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What Are the Different Types of Careers in Conservation?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Careers in conservation allow professionals from many fields to assist in the cause of preserving the environment and creating a sustainable global future. Many different areas of study and training can lead to careers in conservation, including biology, political science, communications, and engineering. Some important careers in conservation include wildlife biology, environmental engineering, and activism.

Wildlife biology careers in conservation focus on research, management, and the care of animal species. A wildlife biologist typically has at least a bachelor's degree in biology, and may possess advanced degrees in a specific area of wildlife biology, such as marine animals or insects. Some wildlife biologists may work in the field, studying wild populations of animals and analyzing any risks, such as habitat encroachment, that could lead to endangerment or extinction. These careers may require months of travel and field work in some of the world's most remote environments, and can provide fascinating opportunities for scientists passionate about conservation.

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Careers in conservation that are related to biology may also include the care and management of animals in captivity. Some zoologists devote their careers to working with captive animals in the hopes of starting successful breeding programs that can help repopulate endangered species. At protected wildlife preserves, biologists and zoologists may work to ensure that the boundaries of the preserve are kept safe from poachers, and perform studies on the animals that live inside the protected areas. Careers in conservation that focus on captive animals often include an educational element, in which professionals interact with the public to raise awareness about the need for species and environmental conservation.

Though engineering may seem like an odd place to find careers in conservation, environmental engineers can play a critical part by ensuring that development is not harmful to the environment. Environmental engineers may analyze a proposed building project to determine the impact on the local ecosystem and attempt to reduce or offset any harm created by the development. Engineers are also crucial to the development of sustainable energy and green building technology, which can assist in conservation efforts by reducing pollution in the air, water, and soil. By creating new ways to develop land and manage energy without creating devastation and pollution, engineers can help humans create a more sustainable future on the planet.

Many careers in conservation focus on raising public awareness of environmental dangers, and lobbying governments to create stronger conservation laws. Activism may blend the disciplines of biology, journalism, and political science in order to create strong, powerful campaigns that place emphasis on the importance of protecting the land and preserving animal species. Some activists take direct action by policing the land and waters to stop the hunting or poaching of animals known to be endangered. Others may try to work in more subtle ways, by promoting an understanding of the importance of conservation in the public through documentaries, fund raising, and informational websites. Some activists work with biologists to present the findings of environmental studies to governments in an attempt to increase protection for endangered animals and ecosystems.

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