Wildlife Environment Manager: Job Description & Career Info

A wildlife environment manager oversees wildlife populations both in captivity and in their natural habitats to ensure their peaceful co-existence with humans. They employ scientific solutions to uphold environmental laws, like the Endangered Species Act, to advance the conservation of wild animals while protecting human life and property. Read on to learn more details about this profession.

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Career Definition for a Wildlife Environment Manager

A wildlife environment manager, sometimes called a natural resource manager, combines economics, policy and a scientific knowledge of natural resources to develop and implement plans that address the inherent battle between the needs of society and those of nature. Typical duties include invasive species control, pest management, wetlands regulations, habitat restoration and recreational resource management.

Education Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Communication, outdoor skills, observational, problem solving
Median Salary (2015)* $59,680 (all wildlife biologists and zoologists)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% (all wildlife biologists and zoologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's degree in an animal-related science such as general animal science, zoology or biology is required. Due to the competitive nature of this field, an advanced degree is recommended, like a master's program in wildlife sciences or biology. Because wildlife management is based upon scientific principles, coursework focuses on the hard sciences and typically includes biology, physics, zoology, botany, anthropology, chemistry and genetics. Additionally, a comprehensive understanding of animal habitats and human-wildlife interactions is vital.

Skills Required

Wildlife environment managers must have the ability to understand the complex nature of ecosystems and human influence, a dedication to ecology, an affection for animals and a commitment to hard work. It is crucial that anyone thinking about pursuing a career in wildlife environment management spend time working with animals in the habitats in which they live. According to the National Zoo, www.nationalzoo.edu, good places to gain exposure to wild animals include zoos, aquariums, national parks and wildlife refuges. Animal shelters, clinics and horse farms offer opportunities for exposure to domestic animals, which could also provide insight into the nature of the work.

Career and Economic Outlook

Job growth in wildlife environment management is projected at 4% from 2014-2024. This is slower than the average for all occupations, and is largely due to the varying budgets of the governmental agencies that employ wildlife professionals. However, wildlife environment managers still have many good career options in various sectors of the economy, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Professional opportunities today extend beyond park ranger and game warden, particularly now that society has begun to place a greater value on the environment. Professionals may conduct ecosystem surveys in forests, perform habitat assessments and population monitoring programs or oversee the conservation of threatened and endangered species. Salaries for wildlife management professionals vary depending on job type, responsibilities and experience; in May 2015, the mean annual wage was $59,680 for wildlife biologists and zoologists, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Related occupation fields that handle environmental policy and natural resource management include environment science and conservation scientist.

Environmental Scientist and Specialist

After earning at least a bachelor's degree in natural sciences, these professionals pursue employment where they use their skills to advise policy makers, reduce waste and clean up pollution. Job prospects should be very good from 2014-2024, according to the BLS, with 11% growth anticipated. That same source reported annual median wages of $67,460 for this occupation in 2015.

Conservation Scientist and Forester

With a bachelor's degree in forestry or a similar field, conservation scientists and foresters help manage the quality of many natural resources, including parks and forests. There are 16 states that require licensing for foresters, as well as voluntary certifications available. A slower than average job growth of 7% was forecast by the BLS for the 2014-2024 decade for conservation scientists, who earned a median wage of $61,110 in 2015. The BLS forecast 8% growth for foresters, who earned $58,230 in 2015.

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