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In-Depth Jobs

Volume-31, 28 October-3 November, 2017

Careers in Zoology

Usha Albuquerque &
Nidhi Prasad 

Do you love animals and got a passion for wildlife? Are you hooked on to National Geographic and Discovery Channels? Zoology might just be the best career option for you!
Zoology, a branch of biology, is the scientific study of animals including protozoa, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. In simple words, Zoology is the study of animal life throughout the world.It is a science that involves the study of the animal kingdom, both living and extinct. The subject includes the study of a variety of topics including natural selection and its impact on behaviour, entomology - the study of insects, cell biology and the ecosystem - problems of rainforest destruction, for example. It also covers areas ranging from the structure of organisms to the sub-cellular unit of life.
Those specialising in this field are called Zoologists. Zoologists study animal behaviors, species characteristics, and evolutionary trends in animals. Zoologists are also called animal biologists or scientists, as zoology is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom. Zoologists analyze the structure, life processes, physiology, and classification of different species in detail. They also analyze how different animals interact with each other and adapt to their environments.Zoologists, as a result, are also referred to as Animal Scientists.
 Their role includes:
*Recognizing, classifying, recording and monitoring animal species
*Collecting data and
interpreting it
*Employing complex
procedures, for example, computerized molecular and cellular analysis, and in-vitro fertilization
*Executing field and laboratory research findings
*Studying animals in their natural environment or in captivity
*Generating comprehensive technical reports
*Presenting and publishing information in journals and books
*Supervising technicians
Anyone with a genuine interest and love for animals and wildlife can pursue a career as a professional Zoologist. Career as zoologist is an attractive option for those, who love to spend time with nature. There are several specializations in zoology-
*taxonomists are mostly concerned with naming and classification of animal species,
*physiologists study the metabolic processes of animals
*embryologists focus on the early stages of animals.
*Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians
You can also specialize in one animal group, as per your interest. For example,
*ornithologists deal with birds,
*ichthyologists study fishes
*mammalogists deal with mammals and so on.
Most Universities in India offer Masters degree courses in Zoology at MSc, MPhil and PhD levels. For the entry, the students should possess a Bachelor’s degree with Zoology as principal subject or with Microbiology / Botany / Chemistry / Physics as Principal Subject and Zoology as subsidiary subject or BSc (First Class) of any university in Zoology / Life Sciences / Biological Sciences.
At the Masters level, students may study subjects like scientific writing, quantitative methods in Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetic Engineering, Immunology, Drosophila Genetics, Biochemical Techniques, Genetic Toxicology, Endocrinology, Developmental Genetics, Insect Physiology & Biochemistry, Microbial Genetics, Physiology of Mammalian Reproduction, Tissue Culture etc
There are various courses offered in Zoology
*Bachelor of Science in Zoology
*Bachelor of Science in
Bio-technology, Zoology and Chemistry
*Bachelor of Science in Botany, Zoology and
*Master of Science in Marine Zoology
*Master of Science in Zoology with specializations in Medical Microbiology
*Master of Science in Zoology
*Master of Philosophy in Zoology
*Doctor of Philosophy in Zoology
One can specialize in various fields within zoology; some of them are listed as follows : Arachnology, Entomology, Arthropodology,
Apiology, Cetology, Anthrozoology, Ethology and many more . 
Skills required
A Zoologist needs :
A zoologist must possess a scientific temperament and be compassionate towards animals.
*An interest in animal and the environment.
*Problem solving skills.
*Practical skills.
*The ability to plan research, analyze and interpret data.
*The ability to carry out detailed work accurately.
*An aptitude for science,
particularly biology and chemistry
*Strong communication and IT skills.
*The ability to work as a part of a multi-disciplinary team.
*Patience and ability to
concentrate for long periods.
Inter-personal, communication and managerial skills will be an added asset.
Zoology as a career has a number of specializations because of which the students are presented with a plethora of career options once they chose to be associated with this field. This field is concerned with the preservation and management of the animal kingdom and a career in it would mean that you are a part of that responsibility.
Since zoology is both descriptive and analytical, it can be approached either as a basic science or as an applied science. A worker in basic zoology is interested in knowledge of animals for its own sake, while workers in applied zoology would be interested in information that will directly benefit humans.
Some of the organizations that hire people who have studied Zoology, are Zoos, Wildlife services, Botanical Gardens, Conservation organizations, National parks, Nature reserves, Universities, laboratories etc. Various options available for zoologists are:
Zookeeper/ Zoo Curator/
National Parks/ Wildlife Sanctuary Managers
They manage zoos and aquariums. They oversee activities ranging from preparing meals, administrating care, cleaning their enclosures, and monitoring animal behaviour. They may also help in the acquisition or breeding of animals in zoos, or wildlife parks, and take care of the legal and regulatory aspects related to this.
Animal and Wildlife Educator
They can help wildlife parks, sanctuaries, aquariums and museums create education literature like brochures, videos, guided tours or exhibits.
Career Path
Study Route 1
Clear Class XII with Science Stream with Biology
Pursue B.Sc. (Hons)Zoology or B.Sc.(Hons) Life Sciences or B.Sc. (Hons) Biological Sciences for 3 years
After Graduation
Zoology or M.Sc in Life Sciences for 2 years
After Post Graduation
Pursue M.Sc. for 3-5 years 
Study Route 2
Clear Class XII with Science Stream with Biology
Pursue B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology or B.Sc. (Hons) Life Sciences or B.Sc. (Hons) in Biological
After Graduation
Pursue Diploma/PG Diploma in Zoology for 1-2 years
Wildlife Rehabilitator
These zoologists help in times of environmental emergencies and natural disasters like bushfires, oil spills etc. Wildlife rehabilitation involves caring and nursing of ill, injured or orphaned wild animals, which are eventually released back into their natural habitat, once they recover.
Animal Behaviourist
Animal Behaviourists are usually trained in Ethology, the study of animal behaviour and hence, they can train zoologists and other zoo employees to interact better with animals.
Large number of zoologist work in animal research, studying the nutrition, breeding, behavior, and management of domesticated and wild animals. There are many government research organizations conducting a variety of studies, such as the Zoological Survey of India, the Indian Council for Forestry Research & Education, or the Wildlife Institute, Dehra Dun,  as well as medical research establishments where continuous experimentation goes on.
Environment & Ecology
Zoologists can work in the area of the environment and ecology, to protect natural resources and minimize harm to plant and animal populations. The study of wild animals helps us learn to coexist with them and to preserve endangered species.
Chemical and pharmaceutical Industry
Zoologists also work in chemical or pharmaceutical companies or industrial organizations to test the effects of a pesticide or fertilizer on animals or humans, ways to produce healthier animals and more animals for our food supply, or ways to increase fish farming. In the pharmaceutical sector, zoologists with specialization in microbiology study microbes and organisms that cause diseases (in humans, animals as well as plants), evaluating antibiotics and developing vaccines, and manufacturing drugs.
Film and media
Zoologists also work in creative fields and the news media. They are writers, photographers, or illustrators, and documentary filmmakers. Channels like National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel are in constant need of Zoologists for research and documentaries.
Government service
The option of joining either the IFS (Indian Forest Service) or the State Forest Service (SFS) is also available for a zoology graduate. The Indian Forest Service enables you to work protecting the reserved forests and wildlife sanctuaries.
Some of the Colleges offering courses in Zoology
 Loyola College-Chennai-www.loyolacollege.edu
 St. Xavier's College-Mumbai-www.xaviers.edu/main
 Christ University-Bangalore-www.christuniversity.in
 Madras Christian College-Chennai-www.mcc.edu.in
 The Oxford College of Science –Bangalore-www.theoxford.edu
Stella Maris College-Chennai-www.stellamariscollege.org
 Fergusson College-Pune-www.fergusson.edu
 Hansraj College-Delhi-www.hansrajcollege.co.in
 Presidency College-Chennai-www.presidencychennai.com
 Miranda House                -Delhi-www.mirandahouse.ac.in
 Gargi College-Delhi-www.gargi.du.ac.in
 St Joseph's College-Calicut-www.sjc.ac.in
 Hindu College-Delhi-www.hinducollege.org
 Ethiraj College For Women-Chennai-www.ethirajcollege.in
 St. Xavier's College-Kolkata-www.sxccal.edu
 St. Albert's College-Kerala-www.alberts.ac.in
Jobs directly related to Zoology degree includes:
*Environmental consultant.
*Field trials officer.
*Marine scientist.
*Nature conservation officer.
*Physician associate.
*Science journalism
*Patent attorney
Any career in the this  field requires a passion and a willingness to work hard, patiently and consistently. Effective communication skills — both written and verbal, and an active interest in outdoor activities is also a huge advantage in this field. Those who wish to join this field and without the requisite academic background, can help to get a foot in the door through volunteer work. There are many organisations that will take on volunteers, and non-government organisations (NGOs) are frequently looking for volunteer help, so try it out - the experience will not only prepare you for the career ahead, but stand you in good stead with prospective employers.
(Usha Albuquerque is Director & Nidhi Prasad is Senior Counseling Psychologist at Careers Smart Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi. e-mail : careerssmartonline@gmail.com)
Views expressed are personal.
Image: Courtesy Google