The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Course aims to help protect endangered animals

The growing number of endangered species has led to the development of a unique course to help vets tackle this global challenge.

vets with osprey

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies has appointed Anna Meredith as Professor of Zoological and Conservation Medicine.

Professor Meredith, who joined the School in 1992 and was instrumental in setting up its Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service, is heading up a MVetSci in Conservation Medicine.

The course is aimed at international vets, enabling them to study flexibly part-time through online learning, and achieve a Certificate, Diploma or Masters degree over one, two or three years.

The first intake of students, starting in September, include vets from Cyprus, France, India, North America, Rwanda, Turkey and the UK.

Anna Meredith

Professor Meredith said: "Conservation medicine needs biologists, ecologists, public health specialists and vets to work together, but while a lot of vets are keen to become involved there is limited training in this area. This is why we wanted to run such a course that could be accessed by vets from all over the world.

"Animal health and human health are inextricably linked, and human behaviour also has a major impact on many different species. Vets have an important role to play in wildlife conservation, which needs not only an holistic but also an interdisciplinary approach with regards to looking at ecological health and how ecosystems interact."

Professor Meredith is also involved in research and surveillance related to the conservation of red squirrels and Scottish wildcats. She also chairs the UK Government's Zoos Expert Committee.

Out of more than 63,000 species, including plants, birds, fish, mammals and amphibians, nearly 20,000 are endangered or critically endangered with climate change and habitat destruction as major factors.

This includes the melting of sea ice, which is affecting the fate of polar bears dependent on the ice as a floating platform to catch prey. Rising sea levels are also affecting sea turtles in Brazil, which lay their eggs on beaches.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies' Exotic Animal and Wildlife Service, which has 10 staff members, is unique in how wildlife and exotic medicine are fully integrated into its service and its curriculum for undergraduate vets.

Related Links

Online MVetSci in Conservation Medicine