In 1948, the University College of the Gold Coast, an affiliate of the University of London in the United Kingdom established the then Department of Zoology in Achimota as one of its premier science departments. The department assumed a new name, Animal Biology & Conservation Science in 2009 to reflect an effort to provide a mix of basic and applied/industrial aspects of zoology with the view to meeting the challenges of a changing planet, as well as to debunk the erroneous perception of the discipline of zoology or animal biology as only focusing on the study of animal behaviour in the wild, or the caring of animals in a zoo or research station. Animal biology as a discipline, encompasses a vast array of both pure and applied disciplines in the medical, agricultural and veterinary fields.
The department is primarily concerned with training students in all aspects of theoretical and applied animal biology, culminating in a BSc (Zoology) degree which equips the student with the necessary knowledge and skills for careers in academia, research institutions, health sector, agricultural sciences, environmental/biodiversity conservation, and the veterinary sciences. Students also have the opportunity to pursues MPhil and PhD programmes in Entomology (Insect Science), Parasitology, and Biodiversity Studies. The Department also hosts the ARPPIS Programme, and collaborates extensively with other departments/units of the university, notably the Centre for African Wetlands (CAW), Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR), Animal and Crop Science Departments of the School of Agriculture, Environmental Science Programme (ESP), and other biological science-based departments of the university. Externally, the department has links with the Water Research Institute (WRI) of the CSIR, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS), and the Wildlife Division (Forestry Commission).
Apart from its core mandate of teaching and research, the department has over the years, provided the following services to other departments of the university, the university community, and the general public:
- identification and classification services for animal specimens (including skeletal remains) for other departments of the university and the general public
- provision of checklists and information on the fauna of Ghana on request
- development of Management Plans and Strategies for Protected Areas in Ghana (Wetlands, National Parks, Forest Reserves, etc.) in collaboration with Wildlife Division and various environmental NGOs (e.g. Ghana Wildlife Society, FOE, Conservation International, etc.)
- undertaking of collaborative research, faunal surveys/inventories and long-term monitoring of terrestrial vertebrate fauna of selected areas in Ghana as part of consultancy services for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) of areas earmarked for environmental projects
- provision of Resource Personnel for workshops, conferences, and seminars on biodiversity/environmental issues