Wildlife Jobs

Browse "Wildlife Jobs" for a few ideas of jobs where you can do what you love full-time:

protecting, caring or studying wild animals!

Some jobs you will know, and some you may have never heard of...


You already do all the volunteering you can and work hard so that your way of life doesn’t impact negatively on wildlife ; yet, you don’t think that’s nearly enough?

Maybe you should consider this list of wildlife jobs!

green-tree-frog

A green tree frog at my window... One of the advantages of  a wildlife job with an office in the bush!

Work for wild animals and spend 40hrs a week in a useful and fulfilling career. How good is that??

Whether you are still a student or have a job but are thinking of a reconversion, the diversity of careers that positively impact wildlife will impress you - and give you hope, because a lot of different skills can be of benefice.

This means: you don't need to have a PhD in Ecology to find a wildlife job!

To inspire us getting our perfect wildlife job, we can learn from a bunch of real people already doing lots for wild animals and their environment. In this page I link to some stories of wildlife people, some very famous, some more anonymous...

Why? Because...

Wildlife People are Amazing!

Wait a minute...

Are YOU an amazing wildlife person yourself? Do YOU have a job that helps wild animals?

If you like to share your wildlife job and add it to the list of Wildlife Jobs, please do so at the end of this page!

I must say I would never ever have guessed it, but one of the things I love the most about doing the different wildlife jobs I had is actually... the people you meet during your work!

Yes, despite the many threats that humans create to animal species, I surprised myself by how much I still can like humans - especially when they are involved with wildlife! Maybe it’s because they can talk endlessly about... wild animals?

They also have amazing stories about traveling around the world, meeting pseudo gods like David Attenborough, working in remote locations, seeing incredible wild animals and wild places, and just living adventures.

I will introduce you to some of these amazing people that live extraordinary lives studying and helping wild creatures. Each of these fantastic persons is an inspiration to me and can give you their perspective on different wildlife careers.

You can follow links to these real job experiences in the purple boxes "Wildlife people are amazing".

Some Examples of Great Wildlife Careers

Any job at a wildlife NGO

Artist promoting the love of wildlife

Celebrity

Conservation dog trainer

Documentary filmmaker

Ecology consultant

Environmental lawyer

Government wildlife officer

Manager of land protected by a NGO

Marine mammal observer

Ranger for National Parks

Rehabilitation officer

Veterinarian for wild animals

Wildlife researcher

Zoo keeper

Any job at a NGO that protects wildlife: admin, HR, IT anything!

If you don’t think the skills you have can be useful for finding a wildlife job, don’t be so sure. The organisations that spend all their time and effort fighting to increase wildlife protection need absolutely all kind of professionals to run the show.

Just go to the websites or offices of the associations you love, whether it’s WWF, Greenpeace, Birdlife International, Conservation International, Fauna and Flora International, Wildlife Conservation Society or smaller organisations that focus on local areas near you.

Artist promoting the love of wildlife and nature

Maybe you didn't think your creativity could be part of a list of wildlife jobs?

Of course it is!

Dark-and-Stormy

"Dark and Stormy" Picture by Lucy Trippett

Artists - whether they paint, sculpt, write music, make movies, take photos - have usually a direct access to their public’s heart. They can spread messages very effectively and promote their values.

Sometimes their art is a direct showcase of the beauty of nature and wildlife.

The power of artists to change the world is endless. Be an artist that spread the world about wildlife beauty and threats. Awake hundreds, thousands or millions to wildlife conservation.

Wildlife people are amazing:

Wildlife producer / wildlife photographer Lucy Trippett

Conservation dog trainer

This is actually a real amazing job, where you can end up spending lots of time outdoor with your dog while actively preserving wild animals.

This is a dream job if you ever seen one!

 

Dogs are now involved in all sort of conservation projects:

  • sniffer dogs (also called detection dogs) are the main conservation dogs: they will find endangered species to protect or study them, or find invasive species to get rid of them and protect the natural habitat with its native species. See a very special story on Conservation Dogs.
detection-dog

Detection dog and dog trainer


  • dogs are involved in protecting endangered species directly by guarding them.

For instance there is a wonderful story of two Maremmas dogs, Eudy and Tula, that are protecting little penguins against foxes on Southern Australia’s Middle Island.

There used to be more than a thousand penguins breeding on the island until foxes were introduced. They ate their way though the population, so much so that only 4 indivuals were counted before Eudy and Tula were named as their guardians. In 2013, the penguin population is around 200, while not one fox attack has occurred under Eudy and Tula's shift!

  • dogs can help endangered species conservation by decreasing human-wildlife conflicts.

Guard dogs have been used for thousands of years in Europe and Asia to protect livestock against predators. It's a safe "repellent" for predators, and no one has to die: not the wild predator, and not the livestock.

North America is discovering them to protect sheep and cattle, especially against wolves and coyotes, with ancient dog breeds such as great Pyrenees, Anatolian shepherds, maremmas and Turkish kangals. Other guard dog breeds include: Spanish mastiff, komondor, sarplaninac, central Asian shepherd, tatra, karakashan and kuvasz.

In Namibia, guard dogs are given to farmers to protect their livelihood. Cheetahs that used to be killed by farmers when approaching their livestock are now driven away by barking dogs, reducing conflicts and the number of killed cheetahs dramatically.

You can find more info on the Cheetah Conservation Fund's Livestock Guarding Dog Program, and learn all about the amazing impact guard dogs are making in Namibia.

Wildlife People are Amazing:

Conservation dog trainer Gary Jackson

Celebrity

Wildlife jobs with a twist!! Become a wildlife celebrity!! Come on, you know you want it!

This is a bit of a long shot, and also could be the most difficult of all wildlife careers... But it would be awesome though!

Just to make us dream, let’s talk a bit about some celebrities that have sparked for wildlife conservation!

David Attenborough?

Jean Jacques Cousteau?

What is your favourite celebrity that impacted positively on wild animals? Please go to the contact us page and share!

Documentary filmmaker

With the majority of humans living in cities, documentaries are now playing the simple and critical role of a connecting people to Nature.

Wildlife documentaries are also a powerful way to raise awareness and to remind people of why we need to fight for the Earth.

“In this image-driven age, wildlife filmmakers carry a heavy responsibility. They can influence how we think and behave when we’re in nature. They can even influence how we raise our kids, how we vote and volunteer in our communities, as well as the future of our wildlands and wildlife.”

Chris Palmer

Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom

Ecology consultant

This is a wildlife job on the ground, making a difference in each and every little project that impacts wildlife... And the sum of these small impacts is usually what pushes a wild animal to extinction, or protect it for the future!

So how does an ecology consultant help wild animals?

Many countries have environmental laws and rules that dictate where and how wildlife habitat can be destroyed for human profit - for example, to build houses and roads. The decisions are often based on work done by ecology consultants.

We need consultants that have high ethics, recognize the value of wildlife and can knowledgeably assess where we can or cannot develop.

Also ecology consultants have more and more a decision to make on how a specific development that destroys wildlife habitat compensates for the loss: it’s called offset.

What is an offset? Let’s say you cut 5 trees to put a house, you can sometimes be made to plant 10 trees somewhere else. Offsets can be of immense benefit to wildlife if done properly.

Environmental lawyer

The environment and all the wild creatures it contains are often under threats... And can’t defend themselves. That is why we need clever lawyers to go to court representing the interest of Nature.

For example in Australia, the Environmental Defenders Offices provide legal help to protect the environment's interests. They also lobby for better protection for Nature and run education programs to increase public involvement in environmental decision making.  

A very powerful wildlife career, at the front line, fighting to preserve wild animals and their environment when they are under attack.

Government wildlife officer

Jobs that help wildlife in the Government are very diverse.

Wildlife officers often are the direct link between the community and wildlife. They help in many ways, including:

  • by advising the public in what to do with wildlife, whether they found a sick or injured animal or whether they have specific questions about wildlife near their house, or need wildlife permits,
  • by managing human-wildlife conflicts,
  • by educating and promoting wildlife respect,
  • by running programs that help protect endangered or declining species,
  • by advising town planning for maximum wildlife protection,
  • by ensuring developers and the rest of the community know and implement the laws of environmental protection,
  • by checking the well-being of wildlife kept by humans.

Manager of (or ranger for) land protected by a NGO

Some organisations, aware as we all are that habitat destruction is the number 1 threat to wildlife, have gone to the business of buying and managing land for wildlife (for example, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy).

Work for them and you will be guaranteed a great job for a great cause!

Marine Mammal Observer (MMO)

If you love life at sea and want to help dauphins and whales, that is one job for you!

You will board an oil exploration vessel and travel with it for a few weeks. Your task as an MMO is to recognise threatened species and make sure the vessel respects the legislation that exist to protect cetaceans - mostly from the noise pollution.

Observations are made visually and by acoustic monitoring.

Marine mammal observer are at the forefront of protecting wild cetaceans in their natural environment. A very worthwhile career.

Ranger for National Parks

This is an obvious way to spend much time outdoors, in beautiful areas, and often getting first class experience with wild animals.

Rehabilitation officer for wildlife habitats

Because so much of the wildlife's environment has already been destroyed or degraded, a very powerful way to increase wildlife populations is to restore their habitat.

Become a Bush Regeneration Officer for non for profit organisation, many such organisations exsist around the world. They have staff that supervise volunteers or are helping landowners to rehabilitate their properties.

Task as a bush regenerator usually involves:

  • collecting native seeds in the bush,
  • growing them in a nursery,
  • planting native species on site,
  • weed control on site,
  • organising teams of volunteers...

You can also help rehabilitate disturbed land after mining or after other human disturbances. Thus when the disturbance is gone, wild fauna can claim back the area.

Researcher

There are Universities all around the world involved in studying wildlife and their habitat. Their work allows us to answer an infinity of questions that are both interesting and useful.

We can only protect what we know...

Many species have not even been discovered yet!

For the species we know, we need to study things like:

  • the distribution of wildlife populations (and is this extending? Contracting?),
  • the number of animals in a population (is it going up? Down?),
  • what makes a good home for them,
  • what are the main threats they are facing,
  • and very importantly, what actions are required to protect each species and their environment?

Become a researcher to answer these questions and many more (see examples in My Wildlife). We can only act to protect animals when we know they are in trouble, and when we know what can be done to help.

dolphin-research

Dolphin research in action: genetic sampling in a wild dolphin

Veterinarian for wild animals

When wanting to help wild animals, many people think of this wildlife job, and for a good reason: you are directly in contact with wildlife, which is very rare and precious (even for wildlife jobs, not many other jobs in this page actually allow you to touch a tiger or an elephant!). 

This can be in the wild or if you don’t want to leave home, in a zoo near you or even at your practice:

  • In the wild

Vets help wild animals by monitoring their health in wild populations, studying diseases and determining virus and bacteria impacts on wild populations.

  • In the zoo or a zoo hospital

In zoos, vets help ensuring animals are kept in the best health conditions. They attend any problems, keep vaccinations up to date, help pregnancies, adapt diets etc.

Some zoos also have hospital where they care for wild patients that have been hit by cars or fiound sick or injured.

  • In their own clinic

Vets can also help from their clinic by accepting wild patients. When a wild animal is injured, we need vets to attend emergencies and rehabilitate the wounded so they can be released back in their natural habitat.

Zoo keeper

Zoo keepers have an important role to play in the health and well being of wild animals kept in zoos. They need to know the animals they are responsible for very well, in term of what their needs are, and also notice any change in their behaviour. That might indicate a health issue, and the earlier it is treated the better.

Zoo keepers are also in charge of animal fun: it's called enrichment. Enrichment is used to keep animals busy and happy in zoos. It can include designing complex enclosures, introducing exciting smells, noises or animal grunts, novel objects, or hiding food  in puzzle... The options are only limited by the keeper's imagination!

Zoo keepers more and more are involved in training. They develop a special relation with their animals which stimulate them and facilitate treatment of health issues.

 

You can browse some of the most amazing wildlife world zoos to see examples of enrichment and work with wild animals in zoos.


No matter what your talents and backgrounds are, there is a job for you that will help wildlife conservation!



Do you have a wildlife job?

A job that helps protecting, educating about, studying wildlife and or their environment?

We would LOVE to hear about it, so please take the time to enter your story below... Thank you!

Do You Have the Best Wildlife Job Ever?

Are you one of the lucky ones with a great wildlife job?

You can create a page about it!

Just like the amazing people I have interviewed for different wildlife career, you can tell us how great your job is, how it contributes to wildlife protection, and how you got there.

Make us dream and help others discover their vocation!

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Conservation Officer 
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