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Nordic Zoo, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine - A One Health Approach

  • Photo: 
    Shutterstock, Max Daniel Padt

NOVA Master's course of 6 ECTS, organised by John Debenham, Associate Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Course dates and location: 6-17 Aug. 2018 in Tangen Zoo, Norway.

Course Description
The NOVA intensive MSc course on Nordic Zoo, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine (CM) is a collaboration between the Nordic veterinary educations. It aims at introducing students to the skills and knowledge required of veterinarians and other relevant natural and health science professions in order to meet challenges of the many infectious diseases that are transmitted between wildlife species and domestic animals and humans, and that, in many cases, have wildlife species as the reservoir.

The preliminary work involves an introduction and subsequent grouping of students in 6 “ecosystem groups”: High arctic, Arctic, Boreal, Forest, Coastal and Marine. This is followed by the main e-learning content: 4 sessions on Conservation Medicine, Infectious disease ecology, wildlife pathology and anaesthesia / immobilisation, respectively. Students work both individually and in their eco-group with: scientific literature, on-line discussions and tests, written group assignments and production of YouTube-videos presenting their respective ecosystem and the related conservation medicine challenges.

The on-site module runs over 11 days. The following topics will be addressed: Introduction to conservation medicine, (2) Ecosystem health, including threatened species, interfaces between wildlife, human and environmental health, climate changes, environmental (artic) toxicology and antibiotic resistance; (3) Zoonosis, infectious diseases and disease surveillance in wildlife; (4) Wildlife handling, capturing and immobilization; (5) Wildlife pathology, and (6) Conclusion of course including students' presentations of their learning outcomes and assessment.

Programme Outline

  1. Preparatory e-learning module in June-July
  2. 11 days on-site field module in Norway in beginning of August

Assignments and Evaluation
The students groups must create a youtube video about their ecosystem and its threats through the preliminary course. This is presented on the first day of the on-site course and will be assessed. The on-site assessment is the creation of a research project, which is presented and marked on the final day.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define CM in relation to human, animal and environmental health
  • Identify diseases in Nordic wildlife and animal species important in Nordic CM
  • Explain how a CM approach can be applied in a range of practical situations, eg handling of environmental problems with toxics and antibiotics/ anthelmintics


  • Perform simple field necropsy and tissue sampling for wildlife diagnostics and surveillance
  • Write protocols and prepare for working with wildlife, including human safety, laws and regulations
  • Organize basic trapping/immobilization, incl. animal handling, anaesthesia, drug delivery and monitoring
  • Communicate efficiently both orally, in writing and by video using ICT with an international group of colleagues (fellow students) in order to solve complex problems

Pedagogical Approach
Teaching occurs through a variety of platforms, including; lectures, practical exercises, field work, group work and group assignments, group presentations and panel discussions.

Estimated Workload

Preparatory course (Approximately 2.5 ECTS)

  • Estimated 40 hours directed e-learning (individual & group assignments) and 35 hours independent work (reading, information search)

On-site course, 11 days (Approximately 3.5 ECTS)

  • 35 hours lecture
  • 25 hours group work
  • 20 hours of practical exercises
  • 20 hours of excursions
  • 10 hours of panel discussions
  • Total = 110 hours

Prerequisite Knowledge
BSc degree in veterinary medicine, biology, animal science or medicine or equivalent. The teaching is based on the knowledge of general pathology and pharmacology of a veterinary bachelor, however the on – line pre-course makes it possible for Master’s students without a veterinary background to obtain the necessary knowledge to fully profit from the on-site course. It is VERY important that Master students of Biology and Animal Science are also admitted into the course as the transdisciplinary aspect is vital for One Health.

Admission for NOVA courses is handled by the course organiser/ the NOVA member institution organising the course. Please see the links in the margin for more information.

Apply here

Published 15. January 2018 - 13:45 - Updated 6. August 2018 - 8:35