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What is a Wildlife Biologist?

By Ken Black
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A wildlife biologist is a person who studies animals and things related to fauna and the surrounding environment. In particular, the biologist wants to know how the animal interacts with its environment, behavior patterns, diseases, movements and other threats. The purpose of this is to help better understand not only how animals react amongst themselves, but with other animals and the environment as a whole.

A wildlife biologist may also be responsible for helping to determine a number of different policies. These include what is acceptable in terms of development by humans, the effects of deforestation, good hunting practices and perhaps even helping with animal rescue, rehabilitation and relocation. By its very nature, the job of a wildlife biologist is one made for people who enjoy the outdoors and have a fascination with animals.

In addition to the duties described above, a wildlife biologist can also be a very practical person, helping others understand the animals and their environments. For example, a wildlife biologist may explain why animals may react in a certain way, where they move and why they move there. This can help communities better plan when animals wander into the area. For example, if a cougar roams into an area where they are not normally found, a wildlife biologist may help explain to people why the animal is there and what to expect from it. In most cases, this can put a community's mind at ease.

There are times when a wildlife biologist may be called upon to help deal with a nuisance animal. This is an animal that has likely wandered into an area densely populated with humans that may be deemed dangerous, or may become dangerous if it has a number of opportunities to encounter people. In this case, the wildlife biologist may be a trapper, or may assist a trapper in locating and capturing the animal. Knowing when and why the animal moves, what it is searching for and its other behaviors could be extremely valuable in this type of circumstance.

The vast majority of wildlife biologists are employed by government agencies, such as various natural resources departments, either at the local, state or federal levels. As such, the goal is not only to learn about the animal, but to make sure there is a public benefit for the job. This could include dealing with issues of sustainability, community education and outreach and other such duties. A wildlife biologist's salary typically starts at $40,000 US Dollars (USD) per year or more in the United States. Positions usually require a four-year degree in biology or other related field.

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Discussion Comments
By anon218913 — On Oct 01, 2011

Thanks for the info. There are quite a lot of facts which were needed to better understand the job and now I know for sure that I would like to be one when I'm older and have my degree. I love to work with animals and being outside a lot would be nice as well.

By Forever12 — On Mar 20, 2011

Thanks, I'll consider it as a profession now.

By anon141439 — On Jan 10, 2011

thank you for posting this information. it really helps people define a wildlife biologist profession.

By anon141283 — On Jan 10, 2011

is it hard to find a wildlife biologist job after you have your four-year degree?

By anon106389 — On Aug 25, 2010

this is awesome.

By anon77414 — On Apr 14, 2010

this is amazing! I never thought that i'd be interested in this stuff!

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