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									Wildlife Conservation for the Developing World

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new Postgraduate Diploma in

International Wildlife Conservation Practice. The programme, with a special focus on

wild felids, is now being piloted and will launch officially at the start of 2009. This

Diploma will equip conservation practitioners with the necessary scientific and

professional skills to make a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation in

developing   countries   and   strengthen   those   countries’   capacity   for   wildlife


A generous donation from the Panthera Foundation via its Chairman, Dr Thomas

Kaplan (Oxford alumnus), to Professor David Macdonald, Director of the Wildlife

Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), has enabled the University to offer a number

of fully-funded scholarships for conservation practitioners from developing countries

to undertake the Diploma, accessing rigorous practical and professional education

that is not available in their home countries. The pilot group includes dedicated

biologists spanning expertise on tigers in China to leopards in Iran, lions in Tanzania

and lynx in the Balkans – each wrestling with huge conservation challenges.

David Macdonald said, "This new diploma will not only make a great contribution to

building conservation capacity in parts of the world where action is urgently needed

on the ground - it will be a milestone in opening access to Oxford." He added "Our

focus on big cats will take the students to the heart of the most challenging

conservation issues, and the new course will lead to the creation of a worldwide force

of expert problem-solvers who can take their training home and pass it on to

WildCRU, based at Tubney House and part of the Oxford University Department of

Zoology, has come together with the Department for Continuing Education, via its

Continuing Professional Development Centre, to create the joint Postgraduate

Diploma, which will enable conservationists to monitor biodiversity, implement

conservation actions, and engage with stakeholders ranging from local communities

to national governments and international donor organizations. The focus on wild

felids is particularly revealing as these animals (from charismatic big cats to rarely

seen small ones) are emblematic and umbrella species for whole ecosystems. This

programme is aligned with Continuing Education’s growing number of global-

education initiatives for the developing world, particularly in the environmental,

health and medical sciences.

The    goal   here   will   be   to   produce   highly-knowledgeable   and   highly-skilled

practitioners, especially in the conservation of mammals and their habitats, using

members of the wild cat family (Felidae) in particular as a representative taxonomic

group able to indicate the health of ecosystems, including the large number of other

species present within those ecosystems. The range, complexity and inter-

relatedness of global conservation issues – especially illustrated by large predators –

present immense challenges; this initiative will undoubtedly make a practical

difference where it counts.


Notes to Editors:
   For    further    information      contact     Lucy     Tallents,        email:

   The International Wildlife Conservation Practice Programme is a joint
    programme of study offered by the Department for Continuing Education
    (, via its Continuing Professional Development
    Centre,   and   the   Wildlife  Conservation   Research    Unit,  WildCRU
    (, which is part of the Department of Zoology

   WildCRU aims to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through
    the translation of world-class original scientific research into practice, and a
    commitment to train conservation scientists to conduct such research.

   The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Centre offers world-class
    flexible professionally-orientated postgraduate education and professional
    development. The CPD Centre offers a variety of workshops, seminars, short
    courses, certificates, diplomas and master’s degrees as well as online courses
    across a wide range of disciplines (

   The Panthera Foundation saves in-situ populations of wild cats and the
    landscapes they inhabit in all regions of the world by collaborating with,
    supporting and fostering the world’s leading wild-felid conservationists in
    conducting rigorous scientific research, planning and implementing
    conservation actions, and working with local, national and international
    stakeholders to advance wild cat conservation (

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