The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), University of Melbourne (UoM), the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) 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, RVC, UoM and UoE 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, a field course in interventions in wildlife health was created 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.
"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
Optional year 2 (Diploma) course: Interventions in Wild Animal Health
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
- translocation techniques
- disease outbreak investigation
- monitoring of the health of declining species
It will also 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
- scanning disease surveillance scenarios
- To gain a critical awareness of the effects of interventions at the human-wildlife interface.
- To develop a systematic understanding of the planning of, and field methods in, wildlife monitoring, biological management, and disease outbreak investigation.
- To gain a comprehensive understanding including new insights into disease risk management in translocation programmes.
- To gain a critical awareness of field methods to investigate the role of disease in the decline of species.
- A comprehensive understanding of ex-situ medicine and management in the context of field interventions.
This three-week, 20 credit course covers the following topics and modules:
- Animal Population Monitoring
- Wildlife Rehabilitation
- Wildlife Health and Field Disease Investigation
- Wild Animal Restraint and Anaesthesia
Joining you on the field course are highly experienced wildlife veterinarians and ecologists from The Wildlife Institute of India, ZSL and The University of Edinburgh:
University of Edinburgh
Dr Rajan Amin - Senior Fellow, Conservation Programmes, ZSL
Dr Nic Masters - Head of Veterinary Services, The Living Collections, ZSL
Wildlife Institute of India
Professor Pradeep Malik
Professor Parag Nigam
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 decemation 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.
"The 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
"The course has brought me closer to evidence based approaches." - Naveen, Deputy Director, Corbett Foundation, Kaziranga
If you are interested in applying for the MVetSci Conservation Medicine at University of Edinburgh please visit the course webpage.
If you are interested in attending the Interventions in Wild Animal Health field course please use the forms found under the contact tab on the www.iwah.org website.
The course runs in January-February of each year and you will need to register your interest by the October before to be considered for a place.
Details of upcoming course dates can be found on the IWAH webpage. Priority for the Interventions Course in Wild Animal Health will be given to South Asian students.