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Wildlife Management

The Breakdown

Nature is precious.  It needs to be protected, respected and appreciated.  As much as we might want to infringe on the landscape, habitats need to be preserved.  And that’s where wildlife management comes into play.  If you love animals and are concerned about conservation then wildlife management just might be the academic path for you.  

If you choose to pursue wildlife management, you’ll receive a strong foundation in the biological and physical sciences as well as ecology.  You’ll study different animal populations and learn how to search for balance between their needs and human needs and desires.  Further, you’ll develop your quantitative skills through classes/topics such as statistics and forest measurements.  And you might even take a few political science courses in resource policy.  Expect a combination of classroom, laboratory and fieldwork.  Finally, most undergrads also undertake a scientific research project or two of their own.

As a discipline, wildlife management requires strong analytical and observational skills.  You will also come to find that a facility for math is useful.  Additionally, it’s important to possess a curiosity about how things are connected and/or interrelated.  It’s also imperative to be someone who is capable of working independently.  And, of course, the most successful wildlife management students are the ones who can do a spot on impression of Jack Hanna.


Nuts and Bolts

Wildlife management majors are privy to such fascinating courses as: Introduction to Wildlife Conservation, General Zoology, General Chemistry, Vertebrate Physiology, Mammalogy, Natural Resource Policy, Forest Pest Management, Comparative Anatomy, Forest Soils, Botany, Regional Flora, Silviculture and Ornithology.

Decisions, Decisions

It’s fair to say that wildlife management majors are fascinated by the natural world and have a desire to help preserve it.  Therefore, most undergrads are also likely to study biology, oceanography, marine biology, ecology, animal science, pre-veterinary studies, environmental science, zoology, botany, forestry, equine studies, chemistry, biochemistry, environmental engineering, agriculture and conservation biology. 

What's Next

A degree in wildlife management can lead you to a number of rewarding and important career opportunities.  To begin with, a handful of graduates might become wildlife biologists.  This work often entails working with animals and compiling data and information to help protect them and their habitat.  Many also go into wildlife refuge management.  Here, you’ll work with public lands designated as, well, refuge sites by state and federal governments.  You will likely do everything from conducting research and helping maintain the land to educating the public about conservation.  Additionally, you could work as a range manager, assisting farmers in maximizing the number of animals they can raise without depleting the land.  Other job possibilities include working for a consulting company, forest product company, conservation organization or government agency like the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Parks Service.  And, of course, many wildlife management majors ultimately choose to pursue graduate work in fields such as ecology, biology, environmental policy and education. 



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Don Munce