Do you want to work with animals while living in a beautiful location, and contribute to a cause you believe in? Conservation jobs are the ultimate dream for animal lovers who are passionate about protecting wildlife and natural habitats.
But you’re unlikely to just fall into an awesome wildlife job. To make a career out of your passion for conservation, you’ll need to work hard to get the right skills and qualifications.
If you want to find a place for yourself in the conservation field, you’ll need a few key attributes:
To get started in a conservation career, you’ll need to love what you do. You’ll probably experience long hours in remote locations in the field and sometimes work in tough weather conditions.
Having a passion for the work you do will keep you motivated to work hard through any situation.
Many people looking for a job in conservation have a high level of education. The Conservation Careers website reports that 19% of applicants have a doctorate degree.
Getting a qualification isn’t essential, but it can definitely give you a leg up in landing the job.
3) Practical experience
Passion and an education aren’t all you’ll need to start your career in conservation. Practical experience is essential to land a job in wildlife conservation.
Having practical experience shows that you know how to apply your knowledge on-the-ground. Jobs in wildlife conservation require hands-on work, and being able to display a practical skills set will put you ahead of your peers.
As well as hands-on experience, you’ll also be able to get a taste of what it’s like to work in wildlife conservation. You’ll build your resume and develop your network as you get to know people working in the field. If you put your heart into it, an internship could launch your conservation career.
Employers in the industry love to see that you already have field experience. For example, an internship clearly shows that as well as understanding research and methods of data collection, you know how to put them into practice.
And when the time comes to send your resume in for a job, having an internship to boast will also demonstrate that you aren’t applying for the job on a whim. It’ll show that you’ve dedicated time and effort to learning about conservation and taking the right steps for your career.
Work with wildlife sustainably and ethically
Doing an internship in this field will give you a better understanding of how you can work with animals ethically and sustainably.
GVI is committed to working ethically with animals. Contributing to animal and environmental conservation means sticking to strict standards around how volunteers and interns engage with wildlife. For example, GVI does not support getting close to wild animals, as this can interrupt their natural behaviour and put participants at risk.
Learning how to minimise your impact on animals and their natural environments is a crucial part of becoming a conservationist.
If you’re drawn to conservation jobs because you want to work closely with animals, an ethical conservation internship will give you realistic expectations of what it’s really like to work with wildlife.
Wildlife conservation internships in South Africa
Conservation internships in South Africa are a gateway to jobs in African wildlife conservation. You’ll learn first-hand about conservation techniques on private game reserves and gain access to a network of professionals within the industry. You’ll also have practical field training on skills such as animal-tracking.
The biodiversity in South Africa makes it an excellent location for wildlife internships. You’ll be able to choose from a range of programs that cover different areas of expertise.
On top of that, you’ll have the chance to travel to some of the most sought-after tourist destinations in your free-time and find out if living in remote wilderness areas is for you.
Let’s find out about the type of work you can get involved in.
Over the course of the program, you’ll learn the necessary skills to become a seasoned wildlife field researcher. These include the ability to drive a 4×4 vehicle, manage a camp, identify flora and fauna, and collect and analyse data.
Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.