Wildlife Conservationist

Wildlife Conservationist – Job Description and Outlook


One of the most popular Wildlife Conservationist was the late Steve Irwin. Irwin is known for his popular TV series The Crocodile Hunter. Irwin, had a heart made up of clad steel to protect the environment, with his insightful and engaging personality. This is what made his hit show successful. While Irwin will be remembered for his footmark in wildlife (no pun intended), he has also sparked a renewed interest in the field. Jobs for Wildlife Conservationists are limited, so competition in the field is intense. With that said, you might want to take a closer look at what the job of a wildlife conservationist entails, and if its the right choice for you.

A wildlife conservationist studies the origins, behavior, genetics, diseases, as well as the life processes of wildlife. One career path is to specialize in wildlife research and management. An expert in the field may work to preserve the habitat of animals and plants by protecting as well as managing mountains, rivers, grasslands, woodlands and marine habitats. He or she may also involve communities in the conservation process and save endangered species.

Habitat Conservation

Wildlife Conservationist help to protect our natural resourcesConserving the habitat is one of the primary duties of a wildlife conservationist. The process may involve planting trees, erosion control in a coastal area, or monitoring the progress of an endangered animal in a big game reserve. Conservation Scientists are specifically trained to ensure the environment is safe for both the animal and plant species living there. This involves evaluating the habitat by on a regular basis, to ensure that it is not infected by diseases and harmful insects. It’s also their responsibility to protect the habitat from wild fires and other potential forms of destruction.

Some Conservation Scientists have the task of checking soil samples, to make sure there is no soil contamination and that the water supplies are fresh and safe for drinking. Moreover, a Conservation Scientist might have to educate people about how important it is to care for the environment and different plant and animal species living in it.

Marine Conservation

Conserving marine environments is a specialized area of the field. There are several different activities that you will have to perform as a marine conservationist. For instance, you may have to dive into the water to research coral reefs. An important issue regarding costal environments is coastal erosion. This phenomenon affects both the residents and marine life. With the continuous depletion of ocean resources, research on the factors involved in coastal erosion has become very important.

Expected Salary

Wildlife conservationists can expect a salary in the range of $50,000 to $70,000 per year if they work for a government institution. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that conservation scientists, such as wildlife conservation scientists, received an annual salary of $61,180 in May 2009. There was a considerable difference in wages provided by different governmental bodies. For instance, the federal government gave an annual salary of $71,950, while state and local governments gave around $53,000. Generally, a wildlife conservationist scientist can expect a higher salary and bigger benefits from the government and large private firms compared to smaller firms.

Job Outlook

According to a Job Bank USA report, the growth rate for all jobs for conservation scientists is expected to be slower than average this year. The employment rate is expected to be strongest in R&D services and private consulting firms. With a greater emphasis on environmental protection, the job market will continue to increase in size. Hiring of conservation experts to prepare environmental impact studies on tree harvest and erosion control, will continue through the year.

The Government (Federal and State) will offer fewer opportunities. Some employment for wildlife conservationist will be created due to the need of technical assistance for grazing land owners. These jobs will be created through the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Educational Requirements for a Wildlife Conservationist


To obtain an entry-level job in wildlife conservation, a bachelor’s degree from zoology colleges is usually required. Those looking to become a wildlife conservationist may obtain a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology or some other related area, such as environmental sciences or natural resources. The following subjects may be included in these programs: wildlife management, genetics, bio diversity and evolution. Obtaining a master’s degree may be suitable for getting a higher level conservation job. Usually employers in the wildlife conservation industry prefer candidates with masters and doctoral degrees. This is simply because these degrees require a great deal of research. This is also the type of job that requires good communication skills as a wildlife conservationist deals with the general public, politicians, educators, non for profit groups, and other groups and individuals, on a regular basis.

Public Education

A wildlife conservation scientist has to be able to interact with people, because creating awareness of wildlife conservation is an important part of the job. Public education may include providing information about how to take better care of the environment and the plant and animal species living in it. Creating awareness and funds for research is one of the top ways of ensuring the protection of land and endangered species. Some communities have more support for wildlife conservation than others.

Wildlife conservationists perform the following tasks.

  • Informative research by writing articles, papers and reports, making presentations, and giving lectures for schools, groups, as well as park interpretive programs.
  • Giving their opinion on the matters of wildlife management and planning, and consulting with all the important parties as well as the general public for exploring the available options.
  • Recording and making estimates about the population of plants and animals.
  • Educating and giving responses to the public about the issues related to conservation, such as hunting laws and plant identification.
  • Organizing and performing experimental research that involves animals in natural or artificial conditions.

Conserving and managing wildlife is a very important job. It impacts the environment we are currently living in and will live in. Therefore, a wildlife conservationist plays a crucial role in shaping our future.