Who are animal biologists?
An animal biologist is a scientist who studies the biology, behavior, population, and habitats of animals. They observe animals, especially in the wild, examine their role in the ecosystem and how these animals interact with human beings. In addition to this, the job of an animal biologist also includes investigating and performing experiments in hopes of getting answers and learning more about specific species of animals. Animal biologists usually specialize in
- Marine Biology or
Qualities required in becoming an animal biologist
Being passionate, sincere, and caring towards animals and their well-being is one of the essential prerequisites for the job of an animal biologist. However, that alone is not enough. To excel at this job, one must have the following skills:
- Patience and Empathy
- Exceptional communication skills
- Sound reasoning and judgment
- Critical thinking skills
- Keen Observational skills
- Leadership Qualities
- Good mathematical skills
- Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills
- Emotional Stamina and Stability
- Ability to make decisions on the spot as well as work well with other team members
Educational requirements for the job of an animal biologist
To become an animal biologist, you need to:
- Pass high school.
- Next, you should complete a four-year degree with biology, ecology, or zoology majors.
- Opt for two or a three year Master’s degree in wildlife biology (this is especially helpful if you wish to obtain advanced positions)
- Undergo on-the-job training for a month or even longer. One can also opt for internships or work as a research assistant while studying. Experience plays a pivotal role in getting this job.
- Get certified by either Associate Wildlife Biologist or Certified Wildlife Biologist.
Sub-specialties of animal biologists
The study of animal biology is so widely spread that many aspiring animal biologists choose to specialize in a particular sub-specialty. Some of these include:
- Anatomy or the study of the structure of the organisms
- Histology or microscopic anatomy
- Physiology of animals
- Soil zoology
- Marine Biology
- Ethology or sometimes referred to as the behavioral ecology
Duties and Responsibilities in the job of an animal biologist
While working as an animal biologist, one is expected to carry out various responsibilities. Some of these include:
- Studying animals and their ecosystem
- Trap, and relocate animals (especially the endangered species) for conservation purposes
- Conduct animal research, census and then analyzing the collected data
- Develop and experiment on animals in a controlled setting
- Collect biological data and another related specimens of animals
- Study various characteristics of animals. This may include how one animal species interact with another, their population dynamics, and movement patterns.
- Write research papers, scholarly articles, and scientific reports based on their findings.
- Present and share their findings with stakeholders and the general public
- Give presentations on their research findings.
- Make use of geographic information systems (GIS), modeling software, and other computer programs to estimate wildlife populations and track the movements of animals.
- Use various software to forecast the spread of any animal-related disease and find necessary solutions.
- Study the disease transmission amongst wildlife
- Assess the impact of commercial activities on the local wildlife
- The job of an animal biologist also includes analyzing the interaction between animals and humans
- Devise new and improved breeding programs for animals. These also include endangered species as well as aquatic life.
- Develop animal conservation plans based on their acquired knowledge and share these plans with policymakers as well as the general public
- Develop and implement programs to mitigate any risk from animals to human activities
- Attend workshops and seminars to stay abreast with the latest trends and discoveries.
- Take blood samples from animals at regular intervals to check their nutrition levels. This also includes making necessary changes to animal nutrition if required.
Work Schedule of an animal biologist
The job of an animal biologist can be quite demanding at times. They work in offices, laboratories as well as in the field. Mostly animal biologists have a regular 9 to 5 schedule, but they may sometimes end up working longer or even on the weekends. Additionally, there are times when an animal biologist may end up working overnight, especially when studying nocturnal animals.
Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of an animal biologist is approximately $72,000. Subsequently, working as an animal biologist, one can expect to earn somewhere between $66,000 to even $100,000 a year. However, this largely depends on your education, experience, and location.
As far as growth factor goes, the job demand is projected to increase by 5%. The job of an animal biologist is quite lucrative, provided that you have an interest in the well-being of the animals and put their well-being above everything else.