Career Development

What Does a Wildlife Manager Do?

Find out what a wildlife manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a wildlife manager.

Wildlife managers are responsible for managing and protecting the wildlife in their area. They work with a variety of species, from mammals to birds to fish. Their job is to ensure that these animals have everything they need to thrive—from food and water to shelter and space.

Wildlife managers may also be tasked with monitoring or studying certain animal populations. This can help them better understand how these creatures live, what they need to survive, and how they interact with their environment.

Wildlife Manager Job Duties

Wildlife managers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing public education about wildlife conservation, laws, and regulations
  • Conducting environmental impact assessments of proposed development projects to ensure that they will not harm local ecosystems
  • Creating management plans for wildlife populations to ensure that they are thriving in their current environments
  • Conducting research to study wildlife populations and develop management plans
  • Designing and building structures such as fences and nesting boxes to facilitate animal management and conservation efforts
  • Conducting research on habitat conditions, animal population trends, and other factors that could affect the health of the local ecosystem
  • Identifying animals based on physical characteristics to determine their species
  • Studying the impact of natural disasters on wildlife populations and coming up with ways to reduce negative effects
  • Developing strategies for managing animal populations to ensure a healthy ecosystem with minimal conflict between humans and wildlife

Wildlife Manager Salary & Outlook

Wildlife managers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $55,000 ($26.44/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $121,000 ($58.17/hour)

The employment of wildlife managers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for wildlife management services will depend on the needs of private businesses and government agencies, such as parks and recreation departments, that hire wildlife managers. In addition, demand may increase as a result of environmental concerns, such as climate change and habitat loss, that affect wildlife populations.

Related: Wildlife Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Wildlife Manager Job Requirements

Wildlife managers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Wildlife managers need at least a bachelor’s degree in biology, wildlife science, zoology or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in wildlife science or a related field.

Many wildlife managers pursue a doctorate to advance their careers and increase their earning potential. A doctorate in wildlife science takes about four years to complete and includes coursework and a research project.

Training & Experience: Most wildlife managers will receive on-the-job training when they start a new position. This training will help the wildlife manager learn the specific procedures and practices of the organization. Training may include shadowing current wildlife managers or learning from other employees.

Wildlife managers can also receive training through internships. Internships allow students to gain practical experience in the field they are studying. Students can complete internships in a variety of fields, including wildlife management. Some universities require students to complete internships to graduate.

Some wildlife managers may receive training through the military. Military training can help prepare soldiers for careers in wildlife management. Soldiers can learn about tracking, hunting and other skills that can help them in this field.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Wildlife Manager Skills

Wildlife managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for wildlife managers, as they often work with people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. These professionals often need to communicate with other wildlife managers, government officials, law enforcement, volunteers and members of the public. They also need to be able to communicate complex information in a way that is easy to understand.

Technical skills: Wildlife managers use technical skills to research and analyze data, develop strategies and create presentations. They use technical skills to create and maintain databases, spreadsheets and other records of information. They also use technical skills to create and implement wildlife management plans and programs.

Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are essential for wildlife managers, as they often work with people and animals to solve issues and maintain a healthy environment. For example, if a species of animal is causing damage to a habitat, a wildlife manager might find a new habitat for the animal or find ways to deter the animal from causing damage.

Leadership skills: Leadership skills can help you motivate your team and encourage them to work together to achieve common goals. You can use your leadership skills to help you train new employees, delegate tasks and motivate your team to work efficiently.

Teamwork skills: Working with others is an important part of a wildlife manager’s job. They often work with other wildlife managers, biologists, engineers and other professionals to develop and implement wildlife management plans. They also work with volunteers and interns to educate the public about wildlife and help protect it.

Wildlife Manager Work Environment

Wildlife managers work in a variety of settings, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and zoos. They may also work for state or federal agencies, private companies, or nonprofit organizations. Many wildlife managers work outdoors in all kinds of weather, and some may have to work in remote areas. They may work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and may be on call 24 hours a day. Some positions may require travel. Wildlife managers may be exposed to hazardous materials and dangerous animals. They may also be exposed to diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Wildlife Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how wildlife managers work. Wildlife managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Wildlife Tourism

The growth of wildlife tourism is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity around the world. This is due to the fact that people are becoming more interested in nature and want to experience it first-hand.

As wildlife tourism grows, wildlife managers will need to develop strategies to attract visitors and keep them coming back for more. This may include developing new attractions or improving existing ones. In addition, wildlife managers will need to be able to manage the risks associated with having so many people in one area.

Conservation Funding Will Shift From Government Agencies

As government agencies shift their funding towards other priorities, conservation organizations will need to find new ways to fund their work. This means that wildlife managers will need to be skilled at finding private donors who are willing to support their cause.

In order to be successful, wildlife managers will need to be able to communicate the importance of conservation to potential donors. They will also need to be able to create a strong case for why donors should give money to their organization rather than another one.

More Collaboration Between Conservationists and Economists

As conservationists and economists collaborate more, they will begin to see the value in each other’s work. This will lead to a greater understanding of how economics can be used to help protect endangered species and preserve natural resources.

Wildlife managers will need to be familiar with both fields in order to take advantage of this trend. They will need to understand how to use economic data to make better decisions about resource management, as well as how to use conservation methods to help improve the economy.

How to Become a Wildlife Manager

Wildlife managers have a lot of options when it comes to their career path. They can work for government agencies, non-profit organizations, or private companies. They can also choose to specialize in certain areas, such as conservation biology, wildlife management, or fish and game management.

No matter what direction they take, wildlife managers should always be learning new things and staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends. They should also be networking with other professionals and participating in professional organizations. This will help them stay connected with the latest developments in the field and find opportunities for growth.

Advancement Prospects

Wildlife managers typically start their careers as entry-level employees working under the supervision of more experienced staff. With experience and on-the-job training, they can advance to positions of greater responsibility, such as lead wildlife biologist or supervisor of a wildlife management unit. The most experienced and successful wildlife managers may become field directors or regional directors of wildlife management programs. Some may also become consultants or start their own wildlife management businesses.

Wildlife Manager Job Description Example

The [Department of Natural Resources] is seeking a highly motivated and qualified professional to fill the position of Wildlife Manager. This position is responsible for the management of all wildlife resources within the state, including game and non-game species. The Wildlife Manager will develop and implement management plans, conduct research, monitor populations, and provide information and education to the public. This is a highly visible position that requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in wildlife biology, ecology, and management.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary contact for all wildlife management activities on assigned properties
  • Develop and implement annual wildlife management plans in consultation with property owners, taking into account the unique characteristics of each piece of land
  • Oversee the implementation of wildlife management activities, including but not limited to habitat improvement projects, game species stocking, hunting program administration, and predator control
  • Monitor and evaluate the results of management activities, making necessary adjustments to ensure desired outcomes are achieved
  • Keep accurate records of all wildlife management activities, including GPS coordinates, maps, photographs, and written reports
  • Attend and participate in professional development opportunities, including conferences, workshops, and webinars, to stay abreast of new developments in the field of wildlife management
  • Serve as a resource to property owners, providing information and advice on a wide range of topics related to wildlife management
  • Foster positive relationships with key stakeholders, including but not limited to government agencies, conservation organizations, and the general public
  • Work cooperatively with other members of the land management team to ensure that all activities are conducted in a safe and efficient manner
  • Perform physical labor associated with wildlife management activities, as needed
  • Operate a variety of equipment associated with wildlife management activities, including but not limited to ATVs, tractors, and chainsaws
  • Comply with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations pertaining to wildlife management

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in wildlife management, ecology, or related field
  • 5+ years experience working with wildlife
  • Experience developing and implementing conservation plans
  • Strong understanding of wildlife biology and habitat needs
  • Working knowledge of state and federal wildlife regulations
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in wildlife management, ecology, or related field
  • 7+ years experience working with wildlife
  • Experience leading and managing a team of biologists
  • Experience conducting field research
  • Familiarity with GIS software and GPS technology


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