• The Working Zoologist: Five Career Twists for Animal and Wildlife

  • by Laura Hastings
    Animals and WIldlife Guide


    Do you ever wonder how to employ your love of animals and wildlife? 
    Many zoologists and wildlife enthusiasts participate in research or teach at universities. While these careers are rewarding and enjoyable, they are not for everyone. If you would like to expand your job horizons beyond the university setting, here are five career options for you to consider.

    1. Zookeeper
    A zookeeper, employed by a zoo or aquarium, is responsible for caring for animals and their enclosures. A zookeeper's activities include preparing meals, cleaning enclosures, and monitoring animal behavior. Depending on the animal in question, a zookeeper might also groom and exercise animals.

    2. Animal and Wildlife Educator
    Zoos, aquariums, parks, and museums employ educators and program developers to create a variety of materials--brochures, videos, guided tours, exhibits--to educate visitors about animals and wildlife.

    3. Zoo Curator
    Zoo curators are responsible for the acquisition of animals. Zoos acquire animals primarily through captive breeding programs. Occasionally, animals are traded among zoos or, on rare occasions, collected from the wild. The collection, trade, and transport of animals is regulated by government agencies; consequently the zoo curator acts as a liaison between these agencies and the zoo.Additionally, the zoo curator plays a role in the administration of zoo functions and captive breeding programs.

    4. Wildlife Rehabilitator
    Wildlife rehabilitation is the process of caring for ill, injured or orphaned wild animals and releasing them back in to their habitat once able to care for themselves. A wildlife rehabilitator often steps in when human activity has caused harm to wildlife: oil spills, lumbering activity, trapping, hunting. Rehabilitators must acquire permits from state and federal wildlife agencies before they can possess or handle wildlife.

    5. Animal Behaviorist
    Animal behaviorists train zoologists and other zoo employees how to interact with and successfully care for animals. Animal behaviorists are often trained in ethology--the study of animal behavior--and have experience working first-hand with animals.