Wildlife Biologist – A Complete Career Guide

Ever since the days of the people like Dr. Salim Ali, Billy Arjan Singh, F. W. Champion, Jim Corbett, Kenneth Anderson and so many others who have an impeccable contribution to Indian wildlife, people have been fascinated by the secrets of wildlife and nature, one way or the other. Fascination gives birth to passion, passion leads to study, and study is an indefinite process. Thanks to the contribution of previous naturalists, we are able to study wildlife thoroughly. 

If you are one of those wildlife enthusiasts who want to work in the field as a wildlife biologist, then here is everything you need to know about it!

What is wildlife biology?

Wildlife biology is a branch of natural science. Wildlife biology study, basically, explores the various habitats, interactions between living and nonliving things of the environment, and the characteristics of different wildlife species. 

The need to study wildlife biology has increased as the impact of the anthropogenic activity is expanding day by day. Thus, before conservation, there has to be raw data available regarding the current status of wildlife and the environment. That is exactly where wildlife biologists play a vital role.

Who is a wildlife biologist?

A wildlife biologist is a trained scientist who exhibits studies related to wildlife and uses these findings to protect and conserve the wildlife.

Becoming a wildlife biologist isn’t as easy as many other professions. One needs a lot of knowledge and experience in just the right areas in order to succeed.

How to become a wildlife biologist in India and abroad?

Generally, the students who are passionate about wildlife can pursue their career as a wildlife conservationist

To become a wildlife biologist, one should first pass class XII from the science stream with a minimum of 50%. Once completed, he/she should opt for a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences such as Zoology, Botany, Veterinary, Agriculture, Forestry, and Environmental studies. Then, Pursuing a Master’s in wildlife biology is a way to specialize in this subject. Finally, a PhD in wildlife in India is the final and highest academic strike to a career in this sector.

Salary of a wildlife biologist in India

An internship plays an important role to become a competitive applicant. Paid and unpaid internships are an important part of gaining enough experience. Many nonprofits and government agencies offer internships. Another sought-after option is volunteer work. These works can be short term or long term.

The average salary of Wildlife Biologists in India is ₹491,318.

Institute that offer wildlife biology course

In India, there are institutes that specialize in wildlife related courses. These institutes generally offer masters and PhD programs. Here is the list –

  1. Wildlife Institute of India course structure primarily involves wildlife biology as their major subject. It is a two-year master’s course and the admission for this course is available only on every alternate year. 
  2. National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore offers M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. This course basically aims to provide a strong foundation of science that will help in designing, implementing and monitoring a range of ecological studies and conservation projects. 
  3. Forest Research Institute (Deemed University), Dehradun offers M.Sc. in Forestry. The design of the coursework is an integration of fundamental concepts of basic biological principles relating to forest policy, economics and management.

Wildlife biology courses abroad

There are a few good institutes abroad that offer wildlife biology courses for bachelor’s as well as for master’s degree. Here is the list of such institutes.

  1. Brigham Young University
  2. Colorado State University (CSU)
  3. University of Michigan
  4. Hastings College
  5. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  6. Texas State University

Role and Responsibilities of a wildlife biologist

People while pursuing their career as wildlife biologists spend their maximum time on the field than in-office or lab. They are responsible for different tasks. These tasks include –

  • Conducting census projects.
  • Carrying out research studies.
  • Performing complex data analysis.
  • Studying ecosystems and habitats.
  • Conducting conservation measures for wildlife that include trapping, tagging, or relocating.
  • Developing plans for sustainable use of resources.
  • Working to save endangered species.
  • Evaluating the impact of commercial ventures on local wildlife.
  • Studying wildlife disease transmission.
  • Interacting with different stakeholders to coordinate the management of local wildlife.
  • Writing research papers, scientific reports, and scholarly articles.
  • Presenting findings to academics, local communities, and other stakeholders.

Online courses related to wildlife biology

Wildlife biology courses online have different platforms. Class Central has combined all these courses from platforms like EdX, Coursera, etc. in one place. This includes a variety of different online courses structured by different recognized Universities from Worldwide such as –

  1. Ecology: Ecosystem dynamics and conservation by American Museum of Natural History and Howard Hughes Medical Institute 
  2. Primate conservation by University of Colorado Boulder
  3. Landscape ecology by ETH Zurich
  4. Conservation economics by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  5. Wildlife and its conservation by University of Mysore
  6. Conservation and protected area management in Africa by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne 

Certificate courses related to wildlife biology

  1. Short term courses in ​​wildlife in India include Certification course in Wildlife management by Wildlife Institute of India. It is a three-month full-time course that covers topics such as Wildlife Species and Habitats, Wildlife Population Estimation, Remote Sensing and GIS and Wildlife Management.
  2. The Wildlife Society offers the two certification courses to help wildlife professionals to develop and advance their knowledge and skills in their careers. 1) Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB): For this, applicants must meet educational requirements and have at least five years of professional experience. 2) Associate Wildlife Biologist (AWB): Once certified, the wildlife biologist must complete at least 80 hours of continuing education every five years.
  3. Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environmental Education and Research offers a Diploma in Wildlife Conservation Action. It is a one-year course that has a multidisciplinary approach focusing on integrating the science of wildlife conservation with social issues such as managing and mitigating wildlife conflict and natural resource management.

Wildlife enthusiasts with formal education, natural skills, and passion for wildlife can lead to a very optimistic career as a wildlife biologist. A biologist’s contribution especially for a country like India is extremely important. Do find your passion and jump into this field of wonders as a profession. 

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