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Wildlife technicians/technologists provide support and services to scientists working in wildlife management and animal biology. The responsibilities of wildlife technicians/technologists are wide-ranging, depending on where in Canada they work. Generally, the work of wildlife technicians/technologists consists of collecting and analyzing samples, operating and maintaining laboratory field equipment, inputting and managing data, and preparing reports of findings.
At a glanceImagine you are sitting nestled in a bush near the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. It is a cold, frosty fall morning and you are at the ready with your pencil and paper, staring at an animal overpass. This five-metre-high cement walkway stretches above the highway to give animals an undisturbed passageway across an otherwise dangerous piece of road. You are a wildlife technician/technologist and had come to perform a routine equipment check when you noticed a group of elk tentatively approach the bridge. Now you're waiting quietly so as not to disturb the animals, taking advantage of this opportunity to observe first-hand wildlife using the animal overpass. As a wildlife technician/technologist, you have been taking an inventory of the animals that use the overpass and assessing how different species respond to the structure. You have come to this site this morning to check the camera equipment that records animal movements, making certain it is functioning properly. You have also come to check the sand traps at either end of the overpass. They show tracks of the animals that have crossed the bridge. You will record the species and numbers from the sand traps, then rake them clean. The data you collect is part of a report on the success of the wildlife bridges that the park is preparing. If Banff's animal overpasses are a success, should there be more bridges like this one built across other busy roadways in Canada?
Job dutiesDuties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a wildlife technician/technologist:
- Collect biological field samples.
- Conduct aerial and ground-based wildlife telemetry surveys and inventories.
- Compile, prepare, analyze, and manage survey data.
- Construct and repair habitat improvement structures.
- Conduct, supervise, and organize logistics for field operations.
- Review land use requests and identify habitat conflicts.
- Prepare technical reports and scientific papers.
- Conduct population monitoring surveys and censuses.
- Collect harvest information.
- Conduct public surveys.
- Produce maps using GIS equipment.
Work environmentWildlife technicians/technologists work in a variety of locations, including: In the field:
- Studying wildlife populations, location data, behaviour, and habitat inventories
- Checking compliance with wildlife regulations
- Surveying areas from small airplanes or helicopters
- Analyzing data on the computer, including spatial mapping and statistical analysis
- Managing databases
- Responding to information requests from the public
- Preparing reports
- Processing samples collected in the field or turned in by the public
- Maintaining and preparing equipment for fieldwork
Where to workThere are a number of places wildlife technicians/technologists can find employment. They include:
- Federal, provincial/territorial, municipal, and Aboriginal government departments
- Colleges and universities
- Environmental consulting firms
- Natural resource and utility companies
Education & requirementsIf you are a high school student considering a career as a wildlife technician/technologist, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
- Computer Science
- Physical Education/Outdoor Education
- Natural Resource Management
- Wildlife Biology
- Fish and Wildlife