Wildlife Medicine & Conservation


Summer Session I: June 13th – June 24th 
Summer Session II: July 25th – August 5th 
Summer Session III: August 8th-19th 
Winter Session: Dec. 27th – January 7th 


Take as a Companion Course to Small Animal Veterinary Experience (SAVE)
The companion course to Small Animal Veterinary Experience (SAVE), Wildlife Medicine & Conservation (WMC) is the Wildlife Institute’s signature course. Taught by Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC) founder Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand PhD, Wildlife Medicine & Conservation is a unique opportunity for pre-veterinary and veterinary students to gain practical experience on the front lines of wildlife medicine & conservation in Belize. This course is also valuable veterinarians and other professionals seeking to broaden and strengthen their knowledge of wildlife medicine and conservation. Students join the veterinary team at BWRC for lectures, labs and daily care of BWRC patients. Students also travel to partner wildlife projects around the region. Read More

Private and custom groups available. Contact educational program manager Justin Ford at jford@wildlife-institute.com for more details.

Read a University of Illinois vet school student’s account of Wildlife Medicine & Conservation.

Course Description

The Wildlife Medicine & Conservation course is an intensive introduction to key topics in wildlife medicine and conservation issues in the neo-tropics. Students learn about wildlife medical issues and approaches, the role of the veterinarian in wildlife conservation, zoo medicine, and wildlife rescue & rehabilitation. Students are introduced to preventative medicine and common diseases for various wildlife species. Students visit a number of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and conservation projects and centers around Belize and the region. Much of this course is held at the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic’s (BWRC) teaching facility with BWRC’s founder and wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand. Labs include distance immobilization, suture, necropsy, comparative anatomy, radiography, parasitology, and blood analysis. Students also have the opportunity to observe, and when possible, assist the BWRC and other facility veterinary staff with daily treatments and husbandry.

Students are likewise introduced to critical conservation issues in the region, focusing on strategies to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Guest speakers enrich the course content with perspectives drawn from the front lines of wildlife conservation. In between visiting field sites and classroom sessions, students enjoy recreational activities and are introduced to Belize’s rich and diverse culture(s) through excursions, guest speakers and culinary exploration.

Learning Objectives
This program improves student’s knowledge and abilities in the following areas

  • Understanding the role and key challenges and opportunities for veterinarians in wildlife medicine and conservation
  • Critical conservation issues in the tropics, and specific examples of their challenges with focus on human wildlife conflict and illegal pet trade
  • Wildlife examination
  • Wildlife medical issues and approaches
  • Stressors and risk evaluation
  • Basic clinical procedures in different species
  • Distance immobilization & restraint
  • Emergency medicine and triage protocol
  • Emerging and common Zoonotic diseases
  • Zoo and preventative medicine
  • Wildlife Transport
  • Comparative wildlife anatomy, osteology, and radiography
  • Ecology of large cats, monkeys, iguanas, snakes, and birds of Belize
  • Husbandry and nutrition of Neotropical species
  • Necropsy
  • Basic suturing
  • Basics of avian fracture repair
  • Tropical parasitology & Zoonotic diseases
  • International and local regulatory and practical applications associated with wildlife conservation
  • International veterinary medicine
  • The role of community based conservation organizations, NGOs and governmental entities in conservation

Visit to Guatemala may be included in some itineraries

*Note on wildlife rescue or emergency field visits: The need for wildlife rescue or emergency visits is unpredictable. Past students and interns have been involved in a number of wildlife rescue, relocation, and emergency response situations. When such occasions arise, BWRC will make every effort for the student to observe or in some cases participate in these efforts.

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