Wild Animals/What should I major in
I am a freshman in college and already know what I want to do, but I'm not sure what I should major in. Exactly what I want to do is protect endanger species particularly wild cats. I want to work in the field studying them. There are so many things I could major in; Biology, Zoology, Ecology, environmental Ecology and Biology. I just don't know which would be the right one to help me reach my goal which is studying big cats in the wild. Do you think you could help me? What do you think is the best option for me? And what is the profession called that I am describing, is it a zoologist? Thank you for your help!
Thank you for your questions and for your desire to save endangered species. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.
First of all, I have had several similar questions since I started on AllExperts and the majority of people wanted to work with tigers and other big cats. This suggests that there is a lot of interest in this area and possibly a lot of competition. It may be better to develop skills to aid the conservation of various animal species, including big cats but not excluding others. Many of London Zoo's keepers used to specialise in certain houses several years ago, but now they develop a variety of skills by working with a range of species. This can help them with future careers. The future is very uncertain in the UK at the moment and I believe that flexibility and the abilty to transfer skills into new work environments will help people develop their careers. That doesn't mean that you won't work with big cats, but it does mean that you may need to move sideways at first and show that you have the abilities needed to work with big cats.
It may be worthwhile doing volunteer work for a local zoo. There are several zoos in Tennessee. I have listed colections with big cats. Here you will be able to find out more about the cats and you may be able to get help with advice about courses. Tiger Haven (http://www.tigerhaven.org/
) sounds like a good place to help you with your studies. Knoxville Zoo (http://www.knoxville-zoo.org/animals_attractions/animal_guide.aspx
) has Bengal and Malayan tigers and African lions. Memphis Zoo (http://www.memphiszoo.org/animalsbyexhibit
) has African lions, African leopards, Bengal and Sumatran tigers, cheetahs, jaguars, pumas and snow leopards. Nashville Zoo (http://www.nashvillezoo.org/our-animals
) has Bengal tigers, clouded leopards and pumas.
Out of the options you have given me, I suggest that majoring in Ecology and Conservation is best if you want to conserve species and natural habitats. I know someobody who works in the Institute of Zoology who has worked with black rhinos in Zimbabwe and Kenya, as well as Indian rhinos, hispid hares and pygmy hogs in Assam. He has also been involved in helping educate children by linking the development of schools alongside wildlife habitats. This may be something to think about. There are many third world charities, where you can help local people while also protecting habitats. Survival International helps tribal people live in forests and other habitats and this also protects habitats for wildlife.
Several years ago, I had a talk with a member of staff at Jersey Zoo. He said that officials negotiated with leaders in various countries. I agree that it is better with leaders, even if you are fundamentally opposed to their ideologies, rather than to try and save animals while the government is opposed to your actions. It is also good to work with local people. I have had talks with people who are encouraging local people to talk with others to encourage conservation and this may be more successful than trying to show that somebody from another country knows more about their animals than they do. While you may know more about big cats than some of the people who have big cats nearby, it may come across as arrogant, especially as places like the USA and UK have destroyed much of their natural habitats, which has led to the extinction of many species. Courses in relevant languages may be useful as well, as English is not the first language in many countries. I was criticised for not having done a course in French before I visited Madagascar for 3 weeks. Please note that if you achieve your goal, there may not be an interpreter available.
I also suggest that you look at any courses or skills that will lead to ways to make money to pay for your future life. You may get enough money from working in conservation, but it may be better to get a paid job in another area and use excess money to pay for conservation work with organisations like Earthwatch(http://www.earthwatch.org/
), where you can spend your vacations helping endangered animals.
I hope this helps.
Good luck for the future.