies.


  • Keele University’s Sustainability Research Network, October 2016.
    Joint Paper: Using Historical Hunting Records to Map the Presence of Otters in South East England (with Alex Nobajas).
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2016. Session Chair: Historical Geographies of Conservation. Paper: "Spare the Spear!": Restyling the otter through hunting landscapes, 1844-1884.
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2016. Session: Data, GIS, and Technology. Joint Paper: Mapping the Archive: Using Historical Hunting Records to Map the Presence of Otters in England (with Alex Nobajas).
  • Environment Department, University of York. February 2016.  Guest Lecture: Animal Geographies.


  • Keele University’s Sustainability Research Network. October 2015. Paper: Animal Life, Death and Human Identity: An Otter Obsession.
  • Open Air Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark. May 2015. Talk: A Cornucopia of Facts, Anecdotes, Folklore and Literature from the Natural World.


  • Fourth International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. July 2013. Session Co-Organiser: ‘When Species Meet’: Animal Experience, Human Emotion (with Bettina van Hoven).


  • RGS-IBG Conference, Edinburgh University. July 2012. Session Organiser: Wanted, Dead or Alive: Critical Geographies of Human-Animal Encounters. Paper: Killing Animals for Sport: Geographies of the Hunted Otter.


  • Wild Things: Nature and the Social Imagination, Environmental History Conference, St Antony’s College, Oxford. September 2011. Paper: The curious case of the otter in Britain.
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2011. Session Organiser: Animal Geography. Status: Endangered? Paper: Animal Geography. Status: Endangered? Paper: Speaking for Animals in the Age of Television.
  • RGS-IBG Conference, London. September 2011. Session: Me myself and the archive: reflecting on encounters and enchantments. Joint Paper: In pursuit of Duncombe-Jewell (with Carl Phillips, Charles Watkins and David Matless).

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