14 Wildlife Biologist Skills (With Tips To Develop Them)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Wildlife biologists study wild animals and make efforts to understand how they interact with their environments. A career as a wildlife biologist presents rewarding opportunities for individuals who are passionate about animals, ecology and conservation. If the study of wild animals interests you, it may be helpful to learn more about the different skills required to excel in this area. In this article, we explore what wildlife biologist skills are, list some common examples of these skills and understand how to develop and improve them.

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What Are Wildlife Biologist Skills?

Wildlife biologist skills are abilities that wildlife biologists use on a daily basis to perform their work efficiently. These may include unique technical skills that vary depending upon the nature of a wildlife biologist's work or soft skills that are common across different positions in this field.

Wildlife biologists actively perform tasks like conducting studies on wildlife habitats and populations, monitoring and tagging animals, developing plans for the conservation of endangered animals, restoring ecosystems, studying diseases and their effects on wildlife, providing awareness and education to the public and academic research. Having the right skills can help professionals to effectively complete these tasks.

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Examples Of Skills For Wildlife Biologists

Skills for a wildlife biologist can vary depending on their speciality, location, job title, seniority and experience. There are some primary skills that are essential across the field. Here are basic skills integral to the career of a wildlife biologist:

Verbal communication

Verbal communication can be an integral skill to have in this career. The role of a wildlife biologist can involve interacting with the public and educating them about various local wildlife species and the challenges they face. An ability to communicate effectively can assist them in their efforts to increase public knowledge on conservation and local ecosystems.

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Wildlife biologists interact with various other professionals in the field, such as environmental specialists, game wardens, park rangers, conservationists, ecologists and academic experts. Thus, collaborative skills are essential to these professionals to perform their duties effectively. Good team skills can help them work alongside other professionals in their field to address and solve wildlife challenges.

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Wildlife biologists face several challenges, problems and issues concerning animals and wildlife. These problems may include disease, diminishing populations, challenges faced by local species, managing invasive species, habitat destruction and lack of food. These complex challenges require strong problem-solving skills to help wildlife biologists understand and analyse evidence to find optimal solutions.

Observation skills

Observation skills are integral to the job duties of a wildlife biologist. A wildlife biologist spends considerable time observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Having precise observation skills can help them note minute shifts in migration patterns, mating patterns, feeding habits, population sizes and other behaviour concerning various animal species.

Writing skills

Wildlife biologists may often work on preparing formal reports on their research findings for academic bodies or government agencies. Hence, they require an ability to write clearly, effectively and convincingly. Having good writing skills can help wildlife biologists present various ideas and propose policies that benefit the local animal populations.

Knowledge about local wildlife

A solid understanding of local animal species and their behaviour is non-negotiable for a wildlife biologist. Extensive knowledge about local animal species, including birds, animals, insects, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles is important. This also includes a deep understanding of their diets, habitat, range, hibernation patterns, migration and mating patterns, appearance, predators and other behaviours.

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Awareness of the local ecosystem

Wildlife biologists require an overall understanding of ecology and the local ecosystem and to perform their duties effectively. The work of a wildlife biologist involves improving animal habitats, reducing damage and increasing animal population. An awareness about local ecosystems can help these professionals assess the effects of their actions on wildlife, ensure that their efforts are sustainable and avoid disturbing the natural balance in an ecosystem.

Outdoor skills

Wildlife biologists spend major parts of their duties outdoors or in natural environments. Their roles may need them to perform activities like climbing, running, hiking, walking or standing for long periods of time. Wildlife biologists can benefit from outdoor skills like hiking, camping, backpacking, off-road driving, swimming, cycling, food preparation and snowshoeing.


Since wildlife biologists spend most of their time in the outdoor environment, they require stamina to stay active throughout the day. Their daily responsibilities can be physically demanding requiring them to stand, walk or run for extended time periods. Developing physical fitness and stamina can help them actively follow and track animals in their natural habitats.

Research skills

The role of a wildlife biologist is to conduct studies and research which aid in wildlife conservation and help understand them better. Excellent research skills can help these professionals analyse, assess and understand various aspects of wildlife. These professionals require expertise in academic research methods to help them create compelling projects and publish them to regulators, lawmakers and academic journals.

Data collection and analysis

Collection of relevant information and analysing it is one of the primary tasks for a wildlife researcher. This is a valuable and essential skill during fieldwork, and can help scientists understand and interpret facts better. Data collection and analysis can involve various methods, such as taking notes, building algorithms, using remote cameras, statistical methods and database creation.


Wildlife biologists may work independently while in the field. They require a high level of self-reliance and self-motivation to stay on track and perform their duties well. Working alone also requires them to assess various risks and take care of their safety while working in an outdoor environment.

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Knowledge about scientific methods

These professionals use solid knowledge on various scientific methods to analyse and collect data regarding animals and their surroundings. Scientific processes and methods may vary depending upon the type of information required. These methods may include taking animal samples, analysing genetic data, water testing and testing for diseases.

Understanding of navigation and geography

Wildlife researchers can benefit from a good sense of geography and navigation. When they work within a particular local area, they spend most of their time on the field studying animal patterns and behaviours. An ability to navigate and understand local geography can help them orient themselves better while conducting research.

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How To Improve Your Skills?

You can consider these methods to build and improve your skills as a wildlife biologist:

1. Get a degree

Earning a bachelor's degree in this field is a good way to build the required knowledge. Specialising in subjects like zoology, biology, conservation and wildlife can help one understand animal behaviour, research practices and conservation methods better. Earning a bachelor's degree can also help you secure entry-level positions in this field.

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2. Improve research skills

Improving your research skills is essential to becoming a good wildlife biologist. If you work in the corporate setting, you can explore opportunities to improve your research skills through customer research projects or through conversations with sales and marketing executives. You may also conduct independent research or study animal life in your local surroundings to develop your skills in this area.

3. Find an internship

An internship is a great way to learn various aspects of wildlife biology, gain practical knowledge and build connections. You may enquire about research internship opportunities at government agencies, universities and conservation centres in your area. Internships can help you learn in a real-time environment, develop new skills and refine existing ones.

4. Spend time outdoors

Wildlife researchers spend most of their time outdoors and in natural settings. It is important to prepare and develop your outdoor skills to successfully pursue this profession. Participating in treks, camping trips, hiking and backpacking activities, rock climbing, canoeing, rafting or wilderness trips can help you feel more comfortable in nature.

5. Attend conferences

Exploring online and offline conferences can be a great way of improving one's knowledge in this field. You may look for upcoming events in your university, at various local societies or at organisations that work with wildlife research and conservation. Participating in conferences can help you stay updated in this field and also allow you to expand your professional network.

6. Develop an independent work ethic

Since wildlife biologists conduct their work independently in most settings, it is important to develop an independent work ethic to excel in this field. You may develop an independent work ethic by taking on solo projects at your place of study or work. Asking for more responsibility can also improve your ability to take charge and make independent decisions.

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7. Build data analysis skills

Data analysis is an essential skill for a wildlife researcher. Learning how to organise and interpret vast amounts of data can help you prepare better for wildlife projects. To improve these skills, you can consider volunteering in IT projects that involve data collection or data management.

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