Saving Endangered Species - DI521

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 6 15 (7.5) PROF J Groombridge checkmark-circle


This module examines today's cutting-edge techniques that are available to wildlife biologists attempting to save some of the world's most critically endangered species from extinction. The module exposes students directly to world experts in this field through a two-day residential field trip to the Durrell Conservation Academy on Jersey where formal presentations and group activities together with behind-the-scenes tours of state-of-the-art captive-breeding facilities provide a first-hand experience of species conservation on a global scale. The module then examines a number of cross-cutting themes relevant to recovering endangered species, including the management of invasive species, leadership of species recovery programmes, island endemic species, species of extreme rarity, reintroduction biology and managing infectious disease in conservation programmes. Throughout the module iconic case histories are examined and used as a way to consider the reasons why some programmes are successful whilst others fail. The consideration of topics and case studies leads to a reappraisal of particular approaches to species conservation such as institutional priority-setting, field infrastructures and leadership styles which tomorrow’s wildlife biologists will need in order to restore endangered species in the future.


This module appears in the following module collections.


Biodiversity Conservation and Management; Wildlife Conservation
Not available as wild.

Method of assessment

100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Ewen, J. (2012) Reintroduction Biology: Integrating Science and Management Wiley-Blackwell.
Sutherland B., I. Newton and R Green. (2004), Bird Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques (core). Oxford University Press.
Whittaker, R. (1998). Island Biogeography: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation (core). Oxford University Press
Norris K. and D. Pain. (2002). Conserving Bird Biodiversity: General Principles and their Application (core). Cambridge University Press.
Pullin, A (2002). Conservation Biology (core). Cambridge University Press.
Caughley, G and A. Gunn. (1996) Conservation Biology in Theory and Practice (Core). Blackwell Science.
Powell, A (2008). The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird: The Discovery and Death of The Poâ°ouli, Stackpole Books.
Turvey, S (2009). Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save The Yangtze River Dolphin. Oxford University
Juniper, T (2002). Spix's Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird, Fouth Estate.
MacDonald, P (2010). Facing Extinction: The World's Rarest Birds and the Race to Save Them, T & AD Poyser.
Nicholls, H (2006). Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon, Macmillan.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

- Have a detailed appreciation of the concept of species concept within wider context of conservation.
- Understand the concept of – and how to quantify - extinction risk, and how to quantify this.
- Critically evaluate the merits of different population recovery techniques and including approaches to captive-breeding programmes.
- Recognise the importance of health and disease monitoring of wildlife in the context of, and the interactions of these to endangered species management.
- Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of case studies of international species recovery programmers, and an understanding of reasons that may underpin their success or failure – why some have worked and other have failed.
- Prioritising conservation management interventions at the species level within a wider context of the main causes of population decline: methods and problems.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.