A zoologist is a scientist who focuses on the biology and behavior of animals.
The study of zoology focuses on the various factors that affect an animal’s survival and well-being, including evolution, genetics, physiology, behavior, habits, interactions, and the surroundings of one particular category of animals, such as birds, reptiles, or primates, or they can study a wide variety of species, from insects to mammals.
The aim of zoologists is to Understand the evolution, ecology, and behavior of animals, which aims to use this understanding to guide conservation and management initiatives.
What does a zoologist do?
Zoologists study animals in both their natural habitats and in man-made environments, such as zoos and aquariums, and they’re able to get a deeper understanding of species and their needs.
Many zoologists are particularly interested in how global warming affects animal species. Zoologists look at how their behaviors, habitats, food, and well-being are affected by their environments.
A zoologist performs various duties including
● Developing ways to conserve and protect endangered species.
● Conducting experiments with animals in different settings in order to study their behavior.
● Collecting and analyzing data, recording observations, and writing reports.
● Analyzing data and interpreting the results of their experiments and studies.
● Collaborating with colleagues: A zoologist may work with a team of other scientists, including ecologists, wildlife biologists, and animal behaviorists.
● Observing and collecting data on animals in their natural habitats.
● Writing reports and scientific papers. A zoologist may write up their findings and results in the form of reports, scientific papers, and grant proposals.
● Educating the public. A zoologist may participate in educational programs, such as presentations and tours, to share their knowledge and expertise with the public.
Where can a zoologist work in Nigeria?
Zoologists are not restricted to a zoo like many people assume, they can take on a wide variety of jobs, and while there are many career paths within zoos and aquariums, such as running breeding programs, those aren’t the only options. Here are some places of work a zoologist can consider working in Nigeria.
Zoologists often work with conservation groups where they have a number of roles like helping with planning ecotourism projects, or assist in lobbying governments for policy change.
Zoologists work in museums where their jobs often include curating exhibits, researching, and public education.
Zoologists are hired to help develop medical drugs for pharmaceutical companies specializing in veterinary medicine.
If you get a higher degree in zoology, you can become a professor. This avails zoologists the opportunity to teach a new generation while still participating in important research.
People with zoology degrees can be hired by government offices or laboratories to help conduct research, studies, or work on policies that affect animal conservation.
How to Become a zoologist?
Entry-level jobs for zoologists might only require a bachelor’s degree, but if you want to do more specific research or advance your career, you will need additional degrees.
Zoology requires courses in physics, botany, and chemistry. Students should also have courses in statistics and mathematics in order to do complex data analysis.
For you to be a Zoologist you will do the following
- Get a Bachelor’s Degree
You need to begin with a four-year bachelor’s degree in the field or in a related one and can major in biology or ecology, as long as you take the pre-requisite classes that a zoologist would need.
Aside from the basic courses, you might also consider taking courses related to statistics, math, or computer science in your bachelor’s degree. These classes will help you analyze data when researching species and use relevant software.
- Zoology Internships
There is a high chance of gaining employment when you have tangible experience in the field
Getting an internship either during your bachelor’s degree or afterward will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs.
In order to gain experience, an internship is ideal, but if it’s not possible, then you can also look for volunteer work with animals, a part-time job at a zoo or aquarium, or being an assistant in a zoology-related research project at your college.
- Get a Master’s Degree
During your master’s degree, you may conduct deeper research, do a thesis project, and even start your zoology specialty. With a master’s degree in zoology, you’ll also be able to teach.
- PhD Degree
A PhD is not necessary for everyone but with this degree, you’ll be able to conduct major research and lead teams or act as a director for different projects.
Different types of zoologists
- Ethologist: Ethologists study animals in their natural habitat.
- Primatologist: Primatology is the branch of zoology that deals with primates, and primatologists’ study both living and extinct primates in order to understand specific aspects of their evolution and behavior.
3: Wildlife Biologist: Wildlife biologists observe and study the behaviors of animals.
- Paleozoologist: Paleozoologists study both extinct and surviving animal remains, such as bone, horn, hair and soft tissues.
- Mammalogist: A mammalogist only studies mammals. They study the mammals’ natural history, taxonomy and systematics, their anatomy and physiology, as well as their behavior, environment, actions, breeding and all around surroundings to gather any kind of information they can.
6.Herpetologist: Herpetology is the branch of zoology that focuses on the study of reptiles and amphibians such as snakes, frogs, turtles, salamanders, crocodiles, and iguanas.
Herpetologists study them in their natural environment to assess any possible threats from disease and pollution, and to study their behaviors, physiologies, development, and genetics.
- Ornithology : Ornithologist is a subset of zoology that focuses specifically on the study of birds.
- Entomologist: An entomologist specifically focuses on the scientific study of insects, with most entomologists focusing on a specific type of insect.
- Arachnologist: Arachnology is the study of arachnids, which are spiders, scorpions, pseudoscorpions, and Opiliones (or daddy longlegs) – those who study arachnids are called arachnologists.
- Cetologist: Whales, dolphins and porpoises are collectively called cetaceans, and cetology is the scientific discipline that is centered on the study of these mammals.
Cetologists can choose to study any of the approximately eighty species of cetaceans and seek to understand and explain their evolution, behavior, habitat, and interactions.
- Ichthyologist: An ichthyologist studies all fish species and is knowledgeable about their behavior, developmental patterns, and reproductive habits.
Zoologist often work as part of a team and may collaborate with other scientists, including ecologists, wildlife biologists, and animal behaviorists.
The work can be both challenging and rewarding, and may involve conducting laboratory experiments, analyzing data, and writing reports and scientific papers.
Zoologists may also spend time in the field, observing and collecting data on animal behavior and habitats, and conducting field experiments.
With the list of different places a zoologist can work in Nigeria, Nigerians and other people in the country who studied or wishes to study zoology have knowledge of the different places they can work in their country.