Detailed Descriptions of WILD Units of Study
The world is moving into a new epoch that some have referred to the anthropocene, where every ecosystem on earth is being impacted by human activity and species are becoming extinct at a historic and unprecedented rate.
WILD5001 and WILD5002 combined provide students with the tools to determine what species of wildlife are present in an ecosystem, their numbers, and population trends, while identifying the processes that are driving these trends. With this knowledge base, students are then taught how solutions to these complex problems can be developed.
WILD5003 takes students to the next level allowing students to generate their own data and use data generated by students before them to predict population changes and outcomes of management changes in a real world setting.
Australasian Wildlife: Introduction (WILD5001)
Location: Camden Campus of the University of Sydney.
- Introduce students to the wildlife of Australasia and outline its relationship to wildlife worldwide.
- Develop an understanding of the unique status of Australasian wildlife and the problems of extinction.
- Identify conservation problems for wildlife.
- Develop an understanding of how conservation problems can be diagnosed using theoretical and field-based pattern analysis. The role of science and scientific methodology is emphasised.
- Provide an overview of current prescriptions for wildlife conservation problems and methods for optimising solutions.
- Identify the roles and methodologies of effective and ethical conservation management.
Australasian Wildlife: Field Studies (WILD5002)
Location: Mt Annan and Arthursleigh Southern Highlands, New South Wales
- Provide a firsthand introduction to some of the wildlife of Australasia, and further insight into its relationships with wildlife worldwide.
- Further your understanding of the unique status of Australasian wildlife and the problem of extinctions developed in WILD5001.
- Refine understanding of how conservation problems can be diagnosed using theoretical and particularly field-based pattern analyses.
- Provide an overview of current field sampling and census techniques for wildlife populations, and diagnostic keys for wildlife identification.
- Provide insight into management issues and solutions in a mixed production and conservation landscape.
- Identify the roles and methodologies of effective conservation management.
In Situ Wildlife Management (WILD5005)
Location: Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
- Introduce the analysis of the wildlife populations, including determination of size, dynamics and health.
- Introduce the concept of 'small populations' and 'declining populations', and the value of this dichotomy for management.
- Identify conservation problems for wildlife populations.
- Develop an understanding of how population problems can be diagnosed using theoretical and field-based patter analysis.
- Provide and overview of current prescriptions for population management, their problems and methods for optimising solutions.
- Identify the roles and the methodologies of effective conservation management.
Wildlife Health (WILD5003)
While historically the domain of veterinarians, wildlife disease is now recognized as a key threatening process for wildlife and the understanding of its impact is essential for anyone involved in wildlife population management. Additionally, wildlife diseases do not occur in isolation and wildlife health is closely linked to human and domestic animal health.
WILD5003 provides students with knowledge about disease processes, how to recognize that a disease process is occurring in a wildlife population and how to safely investigate disease outbreaks. Also emphasized is the potential role of wildlife as disease reservoirs for humans and domestic animals and these species for wildlife (The One Health Concept).
Location: Camden Campus of the University of Sydney.
- Introduce students to health issues as threatening processes.
- Provide an understanding of the basic elements of host pathogen interaction.
- Develop an understanding of anatomy of Australian species and disease diagnosis in these species.
- Develop a comprehensive understanding of the approach and tools available to investigating disease outbreaks.
- Review the “One Health” concept to show how wildlife, human and domestic animal health are linked.
- Have students become familiar with the basic principles of wildlife immobilization including the use of specific immobilization agents and delivery systems.
- Provide an overview of the critical role that genetic tools play in wildlife management and disease diagnosis.
Vertebrate Pest Management (WILD5004)
Invasive and overabundant animals are a major cause of population declines and extinctions of native species around the world and significantly impact agriculture. It can be argued that no place on earth has been impacted more by invasive and overabundant species than Australia.
WILD5004 provides a detailed history of how invasive animals have arrived and continue to arrive in Australia, the impact that these species and overabundant species have had and are having and the most current approaches to their control.
Location: Arthursleigh Southern Highlands, New South Wales
- Describe how invasive animals have arrived and continue to arrive in Australia.
- Review the processes that allow native species to become overabundant.
- Discuss the impacts of introduced species of vertebrate pests on Australian wildlife, agriculture and habitat.
- Review: effectiveness, unintended consequences and animal welfare issues associated with control of invasive and overabundant species.
- The main focus this unit of study is mammals including horses, camels, goats, pigs, rabbits, mice, foxes, cats and dingos/dogs, but the impact of invasive amphibians, fish, and birds will also be covered.
Ex situ Wildlife Management (WILD5006)
Zoos play a critical role in conservation by providing refuges for species that are either threatened in the wild or are extinct in the wild. They also play important roles in producing animals for re-introduction and studying assisted reproduction and behaviour in these species. In addition, zoos play a critical role by providing entertainment to the public while at the same time educating the public about important conservation related issues.
WILD5006 is held at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. It is taught by zoo veterinarians, keepers, educators, and administrators. Students are provided with a firsthand and behind the scenes experience on all the workings of the zoo, including their educational, research and conservation activities. This is one of the most popular units of study and has been described as one that brings together all of the elements taught in the previous units of study.
Location: Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo, New South Wales.
- Develop an understanding of how zoos develop their collections.
- Become familiar with the challenges associated with housing and breeding of zoo animals.
- See how the Western Plains zoo is able to provide proper nutrition and husbandry to a wide range of native and non-native species.
- Understand how populations of animals in multiple zoos around the world are managed to maintain genetic diversity.
- Understand the behavioural aspects of in situ management of animals.
- Use the conservation activities of the Western Plains Zoo to demonstrate how zoos around to world play a critical role in threatened species recovery.
- Develop an understanding of the difficult balance between entertainment, education and conservation that zoos have to have.
The demonstrated ability to do research is a valuable tool when applying for a job or a PhD program.
WILD5009 provides the student with a complete research experience, including literature review, experimental design and implementation and reporting results.
Location: The research may be done in various sites depending on the project.
Students will identify a research project during the first semester of the Wild Masters. The project will begin as early at the inter semester break (December, January, and February) and will be completed by the end of the second semester. It is expected that students will need to devote at least 12-18 hours a week during the second semester to this unit of study. A wide range of potential projects in wildlife health and population management will be available, many building on research that has been done in past years. Some projects will be done with other students, or students may work on a specific project individually. Some projects will include field work, while others will be done in the laboratory. In general, the projects will be aligned with ongoing research of University of Sydney faculty members and associated individuals and institutions. It is the goal of this program to make every effort to publish student findings.
In order to progress to the research capstone experience, students must achieve a weighted average mark (grade point average) of 70 or greater. Students that do not achieve this weighted average mark, may leave the program after the first semester with a Graduate Certificate in Wildlife Health and Population Management or continue to take courses in the second semester and complete with a Graduate Diploma in Wildlife Health and Population Management.