Interventions in Wild Animal Health

Field Module: An Integral Component of MVetSci The University of Edinburgh

Background

The Zoological Society of London, The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and The University of Edinburgh have been motivated to run this module in recognition of the need to conserve globally important biodiversity and enormous natural values in South Asia , which is nevertheless a hotspot for wildlife diseases. These wildlife diseases are relatively unstudied and unchecked, and ZSL, WII and The University of Edinburgh recognise an important need for greater expertise in, and greater numbers of, wildlife health professionals to tackle them. Such wildlife health professionals are needed to undertake interventions in the health, welfare and conservation of wild animals, to investigate emerging infectious diseases and to ensure human well-being.

Therefore ZSL and WII have planned a field module in interventions in wildlife health as an integral component of the MVetSci Conservation Medicine to provide, particularly South Asian veterinarians and others, with an important practical element when they enrol for the online course.

ZSL field work with vultures

Optional year 2 (Diploma) Module: Interventions in Wild Animal Health

Module Content. The Interventions Module will provide practical knowledge to complement the theoretical understanding gained from other modules of the online Conservation Medicine Cert/Dip MVetSci course. Interventions are required to address human-wildlife conflict issues, to carry out effective metapopulation management through translocation, to reduce the risk from disease in reintroduction and translocation programmes, to carry out investigations in disease outbreaks in free-living wildlife and to understand the role of disease in the decline of species. Tuition will be carried out in the field to develop skills in human-wildlife conflict management, disease risk analysis and translocation techniques, disease outbreak investigation and the monitoring of the health of declining species and will include techniques for field monitoring of wildlife (using animal tracks and signs, dung/pellet identification and quantification, census techniques, camera trapping, and radio telemetry), visual health monitoring of free-living animals, best practice wild animal anaesthesia
techniques, demonstration and hands-on practice, clinical examination in the field, sampling techniques for infectious disease screening, pathological examination in the field, and scanning disease surveillance scenarios.

Tiger field work
Location: to be held at the Wildlife Institute of India and selected National Park(s ) in India.

Learning outcomes

1. To gain a critical awareness of the effects of interventions at the human wildlife interface.
2. To develop a systematic understanding of the planning of, and field methods in, disease outbreak investigation
3. To gain a comprehensive understanding including new insights into disease risk management in translocation programmes
4. To gain a critical awareness of field methods to investigate the role of disease in the decline of species
5. A comprehensive understanding of ex-situ medicine and management in the context of field interventions.

Timing: Three week, 20-credit, module in February 2016.

Assessment: Written assignment, Field skill evaluation.

Enrolment

In order to be eligible for the first module in 2016, a candidate will need to enrol in the MVetSci by July 2014. Priority would be given to South Asian students. See : www.ed.ac.uk/vet/conservation-medicine

Tutors

Experienced wildlife veterinarians and ecologists from The Wildlife Institute of India, ZSL and The University of Edinburgh.

Costs

Tuition, board and lodging and travel to and from the National Park will be included. Students are responsible for travel to and from Dehradun, India and for any associated travel costs such as VISAs.