Job description for a wildlife biologist

Written by ethan shaw
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Job description for a wildlife biologist
Wildlife biologists are often charged with surveying animal numbers, especially for species of particular management concern. (young deer image by Witold Krasowski from

The life histories and conservation profiles of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are usually the prime focus of wildlife biologists.


On a basic level, most wildlife biologists study animals and their habitats. This typically includes surveying for wildlife presence and demographics, studying feeding, reproduction and mortality, and defining habitat requirements and conservation priorities.


Many entities employ wildlife biologists. Wildlife researchers often work for government agencies on the federal, state and local levels, like the U.S. Forest Service in the Department of the Interior or a state department of natural resources. But they may also be affiliated with universities, private companies, non-profit organisations and zoological institutions.


A common task for wildlife biologists is the monitoring of wildlife population levels. This is especially true for species of particular management concern, such as game (like white-tailed deer or ruffed grouse) or threatened/endangered animals (like American martens).


Wildlife biologists typically are familiar with an array of technology, including telemetry equipment for animal tracking and Geographic Information Systems software for mapping distribution and habitat. Some have a pilot's license for aerial population surveys. Many wildlife biologists need exceptional interpersonal communication skills: Like many resource managers, they deal with people as much as wild creatures. Working in remote areas under primitive conditions is often a reality.


For many jobs, a bachelor's degree in biological sciences, wildlife ecology or an analogous discipline is required. Research positions may demand a master's or more advanced certification.

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