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Making a Difference with a Master’s in Conservation Biology

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Updated September 16, 2021 Updated September 16, 2021

Sponsored by The University of Queensland

If you’re eager to make your mark on the world, a master’s in conservation biology can get you there. You’ll have the knowledge and skillset to help fragile ecosystems, study species that are close to extinction, help preserve and grow their population, as well as so much more.

You can work in an office setting or out in the field, while your expertise will be highly sought after across public, private, and non-profit sectors, and from education to research to managerial roles.

You can really make a lasting impact on the world around you, so where better to study conservation biology than the world’s number one university for biodiversity conservation research – The University of Queensland?

Make an impact on the world

Are you intrigued by the idea of working to protect and preserve wildlife habitat? Have you ever dreamed of playing a part in bringing a species back from the brink of extinction? If so, studying a master’s in conservation biology is something you should consider.

Former The University of Queensland student, Nora Allan studied the Master of Conversation Biology and manages a captive breeding colony of Amargosa voles, an endangered species native to California. “What I enjoy most is getting a mix of hands-on animal work, management experience, and biological research. I get to see the different parts that contribute to an overall conservation effort, and how my actions contribute to its success,” said Nora.

Protect marine species from plastic pollution

Helping to preserve fragile ecosystems can also help protect animals. Millions of pieces of plastic enter our oceans every year which get picked up by the current and create a vortex of garbage patches – the biggest being the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’.

Because of the unsafe environment that the plastic creates, over 100,000 marine animals die every year from being entangled. In fact it’s estimated that 12-14,000 tons of plastic are ingested by North Pacific fish every year, which is why Boyan Slat established the Ocean Cleanup project in hopes of extracting plastic pollution from the oceans.

Slat created a machine named the System 001/B and successfully deployed it in 2019. The machine was able to capture microplastics as small as 1mm in size. After the successful launch, Slat said: “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage, which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights”.

While it’s not noted how much plastic Slat’s invention has collected, the mission of his project is to clean up 90 percent of the ocean’s plastic pollution. His invention is certainly a step in the right direction to help the chances of survival for many marine species.

Save endangered species

The American alligator is one of the first endangered species success stories.

On the brink of extinction and placed on the endangered species list in 1967 due to hunting and habitat loss, thanks to the combined effort of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies in the Southern US, the American alligator was declared recovered in 1987 and subsequently removed from the list of endangered species.

One of the biggest factors in this was making it illegal for people to hunt the alligators along with the enforcement of this law, thanks to conservation officials.

Or help conserve the giant panda population

Black and white panda bear in a tree

Giant pandas inhabit the native bamboo forests of China. However, due to poaching their numbers were on the decline.

In 2003, it was reported that there were only 1,600 giant pandas left. Thanks to conservation efforts in collaboration with the Chinese government and local communities, they were able see a significant decrease in poaching and an increase in the number of protected areas where this species lives. The number of giant pandas has increased by 17 percent to 1,850 in September 2016 and they have been removed from the endangered species list.

China is now home to 67 panda reserves in order to protect this species and prevent its extinction.

CRICOS Code 00025B

Lead image credit: The University of Queensland

This article was originally published in June 2020 . It was last updated in September 2021

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