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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Hirtenfelder

Hello 2024!

Last year was a big year for the podcast and I have little doubt that this year will see the podcast grow even more. In this post I give a quick overview of some of our achievements in 2023 as well as some of our plans for this coming year. Have some thoughts and ideas? Leave a comment or get in touch via email (

The Year of the Water Rabbit (2023)

A year of big changes and exciting developments.

According to the Chinese Calendar 2023 was the "water rabbit", a zodiac that symbolizes peace and hope. For me the year can only be described as a year of change. I developed and taught a course on urban animal histories and geographies at Queen's University, finished my PhD, and moved from Canada to Austria - to join my husband (Oliver) and dog (Linus) in Vienna. I have spent the last six months in the grueling process of applying for and being rejected from jobs but through it all the podcast has remained a constant. While 2023 was a slightly rocky year for me personally, it has been a remarkable year for the podcast.

In 2023, the podcast was downloaded over 11,500 times and listened to in over 72 countries. Most listeners were in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada but the city with the most listens was Sydney. Despite only being released in September, the interview with Will Kymlicka about Politics was the most downloaded episode of the year. Other popular episodes included my conversations with Dinesh Wadiwel and Josh Milburn about "violence" and "justice" respectively.

We also received a lot of love from fans with numerous 5 star ratings on a range of platforms and several wonderful reviews. Inedia said on Podchaser that they "learned so much" and on Apple Siobhan said this is her "most anticipated podcast." On Spotify, The Animal Turn is a top 10 podcast for 212 fans, a top 5 podcast for 132 fans, and the number 1 podcast for 32 fans! According to Listen Notes, The Animal Turn Podcast is in the top 10% of podcasts globally. WOAH!

Thank you for all of the love and support. Your ratings and reviews go a long way in helping others to find the podcast and in letting me know what you think about the show. I know they take time and effort to do, so thank you!

Another special thank you to the listeners who engaged in conversation via email and those who were seeking out ways to use podcast material in your classrooms. In the words of Ted Lasso, "I appreciate you!"

Want more insights into our achievements in 2023? Particularly noteworthy, in September 2023 The Animal Turn got significantly bigger when we welcomed five new fellows to the team. October was also a big month, not only did we launch Season 6 but we were shortlisted for two awards in the International Women's Podcasting Awards. Find out more about what we did in 2023 by selecting a month below:


We started the year with a continuation of Season 5, "Animals and Biosecurity." Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Uganda's first wildlife vet and founder of Conservation Through Public Health, explained the significance of "Community Led Conservation" in addressing global health challenges.

That was followed by a conversation with Nina Jamal, a policy strategist at Four Paws in Vienna, about "One Health" a concept that has gained traction in academia and international organizations.












Hello Year of the Wood Dragon (2024)

The Animal Turn gets a sister

The logo for The Animal Highlight designed by Rebecca Shen

We are excited to announce that in March 2024, The Animal Turn will be getting a sister - The Animal Highlight.

Listeners will know that at the end of Season 3 I started recording animal highlights, short clips that highlight specific animals. Sometimes in the rich theoretical and conceptual discussions with guests animals are obscured, these highlights try to mitigate that somewhat.

Since then, the highlights have evolved considerably. Hannah Hunter told us about animals through the lens of sound, including coyotes, butterflies, and ivory billed woodpeckers. Amanda Bunten-Wahlberg discussed animals like bears, pangolins, and jellyfish in relation to biosecurity. And, most recently, Virginia Thomas told us about the politics of dogs, bees, and maguey worms. In addition to the highlights on The Animal Turn, behind the scenes each of our fellows are working on their own highlights. These focus on matters from design to disaster, waste, and museums.

In other exciting news, Rebecca Shen has joined The Animal Turn as our Assistant Content Producer and Designer. Rebecca is a landscape designer and researcher and since joining the team in August 2023 Rebecca has improved the look and feel of the podcast. This includes helping to craft templates for Instagram, thinking about our brand coloring and even developing the art work for The Animal Highlight. We are thrilled to have you with us Rebecca!

As we enter our fourth year of production, The year of the "Wood Dragon", the podcast will continue to deepen and expand. I look forward to engaging with listeners, developing new partnerships, and - as always - having stimulating conversation with guests that contribute to thinking about animals more expansively and ethically.

Thank you for our support and Happy New Year!

Wishing you the best for 2024 from your host, Claudia Hirtenfelder (Photo Credit: Oliver Hirtenfelder)

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