Have you ever considered becoming a wildlife biologist? If you’re passionate about wildlife and the outdoors, and you want to do important work that helps protect the environment, then this could be a great career option for you.
It’s important to know that there are actually many types of wildlife biologists. Some work in the field, as with research biologists or aquatic biologists, while others spend most of their time working behind a desk in an office.
And make no mistake, this very important work, especially as we move further into the 21st Century. Habitat loss for wild animals is becoming an increasingly common problem around the world, as more and more land is developed, especially in previously undeveloped areas like the rain forests of Central and South America.
In many cases, preserving the habitat preserves the species, and many endangered plants and animals are at risk. So this work is critical for the total environment, and is therefore a major part of the work for the wildlife biologist.
About the job
In the US, many wildlife biologists are employed by the states in which they live. This type of state employment typically involves environmental protection studies, basic research, or habitat management. It can also include field activities such as tagging, banding and observing bird or fish populations in the wild, and making assessments as to the health of these populations in their native habitats.
A biologist working in the wildlife field might also perform other tasks, including working in the laboratory, repairing or developing animal habitats, collecting certain species, and meeting with and educating visitors about their work.
In addition, most states employ aquatic biologists for work in their fish hatchery programs. These biologists will be involved in a variety of research projects, fishery management, and collecting data both in the lab and in the field. They may also work to survey populations and capture and tag species for analysis later in the laboratory.
A wildlife biologist may spend days or even weeks camped out in the field, tracking bears, wolves, and other wild animals as they move within their habitat. Radio-signaling collars are sometimes used for tracking the animals, allowing the biologist to keep their distance while still being able to monitor the animal’s movements.
Some of the data collected during these studies include finding out how many of the animals are reproducing, how many offspring they’re producing, and the health of these young animals. This information is used to estimate future populations, and what kind of impact that will have on the ecosystem at large.
Training and certification
In order to qualify for the position of a wildlife biologist with most state and federal agencies, the applicant will typically need at least a bachelor of science (BA) degree in botany, zoology, wildlife management, or another animal-related subject. Some agencies even require a master’s degree, especially for those interested in a research biology position.
You’ll also want to have some field experience under your belt if you expect to find a permanent position in this highly-competitive career field. If you’re still in school, one way to get some experience is by finding a volunteer position working with wild animals in some capacity. Not only will this look good on your resume, but you’ll also have a valuable reference that will look good to any future employer.