Wildlife Medicine & Conservation

The Wildlife Medicine & Conservation course is an intensive introduction to key topics in wildlife medicine and conservation issues in the neo-tropics. Students learn about wildlife medical issues and approaches, the role of the veterinarian in wildlife conservation, zoo medicine, and wildlife rescue & rehabilitation.

Note that we do charge a small registration fee of $50.00

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Course Dates

Contact us for more information regarding our course dates.

  1. Wildlife Medicine & Conservation (WMC) Summer course I : July 10th- 21st, 2024

  2. Wildlife Medicine & Conservation (WMC) Summer course II: 2024 Dates TBA 

  3. Wildlife Medicine & Conservation (WMC) Summer Session III: 2024 Dates TBA 

  4. NEW: Wildlife Medicine & Conservation (WMC) Winter course: 2024 Dates TBA

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Course Summary

Taught by Dr. Isabelle, the award-winning and world-renowned Wildlife Veterinarian and Director of the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic. This course has been taught for over a decade to hundreds of aspiring veterinarians and animal science professionals. The Wildlife Medicine & Conservation course is an intensive introduction to key topics in wildlife medicine and conservation issues in the neo-tropics. Students learn about wildlife medical issues and approaches, the role of the veterinarian in wildlife conservation, zoo medicine, and wildlife rescue & rehabilitation. Students are introduced to preventative medicine and common diseases for various wildlife species. Students visit a number of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and conservation projects and centers around Belize and the region. The majority of this course is held at the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic’s (BWRC) teaching facility with BWRC’s veterinary team and staff. Labs include distance immobilization, suture, necropsy, comparative anatomy, radiography, parasitology, and blood analysis. Students also have the opportunity to observe, and when possible, assist the BWRC and other facility veterinary staff with daily treatments and husbandry.

Students are likewise introduced to critical conservation issues in the region, focusing on strategies to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Guest speakers enrich the course content with perspectives drawn from the front lines of wildlife conservation. In between visiting field sites and classroom sessions, students enjoy recreational activities and are introduced to Belize’s rich and diverse culture(s) through excursions, guest speakers and culinary exploration. 

Click the links below to view a SAMPLE for 8 day and 12 day schedules.

8-Day Schedule
12-day Schedule

Learning Objectives:

This program improves student’s knowledge and abilities in the following areas

  • Understanding the role and key challenges and opportunities for veterinarians in wildlife medicine and conservation.

  • Necropsy.

  • Critical conservation issues in the tropics, and specific examples of their challenges with focus on human wildlife conflict and illegal pet trade.

  • Wildlife immobilization, handling, restraint and examination.

  • Wildlife medical approaches.

  • Stressors and risk evaluation.

  • Husbandry and nutrition of Neotropical species.

  • Basics of avian fracture repair.

  • Tropical parasitology & neotropical zoonotic diseases.

  • The role of community based conservation organizations, NGOs and governmental entities in conservation.

  • Clinical procedures for mammal, birds and reptiles.

  • Distance immobilization & restraint for mammals, birds and reptiles.

  • Emergency medicine and triage protocol.

  • Emerging and common Zoonotic diseases.

  • Zoo and preventative medicine.

  • Wildlife Transport.

  • Comparative wildlife anatomy, osteology, and radiography.

  • Ecology of large cats, monkeys, iguanas, snakes, and birds of Belize.

  • Basic suturing.

  • International and local regulatory and practical applications associated with wildlife conservation.

  • International Veterinary Medicine perspectives.

Note on wildlife rescue or emergency field visits: The need for wildlife rescue or emergency visits is unpredictable. Past students and interns have been involved in a number of wildlife rescue, relocation, and emergency response situations. When such occasions arise, BWRC will make every effort for the student to observe or in some cases participate in these efforts.


BWRC arranges housing at local hotels and guest houses for interns and students. Standard accommodations include multiple occupancy, shared bath and kitchenette. Upgrades and private accommodations are available upon request. Students and interns have free access to BWRC kayaks for wildlife spotting and recreation.

Program Fees

  1. International Veterinary Experience  $4,950 (24 days)

  2. Wildlife Medicine & Conservation $3,000 (12 days); $2,100 (8 days)

  3. Small Animal Veterinary Experience $3,000 (12days)

  4. Wild-Spring-Break $2,100 (8 days)

  5. Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Continuing Education Course $2,100 (8 days)

  6. Custom or private group pricing varies. – Contact us

What’s Included

See what all is included in this course. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.

  • Tuition

  • Lab Fees

  • Hotel Accommodations, Free Wifi, All Breakfast

  • Excursions, Field Trips, Entrance Fees

  • Daily Transportation

  • Airport Transfer

  • Payments & Donations to BWRC

  • Program T-shirt

Application Deadlines

Applications for courses, internships and continuing education are accepted on a rolling basis. Space is limited, so if you’re interested, contact us now to confirm availability.

We recommend that you contact your study abroad advisor or department head about financial aid deadlines and receiving credit for BWRC programs. If your home institution doesn’t have an agreement with us, we can provide them with the necessary information.

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Please click the button below to make a payment then enter the amount due. If you wish to make a payment using your credit card, but without having or creating a PayPal Account, use the bottom right option once you reach the PayPal window. Note for credit card payments, you must add 2.5% to your total.

Credit card payment

Mail Check or Money Order
Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic c/o Isabelle Paquet-Durand
P.O. Box 226
San Ignacio, Cayo
Belize, Central America

For security reasons, please email us for wire-transfer instructions.

  • Deposits are non-refundable.
  • Program payments (apart from deposits) are refundable until 120 days prior to course commencement.
  • After 120 days prior to program commencement, only 50% of the program fee (apart from registration fees) may be refunded.
  • After 60 days prior to program commencement, no refund is available on any part of the payment.
  • Refunds will be processed within 30 days of cancellation.
  • Refunds will be returned minus processing and transfer fees.


Based on frequently asked questions, we’ve created this section for you to read as it’s very important information for you to know before.


Transfers from the International Airport to your accommodations are arranged with local companies. Courses include daily transportation, and interns are generally housed within walking distance of their internship station. Under some circumstances, interns may be asked to use public transportation.


Belize is a beautiful eco-tourism destination bounding with outdoor recreational opportunities, Maya Archeological Parks, Caves, Rivers, Waterfalls and of course the largest reef in the Caribbean! We encourage our guests to visit local attractions during their stay with us and we can help plan your excursions.


Students enrolled in courses have breakfasts, most lunches and some dinners included. No kitchen is needed. Laundry service is available. Interns have access to a kitchen with cooking utensils, stove, and basic appliances (as available). Interns must supply their own food. Laundry services are available in San Ignacio/Santa Elena.


Interns and students are routinely filmed and photographed during BWRC wildlife rescue events. If you are not willing to be on film or in photographs, please inform the photographer on site.

Financial Planning

Study abroad has become a requisite part of University student life. Vet schools and residency programs seek applicants with clinical experience and students seek international experience to help them gain a competitive edge. Veterinary scholarships are scarce. At the BWRC, our study abroad programs are life-changing opportunities for students to cultivate their global perspective while participating in world-class veterinary study abroad programs. We at the BWRC do our best to design cost-competitive, one-fee programs that cover your tuition and most of your expenses during your trip. We encourage our students to be proactive in raising the necessary funds for their trip; seeking scholarships & grants, actively fund-raising and even taking out more student loans if necessary. We encourage students to plan 6-12 months ahead allowing ample time to secure funding and plan personal schedules around their study abroad trip.

Financial Planning Tips
  • Ask yourself if you can afford this at this time. Give yourself plenty of time to financially prepare.
  • Decide how much you and your family can contribute to your study abroad experience. Be sure to include a budget for your program tuition, flight, additional meals, supplemental insurance and some spending money.
  • Ask yourself if you work more or save more, how much could you contribute to your study abroad trip.
  • Set a personal fund raising goal and research methods that others have used to raise money for their study abroad. Ideas include work-sponsored events, an event you organize such as a yard sale, dinner or silent auction and judicious use of crowd-funding.
  • Ask your University Financial Aid adviser for tips on securing scholarships, grants and whether loans may be applied to your study abroad and related expenses.
  • Start 6-12 months ahead researching study abroad scholarships.
  • Apply for financial aid. You may use the FAFSA to apply for student financial aid to fund your study abroad.

I was able to learn about veterinary medicine in domestic and wildlife animals while experiencing a different culture than my own. The BWRC opened my eyes to the human, animal and environmental interface, known as One Health, in a developing country.

Crystal Popish
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

I wanted to say how awesome is Belize Wildlife & Referral clinic and its partner non-profit organization Wildlife institute, based on my experience for 30 days of working as a volunteer veterinarian with them.

Dr. Paramesh Kurapati DVM,MS
Associate Veterinarian, Banfield Pet Hospital

BWRC attracts me not only because of the variety of the patients we treated everyday, which ranged from reptiles to mammals and even birds, but more importantly, the persistence and passion of Dr. Isabelle has for her work make me love this place even more.

Katherine Zhou

We also offer courses for private and custom groups. Contact us now.

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