Wildlife biology is a branch of study in biology. It includes a multiple disciplinary approach to the study of wildlife, including their origin, behavior, habitat, diseases that they are prone to, and their lifecycle. It is a combined study of zoology, botany, chemistry, and various other disciplines. A wildlife biologist is often required to travel to remote places of the world, facing harsh weather conditions.
An ornithologist studies the life processes of various birds, a mammalogist studies about mammals, while herpetologists study reptiles, and ichthyologists study fish. These were some of the sub-types of wildlife biologists. Mentioned below are some of the prominent wildlife biologists in the world.
» Dame Jane Goodall
Dr. Jane was born on April 3, 1934 in England. She is not only a wildlife biologist, but also a famous primatologist and conservationist. She started her career in wildlife biology, working as an assistant with the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey. He introduced her to the study of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park, Eastern Africa.
In 1964, she completed her doctorate from the University of Cambridge in ethology, with the help of Louis Leakey. She is dubbed as "Leakey's Angel". She studied the habits and life cycle of wild chimpanzees. She was instrumental in learning about the cognition and thinking process in wild chimpanzees. One of her most famous discoveries is her observation, that like humans, chimpanzees also possess the ability to make tools.
Another interesting fact about Goodall is that, instead of numbering the animals under study, she named each animal during her studies of the primates. Kofi Annan bestowed her with the title of United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002. Prince Charles named her as the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2004. In April 2008, Dr. Jane was awarded the Montana State University Medal for Global and Visionary Leadership.
» Howard Nelson
Nelson is an ecologist and wildlife biologist who is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. He is presently the CEO of Asa Wright Nature Center in Arima Valley, Trinidad. He received his Master's degree from the University of West Indies and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, under the guidance of Dr Stanley Temple.
He is famous for his work regarding the re-classification of the various vegetation growth in Trinidad and Tobago. He also drafted laws to establish National Parks and the Wildlife Authority in Trinidad and Tobago.
» Archie Carr
Dr. Archie Fairly Carr was a famous zoologist who was best known for his study of sea turtles. He has written many articles and books related to wildlife, in particular, wild animals. His sense of humor was evident when he had published his book on scientific taxonomic keys called "A Subjective Key to the Fish of Alachua County, Florida". This book is called the "Carr Key". He was one of the co-founders of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, which strives to save and monitor sea turtles in Costa Rica.
» Jeff Corwin
Jeff Corwin is an American animal and nature conservationist. He is best known for hosting Animal Planet's 'The Jeff Corwin Experience' and 'Corwin's Quest'. He was born in Norwell, Massachusetts in 1967. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, obtaining a Master of Science in wildlife and fisheries conservation. He first experienced the tropical rainforests in 1984 in Belize.
Before his graduation, he became an active supporter of the tropical rainforest conservation in Central and South America. In 1991, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly, regarding the need to conserve neotropical rainforests.
After that, he appeared on various television programs and eventually became a famous personality. He currently hosts a wildlife adventure series named 'Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin'. He continues to give lectures on wildlife, conservation, and ecology in various parts of the United States.
» George Schaller
George Schaller is an American biologist, conservationist, mammologist, and author. He was born in Berlin, Germany in 1933. He is known to be one the world's most prominent biologists. Through his life, he has studied wildlife in Asia, Africa, and South America. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1962. He is best known for his research on the gorillas in Africa, during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
At that time, it was considered that gorillas were belligerent and unintelligent. His study proved that they were similar to humans, which at that time was unthinkable. After this, he focused his attention towards saving endangered species and spreading awareness about them. The endangered species that he has studied include snow leopards, pandas, gorillas, lions, chiru, and a type of sheep, known as the Marco Polo sheep.
» Other Notable Mentions
There are many others associated with the field of wildlife biology. Here are some of the globally acknowledged names.
- Steve Irwin
- John Bindernagel
- Eugenie Clark
- Stanley Temple
- Jane Smart
- Tony Soper
- Thane Maynard
- Jay Holcomb
These were some of the leading wildlife biologists of the world. They have helped in the conservation and well-being of wildlife across the globe. Their contribution cannot be overlooked.