Certificate In Wildlife Management

This course provides foundation knowledge & skills to people working or wishing to work in wildlife care and management.

Course CodeVEN003
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

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  • a foundation course for those looking to work their way into employment with wildlife.  
  • undertake studies in vertebrate zoology, wildlife management, ecology, ornithology, marine studies I and environmental assessment. 
  • modules combine to provide you with a working knowledge of wildlife and their environments. 

A great course to get you started on your wildlife career. 

Student Comment: I love the course and the course material even though a bit of it seems to be a lot more in depth than I anticipated. I love it just the same as I'm learning lots. I just wish I had more time to do a lot more. Kim Stinton - Australia, Advanced Certificate in Wildlife Management.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate In Wildlife Management.
 Introduction To Ecology BEN101
 Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 6 modules.
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Ornithology BEN102
 Animal Welfare BAG224
 Forage Management BAG226
 Herpetology BEN209
 Primatology (Primate Animals) BEN210

Note that each module in the Certificate In Wildlife Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


There are seven lessons in this course as follows:

  1. Ecosystems & Populations
    Components of an ecosystem, Biomes, Detrital & grazing webs, trophic levels, energy flows etc

  2. The Development of Life
    Lifespans, Natural selection, Genetics, Understanding arguments for and against theory of evolution, etc.

  3. Animals, Parasites & Endangered Species
    Comparative anatomy, how animals fit in ecosystems, animals in the human community, parasites, etc

  4. Fungi, Tundra, Rainforests & Marshlands
    Physiology, anatomy, classification and ecology of fungi; Location, the climate, the plant and animal life related to different systems including tundra, marshes and rainforests.

  5. Mountains, Rivers & Deserts
    Formation ecology and importance of mountains (including erosion, volcanoes etc), formation & types of rivers, catchments, dams, deserts and their ecology, etc.

  6. Shallow Waters
    Shore lines, coral reefs, intermediate reefs, estuaries, sandy shores, etc.

  7. Ecological Problems
    The Greenhouse Effect, The Ozone Layer, Poisons & Waste Materials


The course is divided into ten lessons as follows:

  1. Vertebrate Taxonomy and Diversity

  2. Fishes

  3. Ectotherms: Amphibians and Reptiles

  4. Birds

  5. Overview of Mammals

  6. Marsupials

  7. Mammalian Glires and Insectivora

  8. Carnivores

  9. Hooved Mammals: Ungulata

  10. Primates and other Archonta


The course is divided into nine lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction To Wildlife Management

  2. Wildlife Ecology

  3. Wildlife Habitats

  4. Population Dynamics

  5. Carrying Capacity

  6. Wildlife Censuses

  7. Wildlife Management Techniques

  8. Wildlife Management Law And Administration

  9. Wildlife Management Case Study Research Project


The course consists of nine lessons.

  1. Classification & Introduction to Birdwatching.

  2. The Biology of Birds: Anatomy, external & internal structure, breeding, eggs etc.

  3. Common and Widespread Land Birds: Pests, introduced birds, pigeons, crows & their relatives, etc.

  4. Giant Birds & Long Legged Birds: Emu, Ostrich, Herons, Storks & Relatives etc

  5. Seabirds & Waterbirds

  6. Hunters -Birds of Prey, Owls, Kingfishers

  7. Passeriformes

  8. Other Birds Parrots, Honeyeaters, Swifts & others

  9. Attracting, Feeding & Keeping Birds

Module 5 - MARINE LIFE I

This course has 9 lessons as follows:

  1. Marine Ecology Systems

  2. Shallow Waters & Reefs

  3. Shellfish & Crustaceans

  4. Squid, Octopus, and Other Primitive Animals

  5. Fish Part A

  6. Fish Part B

  7. Marine Mammals

  8. Turtles, Sea Snakes and Seabirds

  9. Human Impact on Marine Environments & Fishing


There are 8 lessons in this course as follows:

  1. Types of Employment for Environmental Scientists.

  2. Introduction to Environmental Assessment.

  3. International Environmental Law.

  4. Domestic Environmental Law

  5. Types of Environmental Assessments

  6. The Design and Process of Environmental Assessment.

  7. Writing Environmental Reports Research Project


What is Wildlife Management?

Wildlife management is the manipulation of wild animal populations and their habitats in the context of an ecosystem. Wildlife management includes activities such as:

  • managing parks and reserves

  • altering and rehabilitating wildlife habitats

  • providing education and extension programs for special interest groups

  • maintaining threatened populations and pests at a desirable level

  • protecting human life and property and

  • managing harvests of wildlife.

The techniques and types of wildlife management vary depending on the location, the species being managed and the tools available. Wildlife managers need to undertake research into the appropriate methods and types of wildlife management before implementing management plans.


Habitat Fragmentation

Habitat fragmentation, as the name suggests it the fragmenting or disruption of continuity of a species’ habitat. This can be caused by natural processes such as geological processes which over time alter the layout of the physical environment. However, in the last 200 years, the major cause of habitat fragmentation is the change in land use by humans.

Habitat patch size and distribution can have significant impacts on the distribution, social structure and the inevitable survival of wildlife populations. With the clearing of land worldwide for cultivation and urban/residential development, wildlife habitats are being broken up into smaller and more isolated patches. This fragmentation can isolate populations from one another, stopping genetic flow and therefore weakening the genetic diversity of species. This can lead to reduced fitness of a population (inbreeding depression) and can make the population more susceptible to the effects of disease and other external factors. An example of this is evident in a small isolated population of African lions in Tanzania. Due to inbreeding depression, the males of this population produced abnormal sperm which then led to their declined reproductive success.

Reduction in habitat size also leads to the increased length of habitat edges. These are the zones between two or more plant communities. Many wildlife species make use of edges. The influence these two habitat types have on one another along this boundary is known as the 'edge effect'. This edge can be beneficial for some species when it provides access to two different habitats in a small area as there are greater resources available per unit of area. These edges can also have a negative impact on some species, particularly when there is a large edge bordering disturbed land. Forest fires, higher rates of predation and infestation by pioneer plant species are more likely to occur along the edges of habitat.

Habitat Degradation and Loss

Habitat degradation can be defined as the slow decline or attrition of habitat suitability. The process of habitat degradation can eventually lead to habitat loss. It is a key threatening process affecting many species worldwide and is believed to be the main cause of species extinction and endangerment on a global scale. Around 60% of ecosystems on earth are now considered degraded or unsustainable due to human activity. This includes both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Habitat degradation can be split into two types.

  • Reduction in the availability of food resources (eg. overfishing leading to the endangerment of the Seal Lion of the US east coast) or

  • Availability of shelter (eg. the reduction in Mountain Ash tree hollows available to Leadbeaters Possum in Victoria, Australia).

These two factors combined can result in the reduced abundance of a species within its natural habitat.

Habitat degradation is one of the major processes impacting both plant and animal species worldwide. It has the direct impact of loss of biodiversity, removing habitat for species forcing them to adjoining habitats and sometimes resulting in local population extinctions. Habitat degradation and loss can also have the flow on effects of increased erosion downstream and eutrophication of waterways, higher predation rates and increased competition in surrounding habitats, putting pressure on these habitats.

The loss of habitat is the major impact leading to the endangerment of many species worldwide. Human populations are continually transforming land with approximately half of the earth’s land area already transformed for human use. This can be divided into 11% for farming and forestry, 26% for livestock pasture and the remaining 63% for development such as housing, industry, services and transport. Forest cover has changed worldwide decreasing by around 670,000 km2 between 1980 and 1995. Although countries such as North America are experiencing forest growth, the quality of forest habitat is declining.

Two thirds of the world’s rivers have been changed and flow has been regulated. Many of the wetlands worldwide have been drained or filled. In countries such as Central and South America, the rate of wetland loss is still quite high.

Effects of Habitat Loss

Many ecologists have identified links between area size and species richness. Therefore, the loss of habitat can not only affect individual species but species richness. Trends identified between species richness and area size are:

  • Extinction rates are greater on small islands

  • Larger areas contain more individuals.

  • Speciation (evolution of new species) is more likely in larger areas

  • There are more “core” areas within large areas that are less affected by environmental disturbances and edge effects.

  • Increased diversity of habitat in larger areas will result in greater species-area relationship.

Habitat loss and degradation is a significant issue facing conservationists and will be discussed in greater detail in later lessons.

Soil Degradation

The degradation and erosion of soil is considered by leading ecologists to be the second largest global environmental problem after population growth. The conversion of land to cropping across the world has had a major impact on soil quality. This is a significant issue in areas where the soil is not suitable for cropping in the first place.

When plants (trees and shrubs) are cleared from a site, soil is exposed to sunlight and the eroding effects of wind and water. Soil aeration is increased and the rate of weathering increases. Apart from erosion, the proportion of organic matter in the soil gradually decreases, through the action of microbes in the soil which use it as a source of energy unless the new land use provides some replacement.

Types of Soil Degradation
A number of major soil related problems can occur these include:
1. Loss of soil fertility (over cropping)
2. Erosion
3. Salinity
4. Soil compaction
5. Soil acidification
6. Build up of dangerous chemicals

ACS Student comments: 

Student Comments

"I am currently studying the Wildlife Management certificate course and am thoroughly enjoying myself!  I have studied online before but have found that ACS provides a much greater level of support than other institutions.  I have also found the courses to be much more in-depth than I thought they would be, and feel that I'm really getting value for money.  I've found the modules I've already completed in environmental assessment, ecology, ornithology and marine studies to be very relevant to my "work" as a wildlife rehabilitator and the knowledge I've gained has given me a greater understanding of the pressures that our native wildlife faces.  I'm also sure that this course of study has been an influencing factor in getting my dream job - working with endangered big cat species in South Africa." Francis Bell, Australia - Certificate in Wildlife Management course.

I work in pest control and do this on the side and I use, at the moment, the ecology section of what I have learnt all the time to assess sites.
 Amanda Frankee, Environmental Officer, Aust - Certificate in Wildlife Management


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Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability. Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop
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