Sharma KK , Akbarsha MA , Sharma V , Sharma N, Sharma N. Live zoology and digital technologies as effective alternatives for animal use in zoology curriculum: A success story from MDS University Ajmer, India. Paper presented at: The Three Rs - Together it's possible. 8th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; 2011 Aug 21-25; Montreal, Canada


A large number of animals are killed every year for laboratory exercises all over the world. This has caused great biodiversity loss and some animal species have even become endangered due to such practices. While analyzing the curriculum of zoology of most universities of the world, it has been observed that animal dissection has been overemphasized in schools, colleges and universities in the name of understanding external and internal organization of the body. Very little emphasis has been put on studying animals in nature. With the advancement of digital technologies and excellent documentaries on animal life, we took on a mission to replace dead zoology with live zoology at undergraduate as well as post-graduate levels at MDS University, Ajmer (Rajasthan), India and framed a new curriculum having exercises such as studying species in nature, their current status, threats, behavioral ecology, identification and monitoring based on sound spectrum software (sonotaxonomy), understanding internal organization, molecular biology and physiology using software. The feedback response from students and teachers is very good. The highest regulatory bodies in school education (CBSE/NCERT) and higher education (UGC) have appreciated the idea and soon the recommendations are to be implemented in the remaining educational institutions in India. The result of implementation of this progressive curriculum based on live zoology is such that some new records, species and behavioral patterns have been identified by the young students. The change can potentially motivate a large number of students to opt for zoology programs. We are endeavoring to orient teachers and resource persons in the country and outside the country with the modern curriculum and related techniques.

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Link to journal: ALTEX - Alternatives to Animal Experimentation