The protection, maintenance and control of wildlife are something that we humans have done for many, many years and we do have a responsibility to preserve the health and environment of wildlife. Today wildlife management is very much concerned with ecosystems and how a balance can be reached between different species, environments and modern life. We can add or decrease numbers of a population of a species by changing or moving wildlife habitats, aiding or moving food supplies and controlling the amount of predators or the spread of disease. Culling can be used where a species has got out of control and reintroduction of species into the wild has proven to be a fantastic way of increasing numbers of endangered animals and insects. Another area of wildlife management is really a preventative one where wildlife managers can minimise the external influences on the population and its habitat.
Wildlife management is a diverse subject that covers many different academic subjects and areas of work. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject means that both the study and employment opportunities are very varied. Conservation today seeks to protect natural resources including plant and animal species such as fish, wildlife, water, soil and forests to name a few, so it is understandable that higher education courses vary just as much.
Wildlife managers need to be sensitive to the needs of animals and the environment, have a good academic knowledge of natural science, animal care and control, land-based studies and have good communication and reporting skills. Volunteering is still the best way to get into wildlife management along with some relevant qualifications. Because the area is so varied it is a good idea to volunteer for different projects to give yourself more of an idea of the kind of work you would like to get into. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, The National Trust, The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group and The World Wildlife Fund are all good sources of information.
Example areas of study
Courses in wildlife management and associated areas vary a lot. Some courses have a more practical element with field trips and laboratory work, whereas others are more academic with a strong concentration on the natural sciences. You will need to check with the institutions to which you want to apply to get up-to-date information on the areas you may study if you were to choose their course. Typical subjects include:
- Wildlife conservation
- Species and population management
- Agricultural ecosystems
- Biological conservation
- Habitat management
- Environmental science
- Fisheries management
- Land use and management
- Wildlife legislation
- Rural planning
- Data analysis and laboratory techniques
- Animal management
- Marine and freshwater biology
Some career possibilities
A qualification in wildlife management may lead to careers such as conservation officer, countryside ranger or manager, zoo keeper, gamekeeper, pest control officer, animal protection officer for an animal welfare organisation or woodlands officer. Postgraduate courses are available in wildlife biology, wildlife conservation and management and ecology.
What do I need to get on a course?
Entry requirements will depend on the course and institution that you wish to apply to, so you will need to check with them directly. These are a guide to the qualifications you will need to study wildlife management in higher education:
- 160-340 UCAS Tariff points including relevant science subjects such as biology and/or chemistry
- CCC-AAA in A-levels or Advanced Highers
- GCSE C in mathematics and English
- IB 30-34 points including relevant science subjects
- EB 60-70% including relevant science subjects
- Relevant experience is usually required for mature students
- Relevant Access course
For your application or interview, evidence of the following may be useful:
- Voluntary or paid work experience with a conservation or wildlife trust
- A passion for wildlife and the environment
To find out more about the typical subjects you will study, potential career paths and further information useful for your application log-on to Course Discover at www.coursediscoveronline.co.uk*
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