Animal Conservation Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Animal Conservation?

Conservation is the planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

Animal conservation is the careful preservation and protection of animals, plants, and their habitats to ensure that future generations can enjoy the natural world and the incredible species that live in it. To help protect wildlife, it’s important to understand how species interact within their ecosystems, and how they’re affected by environmental and human influences.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Animal Conservation courses in the following subject areas:

  • Certificate in Animal Conservation – This course provides a focus on the approach to conservation of wildlife and how to deal with threatened wildlife and the recovery of threatened species.
  • Advanced Certificate in Animal Conservation – Develop your skills and knowledge of the welfare of wildlife, an introduction to wildlife conservation, wildlife ecology, planning for wildlife, habitat conservation, flora and fauna, and marine conservation.
  • Master of Science in Conservation Behaviour – The study of how animal behavior can be applied to wildlife conservation.
  • Master of Science in Applied Marine Conservation – The study of core and specialist competencies in key themes of fisheries, marine conservation; sustainability, and ecosystem-based management.
  • Irish Wildlife Conservation – This course will provide an introduction to some of Ireland’s biodiversity such as land mammals, songbirds, plants, and will explore sustainable agricultural practices and wildlife conservation and management.

Studying Animal Conservation in college

Many Animal Conservation courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or volunteer work to gain experience. Volunteer with local conservation schemes to help with anything from planting native species to manually removing invasive plant species and taking out old fences. Any experience in conservation, management, education, or planning will be invaluable.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Animal Conservation you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of conservation and wildlife management. Working hours will depend on where you are employed but, typically, you will have unsocial hours in this field, from early starts to evening meetings and weekend or holiday work.

The balance between fieldwork and office-based work varies considerably, with more administration, statistical analysis, and report writing associated with senior positions. You will usually be responsible for your admin so you’ll need to be organized and have good IT skills. The work requires considerable contact with the public and, increasingly, with the media, and as environmental work is often developed from international policy or good practice, travel abroad to conferences and meetings may be common in some posts.

Related jobs include:

  • Conservation assistant or technician
  • Project officer
  • Biodiversity officer
  • Sustainable development officer
  • Academic researcher
  • Animal nutritionist
  • Animal physiotherapist
  • Animal technician
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Zookeeper
  • Zoologist
  • Charity officer
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Field trials officer
  • Research scientist
  • Science writer
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Volunteer coordinator

Further study

After completing a course in Animal Conservation you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Veterinary Science or Research.


Why is Animal Conservation important?

Animal Conservation is very important as it is the act of protecting ecosystems and environments and protecting the animals that live in those ecosystems. The importance of animal conservation cannot be stressed highly enough with the current rate of extinction of species at an estimated 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural extinction rates due to human overhunting, deforestation, and pollution.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Animal Conservation?

You may need to give talks and presentations to the public so the ability to effectively communicate and the confidence to speak in public will be important. You should know about conservation and some knowledge of geographical information systems so that you can produce literature such as leaflets. You should be confident in leading tours and being a guide in some instances.

What can I do to help Animal Conservation?

·         Leave only footprints. Never leave any litter or rubbish behind and pick up any litter you do see. Every little bit helps.

·         Limit your plastic usage. 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year affecting our sea mammals, birds, and water quality.

·         Move towards a plant-based diet. A lot of habitat destruction is from cutting down forests for agriculture. This is not only for cattle but also for the grains and soy to feed the animals that humans eat.

·         Stay informed. Keep reading about conservation and the newest research to educate yourself and know how to best contribute.

·         Volunteer with a conservation program. Make a difference in conservation by donating your time to help on one of their projects.

·         Donate. Help support programs doing vital conservation work.

Where can I study Animal Conservation?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • A species is defined as endangered or threatened when it is suffering from these factors: damage to its habitat for recreational, or entertainment purposes; disease or predation of the species; and hazards to the continued life of the species.
  • Rangers are on the frontlines of conservation to protect some of the world’s most endangered species like tigers, elephants, and rhinos.
  • The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) protects registered endangered species by removing them from the “take” list, which makes it unlawful for a person to shoot, harm, capture, trap, or attempt any such actions to the species
  • Archey’s Frog, a species of frog in New Zealand that is considered a living fossil as there have been few evolutionary changes to the species in 200 million years is on the endangered species list due to diseases introduced to the island by man.
  • Freshwater ecosystems are home to more than 100,000 known species of plants and animals and are now one of the most endangered habitats in the world as a result of human development, pollution, and climate change
  • The bright blue member of the tarantula family, the Peacock Tarantula, is on the extremely endangered list. Its natural forest habitat in India has all but been logged or cleared out of existence.

Mariza Halliday

History and Geography
Animal Welfare Courses


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