It is developing academic and research programmes in the areas of Wildlife Studies and Conservation Medicine.

The Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) aims to develop wildlife studies further and introduce the concept of Conservation Medicine in the State.

The university has established the Centre for Wildlife Studies on its Pookode campus to cater for academic and research requirements in those areas. The centre and the MS (Wildlife Studies) programme offered by the university have been making rapid progress since their inception in 2011.

The strategic location of the university in the biodiversity-rich zone of the Western Ghats, its expertise in veterinary and animal sciences and close association with likeminded national and international experts in animal and ecosystem health makes it most suitable to take a leading role in conservation-related education and research in the region.

The recently launched KVASU Molecular Wildlife Forensic and Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Pookode, will help the university advance in this field further.

B. Ashok, Vice-Chancellor, KVASU, told The Hindu that the university was committed to developing academic and research programmes in the areas of Wildlife Studies and Conservation Medicine. The MS (Wildlife Studies) course offered by the university in collaboration with the Kerala Forest Research Institute is a novel programme that envisages developing wildlife biologists capable of addressing wildlife-related issues with a global perspective, Dr. Ashok says.

A memorandum of understanding for collaboration signed between KVASU and the University of Edinburgh, U.K., has been a major step in the development of the programme, he adds.

The Conservation Medicine module on the programme, offered by Anna Meredith, Professor of Zoological and Conservation Medicine of the University of Edinburgh, helps students gain a broad view of advances in Wildlife Science and Conservation Medicine.

Dr. Ashok says the university has plans to support wildlife education and Conservation Medicine further and to develop a regional research centre of international standards in this field involving the University of Edinburgh.

“I am sure that the Molecular Wildlife Forensic and Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of our Centre for Wildlife Studies will go a long way in advance molecular-level research in this sector and help enhance student skills in molecular techniques,” Dr. Ashok says.

The advanced molecular-level research provides hands-on training to students and cater to the molecular requirement of the Forest Department in connection with wildlife crime, Dr. George Chandy, Assistant Professor at the centre, says.

The university is planning to set up an open-air enclosure in nearly five acres on the centre’s campus for rehabilitating wild animals.

Rescue, rehabilitation and inpatient facilities for the treatment of injured and sick wild animals are on the anvil, Dr. Chandy adds.