Animals are a HUGE part of our life here at Explore Careers! We love our pets, and we bet you do too!
Several team members in the office here once harboured career dreams of becoming a vet, but what does it really take to work with animals full time? And what other animal careers are out there besides being a vet?
As part of World Wildlife Day, we thought we’d find some answers – let’s dive in!
When is World Wildlife Day?
The 3rd of March was declared World Wildlife Day by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2013. World Wildlife Day aims to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants and has become the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife.
The theme for 2022 is “Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration”. The celebrations will seek to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered wildlife species and drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve them.
5 Really Wild Careers to Know About
Working with wildlife isn’t just about animals; it also involves flora (plants and plantlife) and sea life. Careers span everything from care and rehabilitation to conservation and preservation.
Let’s take a look at five possible careers you could pursue:
Got a passion for all things reptilian and amphibian? This is the career for you! Herpetologists are biologists who specifically study reptiles and amphibians. They’re involved in a variety of areas, including research, education, species preservation and conversation of habitats. Herpetologists are required to have a four-year degree in wildlife biology, zoology, or other related fields., as a minimum, with many also having postgraduate qualifications relevant to the field.
Reptiles not your thing? What about SHARKS? Ichthyologists are biologists who study various species of fish classified as bony, cartilaginous, or jawless. This includes sharks and rays – a perfect career for coastal-loving Aussies! The role involves a variety of duties around species research, education, and conservation. You might work out in the field (or sea, perhaps!) or for research departments, universities, charities, or museums. A four-year degree is required, with most ichthyologists holding graduate-level degrees.
If cold-blooded creatures aren’t inspiring you, what about a species that’s a little closer to home? Primatologists study primates such as gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and lemurs. Like other biologists who work with specific species, their role can take them across different areas, including biology, medical research, anthropology, conservation, and zoology. You may study extinct and living species to better understand the evolution of primates across the centuries. As a minimum, you’ll need a four-year degree in wildlife biology, zoology, or other related fields.
If you can’t narrow down your passion for wildlife to just one species, then a career as a Wildlife Biologist could be right for you. Wildlife Biologists study a variety of animals and their ecosystems and have a variety of responsibilities related to this. This may include tagging animals and helping them relocate to new habitats, monitoring species’ populations and working to ensure commercial or residential developments won’t negatively affect species and their habitats. You’ll need at least a four-year degree.
Similar to Wildlife Biologists, Wildlife Conservationists also work to preserve the habitats of various animal and plant species. They study water, plants and soil and seek to understand and prevent environmental degradation caused by different activities, including natural events like bushfires. A core part of their role is to ensure that different habitats of species are maintained so those species can continue to survive and thrive. They also work to restore habitats, encouraging dissipating species to return and thrive once more. And you guessed it; you’ll need a four-year degree as a minimum in wildlife biology or a related subject to get started.
Top 3 Skills Needed to Work With Animals
Working with any wildlife species – animal or plant – is never easy. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and resilience to work with something that can’t communicate directly with you and has a literal life of its own!
If you’re keen but wondering what skills you might need, we did a little investigating and here are the top three that kept coming up:
- Empathy: Our natural world can often be volatile, and it takes a very calm, caring approach to handle what it might throw at you. Empathy allows you to take a step back and see things from the perspective of others – vital when working with wildlife!
- Analytical Skills: Wildlife can’t communicate with us directly, but it can communicate with us in other ways – and there will be lots of little signs you’ll need to be able to figure out and puzzle pieces to put together. Analytical skills allow you to look at a situation and then get underneath the surface to find out why it’s happening and how to fix it.
- Teamwork: Much as you’ll be a specialist in one area, this kind of work relies on a strong network of specialists and professionals coming together to achieve successful outcomes. Teamwork is vital!
Find Out More
Check out the UNs page to learn more about World Wildlife Day and see what events are happening near you!