Course code:



M - Intermediate

Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Once every three years

“Save the whales”; “save the tiger”; “save the rainforest”. Increasingly, wildlife and their habitats are the subject of international debate - with many seeing wildlife as part of the common heritage of humankind.

Wildlife does not recognize the political boundaries of national states, and as a result purely national efforts to protect wildlife often fail when wildlife migrates beyond the jurisdiction of protection.

This course focuses on two principle aspects of international wildlife conservation: 1) the framework of treaties and other international mechanisms set up to protect species; and 2) the system of protected areas established around the world to protect habitat.

We begin with an examination of several seminal wildlife treaties such as the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, CITES, migratory bird treaties, and protocols to the Antarctica Treaty. Using case studies on some of the more notable wildlife campaigns, such as those involving whales and elephants, we seek to understand the tensions between national sovereignty and international conservation efforts. The Convention on Biological Diversity and its broad prescriptions for wildlife protection provide a central focus for our examination of future efforts. Following on one of the key provisions in the Convention on Biological Diversity, the second half of the course focuses on international and national efforts to create parks and other protected areas. In particular we evaluate efforts to create protected areas that serve the interests of wildlife and resident peoples.

Students gain familiarity with UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve model and the IUCN’s protected area classifications. We also examine in some depth the role that NGO’s play in international conservation efforts. The relationship between conservation and sustainable development is a fundamental question throughout the course.


None. Recommended courses: Use and Abuse of Public Lands, Global Politics and Sustainability, Global Environmental Politics

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.