Zoologist/Wildlife Biologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists Career Video



Studies the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Natural Resource Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Studies animals in their natural habitats, assessing effects of environment and industry on animals, interpreting findings and recommending alternative operating conditions for industry.
  • Inventories or estimates plant and wildlife populations.
  • Organizes and conducts experimental studies with live animals in controlled or natural surroundings.
  • Makes recommendations on management systems and planning for wildlife populations and habitat, consulting with stakeholders and the public at large to explore options.
  • Disseminates information by writing reports and scientific papers or journal articles, and by making presentations and giving talks for schools, clubs, interest groups and park interpretive programs.
  • Studies characteristics of animals, such as origin, interrelationships, classification, life histories and diseases, development, genetics, and distribution.
  • Informs and responds to public regarding wildlife and conservation issues, such as plant identification, hunting ordinances, and nuisance wildlife.
  • Oversees the care and distribution of zoo animals, working with curators and zoo directors to determine the best way to contain animals, maintain their habitats and manage facilities.
  • Coordinates preventive programs to control the outbreak of wildlife diseases.
  • Analyzes characteristics of animals to identify and classify them.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Animal Behaviorist -- Studies and observes animals' biology, anatomy and environment and may determine causes of behavioral issues and create plans to manipulate the animal toward more desirable behavior, or to ensure animals are properly cared for in a particular environment.
  • Dolphin Researcher -- Studies dolphins and records data about their behavior and habitat use.
  • Entomologist -- Studies insects and their relation to plant and animal life.
  • Herpetologist -- Studies reptiles and amphibians, for example lizards, tortoises, snakes, crocodiles, frogs, toads and salamanders.
  • Marine Biologist -- Conducts research into the origin, relationship, development and functions of plants and animals that live in water.
  • Ornithologist -- Studies the behavior, anatomy, ecology, conservation, and physiology of birds
  • Protozoologist -- Studies the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife.
  • Terrestrial Ecologist -- Studies the interactions among soil organisms, and between biotic (living factors) and abiotic (nonliving factors, such as habitat or weather) aspects of the soil environment.