Wild Animals/Wildlife careers.


Hello, so I would like to have a career working with and rescuing wild animals such as Elephants, tigers, lions, and monkeys and possibly marine animals such as seals. I have always had a passion for working with wild life but I am not exactly sure how to get into that, what type of schooling I would need and how to title a career like that. If you have any suggestions please let me know. I am a recent high school graduate.

Dear MJ

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

I suggest you contact the Vancouver Zoo and see if you can help out with their conservation work.

http://www.gvzoo.com/conservation gives information about the type of work the zoo does. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g154922-Activities-c48-British_Columbia.h gives details of other zoos in British Columbia that may be worth contacting. I know someone who works for the Institute of Zoology (IZ) at the Zoological Society of London (http://www.zsl.org/science/). He was a zoo volunteer at London Zoo and had a paid job outside the zoo before getting a job at the IZ. This enables him to take part in conservation work in Africa and Asia. He got a degree and PhD and it may be worthwhile following this route.

Richard Long has written an article (http://www.ehow.com/how_6767794_conservation-officer-british-columbia.html) about being a conservation officer and suggests that you get a university degree or college diploma in natural resources law or management. Please be careful about making a large financial investment in a university course, as there is no guarantee of getting the job you want. I suggest that you get a paid job in a zoo or natural history museum. This may require that you do some voluntary work first and wait for a paid job to be advertised. If you show that you are a good worker, this will increase your chances of a paid job - I know a few people who have started as volunteers before getting paid work. If you get a paid job that involves conservation, your employer should provide suitable training and this will help you reach your goal.

An alternative route is to do a vocational course that will provide you with skills with a better chance of getting a job than would a more academic course. Then you can use your spare time doing conservation work and keep watching out for conservation jobs if you want a career change. Organisations such as Earthwatch will enable you to take part in conservation work during holidays and you can pay for these using your salary from work. I remember somebody who worked as a secretary and lived with a family. She used some of the money she saved from paying out for accommodation to go on safaris. This means that you could bypass a course and get a job, do some conservation work and develop skills that could provide you with future employment in conservation.

I don't know your financial circumstances, but many students in the UK have financial constraints, due to the cost of courses, accommodation etc and can come out with a big debt. Therefore, I advise you to talk with a careers advisor to determine the best way to reach your goal. It isn't necessarily best to go to college first, as this can be a risky route financially.

All the best


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Jonathan Wright


I can answer questions about wild mammals and other animals, as well as extinct animals and zoos. I am not an expert about every animal species. I can look up information from books and the internet, but can't verify if all the information is true. Please don't ask questions about: 1. Pets. I am not a vet. Please contact a vet if your pet is ill. You may need to spend some money if you want your pet to live. Don't get a pet if you don't know how to look after it and if you can't provide it with the space, food and possible companions that will help it live a healthy life. Don't take animals from the wild, unless they are ill and/or injured and you can protect them until a wildlife charity can help. It is cruel to take animals from their parents, especially if the parents will look for the babies, while putting their other babies at risk. You may be breaking the law by keeping wild animals or you may need a licence to look after some species. Please check with a local wildlife group. 2. Eggs: Please don't remove eggs from nests. The mother birds provide the right temperature for the eggs and won't sit on them if the temperature is warm enough for them to develop naturally. It is illegal to remove eggs of some species and, unless you have an incubator or a broody hen, the egg may not develop. If you are allowed to touch the eggs, you can candle them to see if they are fertile. If theys aren't fertile, they won't hatch. 3. Fights: Please don't ask about fights between different animals. These questions assume that individuals of two species fight each time they meet and that one species will always be victorious over another. This is untrue. There are cases where a live mouse has been fed to a venomous snake, bitten the snake leading to the snake's demise. 4: Diseases: Please ask doctors or other medical experts about diseases that you may catch from animals. I can't advise on how to deal with viruses, bacteria etc.


I have a zoology degree and have been interested in animals since I was two. I am a zoo volunteer at London Zoo. I have appeared on a BBC Radio Quiz, 'Wildbrain'.

WWF. ZSL. Natural History Museum. RSPB. London Bat Group.

Newsletters of London Zoo volunteers and the London Bat Group

BSC degree in Zoology. 'A' level in Zoology. 'O' Level in Biology.

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