* Who is a Wildlife Biologist? Description of the type of work done, Description, Advantages/disadvantages, working conditions.
* Education and Employment Education and training, Job outlook, Education and training required Potential places of employment, Advancement opportunities.
* How much does a Wildlife biologist make? Salary range, Salary/wages
* A day as a Wildlife Biologist Typical work day—types of tasks the career involves, working conditions
* Why I chose Wildlife Biology. An explanation of why you chose this career, related occupations.
* How to become a Wildlife Biologist. An explanation of what you can do now to work toward this career, a list of 10 questions you would ask if you had an opportunity to interview someone in this career
* More Information. An explanation of what chapters in your textbook would be relevant to someone with this career, Addresses to write to for further information
Who is a Wildlife Biologist?
A wildlife biologist, as the name implies, studies wildlife. This includes wild animals, their habits and habitats. Wildlife biologists also study plants but mostly focus on achieving objectives related to wild animals and their ecosystems. These objectives include, estimating wildlife populations, developing and carrying out measures to protect endangered and threatened species, developing plans for habitat improvement, evaluating the impact of human communities and developing ways to manage these interactions, educating the public about endangered species and enforcing laws regarding wildlife (“Wildlife Biologist”).
The drawbacks of being a wildlife biologist depend on the individual. There are compulsory conditions such as, working with wild animals that may live in harsh conditions, travelling to remote wildlife areas, working extended hours and working around the biological clock of wildlife and not on your own schedule, which a wildlife biologist must undergo. Any of these conditions could prove an advantage to one person but could also be a disadvantage to another person depending on their point of view.
Education and Employment
A Bachelor’s Degree in a natural sciences field such as wildlife ecology and management is the minimum education requirement for a wildlife biologist. Essential high school courses to take include Biology, Chemistry and Physical education for the physical aspects of the job such as working hands on with animals, determining the effects of human induced chemicals in their ecology and carrying heavy equipment, and Calculus and Statistics for the research part of the job when accumulating data. There are a lot of people going into the field of wildlife biology making it a very competitive market so a higher degree such as a Masters Degree or PhD is recommended (“Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist”). Further education, such as a Masters Degree, can be used to advance one’s wildlife biology career to employment in the government, as a professor, research project director or research facility administrator.
Together with degrees, job training through internships and volunteer work is also recommended. Volunteering especially is a way of showing that one is dedicated and truly interested in a career in wildlife biology. It increases one’s chances of gaining employment. The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions and work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions (“Wildlife Biologist, (discontinued)”). A wildlife biologist works both indoors and outdoors. They can get employed by the government, work in zoos and aquariums or work as a University Professor in a school.
How much does a Wildlife Biologist make?
Wildlife Biologists do not make a lot of money. The median salary for a Wildlife Biologist in the US is $57,420 and the job growth has been predicted to rise from 7% to 13% in the next eight years (Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist). In Canada, Alberta to be precise, the average salary was $58, 400 per year in 2003 ((“Wildlife Biologist, (discontinued)”). The salary range is currently between $43,060 and $70,500. The median annual wage of wildlife biologist was $57, 430 in May (“Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist”- US Bureau of Labor statistics). Biologists with advanced degrees tend to earn higher (Wildlife Biologist- Animal careers).
A Day as a Wildlife Biologist
On a daily basis, Wildlife biologists observe animals in their natural habitats and record their findings. They could be undertaking a particular study such as assessing the effects of industry on animals and this requires them to spend large amounts of time outdoors for direct research. They then record their data and could use it to provide an estimate of plant and wildlife populations, analyze characteristics of animals to identify and classify them or make recommendations on alternative operating conditions for industries.
Not all Wildlife Biologists work outdoors in the field but some conduct research in laboratories or other controlled settings and they usually work with already accumulated data to dissect and examine animal specimens under a microscope, study characteristics of animals such as origin, interrelationships, classification, life histories, development, genetics and distribution. Other tasks could include performing administrative duties such as fundraising, public relations, budgeting, and supervision of zoo staff (“Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist”).
Why I chose Wildlife Biology
I chose Wildlife Biology because I remember loving the channels on TV that were related to wildlife. There were people always wearing Khaki observing the lions and crocodiles and cheetahs, approaching them with such ease and confidence and I used to wonder how they could not be scared of such large gruesome looking animals. These people were the first wildlife biologist that I encountered and though I may not have known who they were or their occupation then, I knew I was interested in finding out how they acquired the skill of such fearlessness around the king of the jungle. Now I know that Wildlife Biology is one of those career paths that people do not follow unless it is their true calling because unless you have absolute love for all types of animals and a great desire to help them, even while exposing yourself to possible harm, this career is not for you.
Other occupations related to Wildlife Biology include Aquatic biologists, Marine biologists and fishery biologist (W. Tommy); these people also work with non- domesticated animals but in an aquatic environment. Another is a zoologist who studies animals and the way they live. This occupation is very closely related to wildlife biology and the only difference is that “‘Zoologist’ is an encompassing term that can be applied to anyone who studies animals. Wildlife Biologists study a small part of that- the relationship between animals and the natural resources that support animal life, especially the effect of the environment on animal survival” (“Differences between a Wildlife Biologist & a Zoologist”). Zoologist study broadly everything about animals and the way they live while Wildlife Biologists focus on the part that has to do with animals and the effect their surroundings have on them.
How to become a Wildlife Biologist
If interested in becoming a Wildlife Biologists while in high school, you should work towards excelling at sciences such as Biology and math such as Statistics and Data. When researching for Universities or Colleges, you should look for schools that offer internship opportunities because “The key to getting a permanent position as a wildlife biologist is racking up as much diversity, or perhaps, specificity, in field experience opportunities as you can” (Wilson). If I had the opportunity to interview someone in this career, I would ask
1. How did you find out you wanted to be a Wildlife Biologist? 2. Did you ever consider choosing another career? If yes, why did you change?
3. What is the most exciting thing that has happened while on the job?
4. Are there difficult times?
5. What’s the most gratifying experience of your career?
6. What skills do you need to excel in this career?
7. How often do you need to travel?
8. Have you ever worked with extremely violent animals? How was the experience?
9. What part of your career do you enjoy the most?
10. If I wanted to become a Wildlife Biologist, any advice? More Information
In the latest edition of the Nelson Biology 11 textbook, Information pertaining towards wildlife biology can mostly be found in chapters three and five. The “animals” section of chapter three explores biodiversity in animal, classification of animals, relationship between different animals and life cycles. This information can help when the Wildlife biologist has to classify the animals observed. Chapter five deals with genetics and it can help a wildlife biologist who is studying genetics in wildlife determine inherited traits, predict genes of offspring, predict genes offspring will inherit and prevent the mating of animals that might result in a diseased offspring.
Also, chapter eight can also help the biologists determine the origin of animals, their evolutionary relationship, and their evolutionary progress and predict future evolution. They then use all this information to organise data of suspected disease causing factors, expected reproduction rates and predict the effects of humans on any future developments of the animals. For further information, please visit bls.org or wisecareers.wisc.edu.
“Differences between a Wildlife Biologist & a Zoologist.” Work. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2013. Dulson, Jazqueline, B.Sc., Ph.D. “11.6 Imaging: Looking through the Body.” Biology 11. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2011. 504. Print.
Wildlife Biologist.” Animal Careers. About, N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2013. “Wildlife Biologist, (discontinued).” OCCinfo. Allis Alberta, Feb. 03. Web. 18 Jan. 2013. “Wildlife Biologist.” Welcome! N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2013. “Wildlife in Black and White.” Africa is a Country. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2013 Wilson, Ellen. “How To: Become a Wildlife Biologist.” Matador Network. Matador Network, 27 Feb. 2008. Web. 19 Jan. 2013
W, Tommy. Career Plan. Rep. Weebly, n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2013. “Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist.” Zooologist and Wildlife Biologist.N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2013. “Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6 Apr. 2012.Web. 19 Jan. 2013.
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