Children with a passion for nature and a love of animals often want to work with animals when they grow up. While some look forward to helping sick or injured animals, others want to educate the public about them or defend their rights. From studying their habits to preserving habitats, children who want a future working with animals have many options to consider.
When children think of working with animals, the job of veterinarian is probably one of the first that comes to mind. Many animal doctors take care of pets or small animals like dogs and cats in animal shelters, while others care for horses, cattle and other livestock. Some though help injured or sick wild animals that are brought into wildlife sanctuaries for care until they are well enough to be released. Other veterinarians work in zoos or aquariums where they not only help keep the animals healthy but also work on special project such as breeding programs for endangered species. Humane Society University recommends that children interested in a career as a veterinarian prepare by taking science and math courses in school.
Zoos and Aquariums
Zookeepers feed and care for animals each day while working to keep their living environments clean and safe. Keepers must know about animal behavior and nutrition and need to have strong observation and record-keeping skills. Many zookeepers are also educators, teaching visitors about the animals they care for. Other zoo jobs working with animals include animal curators, who coordinate which animals are housed in the zoo, plan for future exhibits or work on partnerships with other zoos and aquariums in breeding programs. There are many hands-on educational and volunteer programs as well as day camps for children interested in zoo careers.
Wherever there are people, there is a risk that interaction between humans and wildlife could result in sick or injured animals. Wildlife rehabilitation centers help these animals. Careers working in rehabilitative wildlife services include providing medical care for animals while they recover from illness or injury and later released back into the wild. Sometimes, if an animal is no longer able to care for itself, an animal rehabilitation center may provide a permanent home. Caretakers, or keepers, care for these animals that are housed in displays used to educate the public about local wildlife. Other jobs involve capturing and relocating wildlife to safer environments with fewer humans and conducting wildlife educational programs for the community.
Wildlife Protection and Conservation
National and state parks and wildlife preserves hold many career opportunities for children interested in working with animals to consider. Wildlife and marine biologists study animals and fish as well as their habitats. Environmental scientists research and investigate questions and concerns with the environment, fish and wildlife technicians and wildlife interpreters care for habitats, collect data and educate the public about wildlife, their habitats and the environment.
- Humane Society University: Careers in Veterinary Medicine
- National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association: Types of Jobs
- Animal Behavior Institute: Zoo and Aquarium Science
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Careers
- Humane Society University: Especially for Youth
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