TEACHING WILDLIFE BIOLOGY IN BHUTAN: DEVELOPMENT OF WILDLIFE BIOLOGY CURRICULUM AND TEACHING MODULES
Bhutan has always been proactive while dealing with conservation issues and has sound policies and guidelines in place because of our visionary and farsighted leaders. However, with the recent political development and government focus shifting more towards economic development, conservation in Bhutan will be confronted with new challenges and issues. The stakes are very high as Bhutan, with an area of only 38,394 square kilometers (NSB 2007), has amazingly very rich biodiversity and is the most important part of the Eastern Himalaya- a region recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot.
In light of such increasing challenges, the need for strong scientific evidence to justify the conservation and management of our rich biodiversity is of paramount importance. However, the major impediment to acquire such kind of scientific evidence has been due to lack of scientific rigor and objectivity in the field. The shortage of trained manpower has been the major setback for the Department of Forest, which is the primary organization mandated for managing and conserving the natural resources in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture and the department of forests in particular, has launched the establishment of Bhutans first premier Institute of Environmental and Forestry studies (Ugyen Wangchuck Environmental and Forestry Institute).
Wildlife biology along with other courses will be taught as compulsory subjects for both Rangers and Guards in this new institute. The graduates from this institute will work either in Park services or in the forestry services at different levels. This institute will also provide special training refresher course for those already working in the field to upgrade their knowledge and skills. For my professional paper, in fulfillment of my M.Sc. Degree, I am working towards developing curriculum and detailed teaching modules for wildlife biology and allied courses for the new institute in Bhutan. I have developed wildlife biology modules in two parts; the first part consist of 13 chapters covering basic ecological concepts and principles, the second part consists of 7 chapters for wildlife management and conservation covering basic techniques of wildlife survey and monitoring in the field. However, for this professional paper I have included only the first eight chapters of the first parts. Each module (chapter) is written in the form of lecture notes and student will be provided with lecture handouts for each module for the class. I have included one field lab exercise and will be developing additional detailed field and lab exercise for the subsequent chapters.
Advisor:Stephen F. Siebert; L. Scott Mills; Kerry R. Foresman; Daniel H. Pletscher
School:The University of Montana
School Location:USA - Montana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/15/2009