Max. number of students: 40
The prerequisite courses for Wildlife Conservation are ‘Voortgezette statistiek en R’ (niveau 2) and either ‘Natuurbeheer, duurzaamheid en plantendiversiteit’ (niveau 2) or ‘Gedragsbiologie’ (niveau 2).
The course is part of two study paths: ‘Ecologie en Natuurbeheer’ and ‘Gedragsbiologie’.
Conserving wildlife and preventing the mass extinction of species are huge global challenges that stem from the impact of humanity on the earth system. The world is experiencing a conservation crisis: animals face threats to their existence through habitat destruction, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution, hunting, infectious disease outbreaks, invasive species, and global climate change. The protection of wildlife species and conservation and restoration of their natural habitats has never been more important. This course addresses the nature, causes, and consequences of the global loss of habitat, wildlife species, populations, and genes, alongside the concept of species adaptation to a changing environment. The course takes a biological approach and provides comprehensive training in the natural science and social aspects of wildlife conservation and restoration. A broad variety of wildlife survey techniques and approaches is taught that will be essential for research and monitoring programs in field situations. By investigating the role of various stakeholders on local, national, and global level, the course elaborates on the wider social and legal context in which conservation and restoration operates and how to deal with contention between different interests in future wildlife conservation planning.
The course addresses a wide range of wildlife conservation issues, including:
Ecosystem functioning, ecology, population genetics, behaviour, and health
Archaeological and recent mass extinctions, ecosystem resilience, and species adaptations
Human-wildlife interactions, including disease transmissions
Hunting, overexploitation, and wildlife trade
Nature conservation and restoration, environmental economics, and wildlife management
Conservation survey techniques in the field (e.g., species monitoring, analysing data from camera traps, evaluating habitat restoration success, rehabilitation, species reintroduction and relocation, and ex-situ breeding)
Career options in wildlife conservation and restoration
The course integrates theoretical and practical based learning by using a variety of teaching methods. Interactive lectures and tutorials are complemented with practical assignments that relate theoretical knowledge to real-life cases. In one assignment, students will experience wildlife conservation in practice by organising excursions to nature conservation areas in the surroundings of the university. They also participate in a conservation seminar, work on creating a successful conservation project, and take part in interactive, in-depth panel discussions.
The theoretical components of the course will be tested in a mid-term exam to assess the students’ theoretical comprehension of the material covered. The practical part will be graded based upon participation, a group report, and presentation.
Relevant literature, including primary and review articles, will become available on blackboard as background materials to the lectures and practical sessions.