Working with Wildlife
Do you have a passion for animals? Have you ever thought about finding a dream career working with wildlife? Many career paths can lead you to work with wildlife.
Some wildlife careers might require advanced degrees and others no degree at all. Start your journey by getting your wildlife rehabilitation license with your local state agency. This license will get your foot in the door and get you more familiar with wild animals, their behaviors, and their environments. Getting a wildlife rehabilitation license is easy. In most states, you will need to take a test given by your local department of environmental control. After you get your license, you can volunteer at your local wildlife rehabilitation center, which will provide you with a real sense of what it’s like to work with wildlife.
Five unique career ideas for working with wildlife
1. Become a veterinarian with a focus on the One Health approach
The health of people, animals, and the environment are all connected, and a veterinarian is at the center of them all. One Health prepares veterinarians for a wide range of unique career disciplines; one of them is working with wildlife. This veterinary student focuses on the One Health approach at Cornell University. You can read what criteria he had before getting accepted in the DVM program at Cornell University. William is well on his way to making a career out of wildlife veterinary medicine and One Health. Working with wildlife is his passion and his commitment to it shows in every aspect of his life.
2. Wildlife monitor aka wildlife technician
A wildlife monitor is responsible for observing wildlife in their natural habitats. The tasks required will depend on who is employing the wildlife monitor. The monitor will get to directly work with wildlife, many times under a wildlife biologist. Some of the tasks will include collecting field samples, counting populations, monitor endangered wildlife species, and many more functions. Working with wildlife as a monitor will require you to work in remote areas, often collecting data. If this sounds good, then check out some job boards and you will be on your way to a wildlife career!
3. Open your own humane Wildlife Trapping Business.
This can be a great way to become an entrepreneur and open your own business without leaving the city. Every city has wildlife – skunks, opossums, fox, raccoons, flying squirrels, and so much more. Sometimes the wildlife living amongst us can become a nuisance. This is where a human-wildlife trapper would come in. This is kind of like pest control, but instead of dealing with bugs you are removing wildlife from peoples’ homes and businesses. Apprentice another wildlife trapper. This will allow you to see first-hand if you can handle this type of wildlife work. Many wildlife removal companies have profiles on Instagram, which would be an excellent place to start your research. You will be directly and physically working with wildlife!
4. Become a conservation detection dog handler
Detection dogs are trained to sniff out wildlife scat. The use of detection dogs is becoming more and more common all across the United States. For scientists and state agencies to make decisions regarding wildlife, they must first know the habitat and movement patterns of the wildlife in question. These conservation K9’s are becoming key players. There are private companies, non-profits, and even universities are training scat detection dogs.
Every dog must have a handler, so this opens up a whole new field in working with wildlife! In the past, wildlife conservation biologists had to rely on tracking, trapping, and radio-collaring wild animals on their own. Now the dogs locate the scats, and scientists can study where the animals have been and what they are eating. The collected samples are put through fecal DNA analysis. Scat-detection dogs are a great way to survey an area for wildlife. This non-invasive wildlife career is not directly working with wildlife but instead working alongside wildlife.
5. Senior Wildlife Biologist
If you love school, love animals, and don’t want to become a veterinarian, then what about a career as a wildlife biologist? You will usually need to obtain a Master’s degree and possibly even a Doctorate. You will be overseeing conservation dog teams, wildlife technicians, and many other biological field surveys. A wildlife biologist studies animal populations, habitats, and is responsible for complex data analysis. There are many unique places that a career as wildlife biologist can lead you. You can become a media personality as a spokesperson, author, work for a university, private company, or government agency. If you want to put your love for data and wildlife to good use, then a wildlife biologist is an excellent career choice.
There are many more careers options than the five above if you want to live a life working with wildlife. Do your research, get your wildlife rehabilitation license and start planning a career path!
“5 Career Options for Working with Wildlife”
Guest Writer: Diana Ludwiczak is, amongst many other things, I am a certified dog trainer, CCPDT, and the handler of Goosey. Together, Diana and Goosey make a certified bed bug team through the non-profit organization W.D.D.O., as well as NESDCA.
During the last 15 years, Diana has trained many dogs, volunteered at animal shelters, become a New York City certified wildlife rehabber, and has acquired many certifications for training scent-detection dogs.
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