Several careers are available to individuals with a desire to protect wildlife and preserve natural animal habitats. Because of the population growth and pollution that has occurred in the past and continues to happen today, these jobs are more important than ever. Jobs closely related to the protection of wildlife occur in the sciences or in law enforcement.
Wildlife biologists are scientists who study wild animals. Most focus on a specific type of animal; for example, marine biologists study ocean wildlife, while mammalogists study mammals. By studying animals in their natural environment, wildlife biologists help us understand what conditions are ideal for specific types of animals, and which are destructive. Government policymakers depend on the work of biologists when they make decisions about wildlife habitats. As of 2010, wildlife biologists reported a median income of $57,430 a year.
Fish and Game Wardens
Fish and game wardens are on the front lines of wildlife protection. They enforce laws pertaining to hunting and fishing, such as how many animals a hunter can catch, and at what times of the year. They also enforce national and state park rules and regulations that help preserve wildlife habitats. Most fish and game wardens work for state wildlife departments, though some work for federal agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As of 2010, they reported a median income of $49,730 per year.
Conservation scientists develop plans to preserve the natural habitats that wildlife depend on, and then work to ensure that those plans are put into action. For instance, they work with lumber companies to develop sustainable forestry practices, and then monitor those companies. They also look at ways to protect environments from natural threats such as fire, diseases and harmful insects. As of 2010, the median income of a conservation scientist was $59,310 per year.
While conservation scientists work with the government to protect wildlife habitats from natural threats and overforesting, environmental scientists help protect habitats from pollution, global warming and other man-made dangers. Some, called environmental chemists, focus on the impacts of chemical pollutants such as pesticides and herbicides. Hydrologists are environmental scientists who study the ways in which pollution enters the water cycle. Environmental scientists put what they learn into practice by pressuring governments to pass environmental legislation. As of 2010, these workers earned a median annual income of $61,700.