I am a Class 12 Science student. I am very interested in wildlife and I want to become a wildlife biologist. What do I have to study to achieve my goal? Does this career have a good scope in India?
Sheril Mary Shaji (18) / St Paul’s Boarding and Day School, Kolkata
A wildlife biologist studies both animals and plants. It’s more common, however, that wildlife biologists only work with wild animals.
Here are some good institutes: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun (wii.gov.in), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru (ncbs.res.in), Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), Bengaluru (cwsindia.org), University of Kota, Rajasthan (uok.ac.in), Central University of Odisha, Koraput (cuo.ac.in), Amity Institute of wildlife sciences, Noida (amity.edu/aifw).
All these institutes offer a PG programme in wildlife sciences. Graduates in Botany, Zoology, Agriculture, Biotechnology, Nursing, Forestry, Veterinary or equivalent science degree are eligible to apply.
After completing the post-graduate course in wildlife sciences, students work with research labs, central and state natural resource agencies, conservation groups, forest industries, forest research institutes, wildlife research institutes, zoological parks, sanctuaries and with private consulting companies.
There is huge demand for wildlife biologists and a wonderful career in wildlife conservation awaits the trained and motivated. But be prepared as there is a lot more to being a wildlife biologist than just looking at animals in forests. All that is good enough only for amateurs. To be a biologist, you need to start making the transition from naturalist to a scientist.
Dr Vibha Gupta, a feature writer, is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications are an attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.