Interventions in Wild Animal Health

Field Course: An Integral Component of MVetSci The University of Edinburgh Background

Tiger, India, National Park

The Zoological Society of London, The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and The University of Edinburgh have been motivated to run this course in recognition of the need to conserve globally important biodiversity and enormous natural values in South Asia and other biodiverse areas, which are nevertheless a hotspot for wildlife diseases and conflict. These wildlife diseases are relatively unstudied and unchecked, and ZSL, WII and The University of Edinburgh, with the support of the Thriplow Trust, 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 course 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 programme.

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

Course Content. The Interventions Course will provide practical knowledge to complement the theoretical understanding gained from other courses of the online Conservation Medicine Cert/Dip MVetSci programme. 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 a range of techniques including animal tracks and signs, dung/pellet identification and quantification, census techniques, camera trapping, and radio telemetry), biological management, visual health monitoring of free-living animals, best practice in 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.

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, wildlife monitoring, biological management, and 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                                      

Enrolment:  In order to be eligible for the course running in 2018, a candidate will need to have enrolled in the Conservation Medicine Programme by the application deadline of 22nd August 2016.  Priority for the Interventions Course in Wild Animal Health will be given to South Asian students. See:

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 within the National Parks (Sariska Tiger Reserve and Ranthambore National Park) will be included. Students are responsible for travel to and from New Delhi, India and for any associated travel costs such as visas.


Interventions in Wild Animal Health Blog 2016

PDF icon Interventions in Wild Animal Health Brochure (437.02 KB) (437.02 KB)

Timing: Three weeks, 20-credit, course running from Sunday 5th February to Friday 24th February 2017.

Assessment: Written assignment, Field skill evaluation.

Subjects: Protected Area Management
                 Animal population monitoring
                 Wildlife Rehabilitation
                 Wildlife Health and Field Disease Investigation
                 Wild Animal Restraint and Anaesthesia

Subjects will have a variety of practical and theoretical work involved, with students given as many chances as possible to have hands-on learning experience.




teaching, field work, post mortem

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

University of Edinburgh

Professor Anna Meredith - Professor of Zoological and Conservation Medicne

Dr Neil Anderson – Programme Co-ordinator and Lecturer

Zoologial Society London

Dr Tony Sainsbury - Senior Lecturer, Insitute of Zoolgy

Dr Rajan Amin -  Senior Fellow, Conservation Programmes

Nic Masters - Head of Veterinary Services, The Living Collections, ZSL

Wildlife Institute of India

Professor Pradeep Malik 

Professor Parag Nigam 

"Most enjoyable part was meeting other students and teachers and interacting with them." - Barbara, Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Zurich

“I’m going to go back more focused and motivated to focus on research in my field so I can contribute to the scientific community.” Luca, Wildilfe Vet, Easten Cape Province

“Course has brought me closer to evidence based approaches.” - Naveen, Deputy Director, Corbett Foundation, Kaziranga

sariska, tiger reserve, national park

Sariska Tiger Reserve

The bulk of your field exercises and teaching will occur in Sariska Tiger Reserve, an area 866km2 in size, located in Rajasthan. The Park was declared a wildlife reserve in 1955 and then a tiger reserve in 1978. 

Sariska is part of India's project tiger and in recent years carried out a tiger relocation scheme due to the dessimation of tiger numbers in the park, making it an excellent base to learn about conservation management.

The Park also benefits from a wide range of ungulate, avian and predator species which allow a wide range of field techniques and opportunities for observations to be made during the course. You will also have the opportunity to witness human-wildlife interactions first hand, due to the many villages and temples located within the park.