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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
  • Learn the skills you need to start on the path to working in Wildlife Conservation
  • Learn about ecosystem management, the process of habitat fragmentation, surveying for endangered species and planning for the recovery of threatened species.
  • Seek employment with fauna sanctuaries, wildlife conservation organisations and wildlife carers. 

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Start on your way to a career with wild animals.

  • Gain practical skills necessary for conservation of wildlife
  • Increase your employability
  • Save money, study from home
  • Gain confidence in your ability and understanding of wildlife management & conservation
  • This course complements our Wildlife Management course.
  • Learn practical flora and fauna (including marine) survey techniques.
  • You will cover the guiding principles of wildlife ecology, threatened species management, habitat fragmentation and degradation, surveying for endangered species and species recovery.



There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Wildlife Conservation
    • What is wildlife conservation
    • The need for wildlife conservation
    • Important concepts ecology, ecosystem, biome, conservation values, biological diversity, genetic drift, habitat, life span, wildlife movement and wildlife management.
    • Threatening processes habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation and loss, soil degradation, erosion, pollution, unsustainable harvesting, invasive species, climate change, population isolation and disease.
    • Biodiversity indicators
    • Terminology
  2. Recovery of Threatened Species
    • Loss of species categories of risk
    • Species vulnerability to endangerment
    • Recovery of species and threat management
    • Habitat Conservation identifying critical habitat and protecting habitat
    • Research population growth, habitat use and conservation genetics
    • Captive breeding
    • Translocation
    • Public involvement
  3. Habitat Conservation
    • Habitat
    • Types of Habitat eg. temperate and tropical forests, woodland, tundra and mangrove habitats
    • Habitat Use
    • Species Richness
    • Habitat Fragmentation
    • Creating Habitats
    • Restoration Ecology creating habitat corridors, situating corridors, types of corridors, edge effects
    • Habitat Rehabilitation implementing a land management program, determining objectives, determining a program
    • The Role of GIS in Conservation
    • The Role of Protected Areas levels of protection, approaches to reserve selection and limitation of reserves.
  4. Approaches to Conservation of Threatened Wildlife
    • Species Approach modelling demography, effective population size, small populations, population viability analysis (PVA)
    • Landscape Approach elements of landscape ecology, distribution of populations within a landscape, landscape modelling
    • Ecosystem Approach the need for ecosystem management, understanding dynamics, adaptive management, objectives for ecologically sustainable forest management.
  5. Vegetation Surveys
    • Plant Identification common names, scientific names, levels of division, botanical keys,
    • Vegetation survey techniques such as quadrant surveys, landscape assessments, line surveys.
    • Vegetation Mapping remote sensing data.
  6. Fauna Surveys
    • Observation techniques spotlighting, scat surveys, census techniques
    • Trapping Techniques radio tracking, call recordings, pit fall traps, Elliot traps.
    • Species identification
  7. Marine Surveys
    • Reef Surveys
    • Habitat Surveys
    • Aerial Surveys
    • Over-exploitation
    • Commercial Fish Stock Management
  8. Planning for Wildlife
    • Farm Planning
    • Urban Planning
    • Use of GIS
  9. Management
    • Managing Threatened Wildlife Populations manipulating populations, revegetation/restoration, creating corridors, pest control plans, fencing for species, fire breaks.
  10. Wildlife Conservation Project

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.



  • Determine the principles and approaches used towards species recovery.
  • Discuss the principles of habitat conservation with regards to fragmentation, restoration and the use of protected areas.
  • Describe and discuss the various approaches used to conserve threatened species and ecosystems.
  • Appreciate the range of flora survey techniques that have been developed to sample fauna for the purposes of conservation.
  • Discuss and differentiate between fauna survey techniques that have been developed to sample fauna for the purposes of conservation.
  • Discuss and differentiate between marine survey techniques used to conserve wildlife.
  • Discuss and differentiate the range of planning tools available for farming, urban and residential planning to help conserve wildlife.
  • Identify various management techniques used to conserve wildlife.
  • Develop a wildlife recovery plan for a species under threat.
Start By Knowing What the Populations are?
Determining the current population of a species is usually the starting point. 
There are many, many methods used for sampling wildlife populations. The method chosen will depend on the information the wildlife manager wishes to collect. They may wish to conduct counts of populations within a particular region, record the presence of species within a study area or gather population information on a specific species among others. Below are some of the most common methods used.
Aerial Surveys
Aerial surveys are usually undertaken by wildlife managers to assist with improving management techniques of wildlife populations, to gather large amounts of data on different aspects such as habitat, wildlife and ecosystems. It is the most popular survey technique for estimating the size of populations of larger animals. Think of trying to conduct a population survey of deer over a huge area of countryside. Flying over the top of the animals to count them is an effective survey method in this instance and also allows managers to gather other population information such as density, age and sex ratios.
When doing aerial survey work, managers need to first set out the boundaries of the survey area. The plane can then be flown up and down the survey area, and these runs become the transects of the survey.
It is a difficult task to estimate herd numbers, or even to spot some species from the air and takes keen observational skills and a lot of practice to become an expert aerial surveyor.
There are various types of traps used by wildlife managers and researchers. These will vary depending on the species you are trapping, the information you wish to collect and the habitat you are working in. Some different types of traps include:
  • Elliot style folding traps – these are commonly used for capturing small terrestrial mammals such as rats, mice,
  • Mist net traps – these are generally used for capturing bats and birds. There are various designs ranging in size of gauges of mesh and type of material. The choice of mist net will depend on the target species.
  • Cage traps – there are a wide range of cage traps used for various species from small mammals, water birds, rabbits, foxes and larger animals such as feral pigs.
  • Pit fall traps – these are usually used in conjunction with drift nets to direct small terrestrial animals such as reptiles into pits in the ground.
  • Two-stage roost trap – first compartment captures bird which will then walk up to the second compartment to house the birds for up to 2 days. This style of trap is used to capture pest bird species.
There are also traps which kill the captured species. Obviously, live trapping is preferable with desirable populations. When trapping problem species, killing during trapping is an option. However, the actual removal of these individuals from the population does effect the survey data. Ideally, where possible, pest species should be trapped live and removed for disposal.
Transects are used in both plant and animal surveys. They vary, but as a general rule, transects are straight lines that an observer moves along, or along which traps are placed. The positioning of a transect can effect the data collected. It is best to survey across the grain of a country than along it, such as surveying across a river or over a slope. This will provide more information on the variation in habitats and species within a study area.
When undertaking transect surveys, tally counters move along the transect recording the animals seen or heard. This type of counting requires skilled observers, as animals maybe difficult to see, identify (think of some bird species for example) or easily frightened.
Indirect Methods
Indirect methods are those methods used to calculate the size of a population when the animal itself isn’t actually counted or is counted but does not depend on accurate animal counts. It may be based on observing their activity such as burrowings or excreted faeces.
Another example of a method in where animals are not counted is where some small mammals can be counted by putting out PVC pipes that have a sticky inside. The fur of the mammals gets caught and stuck to the sticky lining, but the animal moves on. Managers can identify the animals by fur analysis and thus get an indirect picture of the population. The presence of animals can also be noted by observing burrows, nests, footprints, and scats or using call-back recordings to survey birds. The use of call-back recordings is especially useful for locating birds of prey such as owls that are difficult to locate visually.
Examples of methods where animals are counted but accuracy is not needed include the change of ratio method, the mark-recapture method and incomplete counts.
Mark recapture methods are just as the name suggest – a sample of the animal population are caught, tagged and released. There are a number of different ways of carrying out mark recapture surveys. These include the Peterson model, frequency of capture models, estimation of density, many counts and two counts.
Data collected from mark-recapture surveys can be used to estimate the size of a population and identify trends in population growth or decline.
Roadside or Call Counts
This type of survey is often used with birds. Usually, volunteers are asked to fill out forms detailing sitings or calls of a particular species in a particular area. Information is then collated and analysed. Researchers can use Call Counts to estimate population sizes, identify bird species within a specific study area or use over time to observe the population trends of a particular species.
Why choose to study with ACS?

  • Great faculty -veterinary scientists and wildlife experts who have worked all around the world.
  • Service –We put the student first; tutors and administration can be contacted 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year, by phone or email.
  • We provide better Learning – we’ve been delivering distance education for over 3 decades, and we understand how people learn by home study.
  • Our methods are unique, developed through trial and error always with our focus squarely on helping you learn.
  • Up to Date –We are continually revising and updating courses. We listen to our students feedback and we always improve the course if a change is identified that will help significantly improve your learning.
  • More Choice –Graduates need a set of skills that will set them apart and give them an advantage over competition in the world after study. We have a wide variety of study choices, and give you lots of options to
    choose different paths throughout a course. Doing this has meant an ACS graduate is always different to other ACS graduates; and that difference has made our graduates very successful.
  • No Short Cuts –You can’t take short cuts in learning; and that is why our courses are often longer than what you find elsewhere. Sure, anyone can study a short course, quickly sit an exam (while the information is fresh) and pass; but if you want to really understand something and retain it, that takes time.
  • More than just Learning Facts –We understand that success in the workplace or business requires you to not only learn things, but also build networks, understand the commercial world, be able to solve problems, communicate with people, and have an attitude that will function in your chosen industry. Our courses are designed to develop all of these things





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Meet some of our academics

Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.

Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyExplore how animals think and comare how this differs between different animals (and humans)
BirdsIdeal for Ornithology students or the budding bird enthusiast, this ebook offers an ideal foundation on birds. Learn to identify birds from around the world with over 130 colour photographs and 117 pages of fascinating bird facts.
Marine AnimalsWith colour photos splashed throughout, this Marine Animals e-book is designed to provide a guide for some of the more common animals found in marine ecosystems around the world. Learn about the creatures hidden by the other 70% of the earth's surface. Explore more...
Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.