Wildlife Inspector Career Profile

Do you want to work as a wildlife inspector?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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3 May 2024

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What is a wildlife inspector?

A wildlife inspector is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations related to the import and export of wildlife and wildlife products. Their duty is to ensure that international trade in wildlife is conducted legally and ethically, with a focus on protecting Endangered species and preventing the spread of diseases. Wildlife inspectors work for government agencies or customs departments, where they inspect shipments of wildlife, plants, and related products at ports of entry.

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Alternative Names

Alternative names for a wildlife inspector may include:

  • Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer
  • Wildlife Compliance Officer
  • Wildlife Protection Officer
  • Wildlife Customs Officer
  • Wildlife Conservation Officer
  • Wildlife Regulatory Officer
  • Wildlife Control Officer
  • Wildlife Trade Inspector
  • Wildlife Import/Export Inspector
  • Wildlife Border Inspector

Career Categories

The Wildlife Inspector career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Health
  • Law & Enforcement

What does a Wildlife Inspector do?

Groups of animals a Wildlife Inspector works with

Mammals List Icon OZT
Birds List Icon OZT
Fish List Icon OZT
Critters List Icon OZT
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Insects List Icon OZT
Arachnids List Icon OZT
Crustaceans List Icon OZT
Mollusks Link Icon OZT
Myriapods List Icon OZT
Worms List Icon OZT

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With who does a Wildlife Inspector work?

Besides working with all of the animals, Wildlife Inspectors will need to interact with other people while doing their daily tasks. The people might include fellow staff members or the public.

Fellow staff might include:

  • Supervisors/Managers
  • Operational staff, such as Human Resources, Finance and Maintenance
  • Immigration and Border Police

What does a Wildlife Inspector focus on?

The primary focus of wildlife inspectors is to review shipments of live wild animals at international points of entry, inspect personal luggage of passengers, as well as to monitor shipments of products produced from animals.

What are the daily tasks of a Wildlife Inspector?

  • Clearing legal imports and exports
  • Stopping shipments that violate federal or international laws
  • Verifying that shipment contents match with declaration forms
  • Ensuring that all wildlife imports and exports are accompanied by the required licenses and permits
  • Ensuring that animals in transit are treated humanely
  • Search passenger luggage for contraband items
  • Send items for analysis
  • Liaise with police services for arrest of suspects
  • Administration and filing

Working conditions of a Wildlife Inspector?

Where does a Wildlife Inspector work?


Wildlife inspectors work mainly indoors, but may be stationed at ports of entry where they can move around more freely to inspect containers.

Places of Employment –

They are employed by government.

What is the average annual salary of a Wildlife Inspector work?

On average the income per year is around $45,000. This will differ from country to country.

Can a Wildlife Inspector be promoted?

Advancement in the field typically depends on work experience. First-year inspectors often begin on a part-time basis, fitting their training commitments around other work demands.

The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following:

Intern -> Junior Inspector -> Senior Inspector -> Manager

What kind of difficulties can a Wildlife Inspector face?

The most difficult part is always to work with suspicious people, as well as having to come in contact with foreign substances. They may work long hours and over weekends and holidays to finish work within tight deadlines.

​Future growth and Possibilities

The current growth is good at around 7%.

Availability of Jobs


Which Skills are required by a Wildlife Inspector?

The skills required for a career as a wildlife inspector can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Wildlife Inspector?

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirement in some countries remains at a High School certificate, but other require a minimum of a College Diploma. Senior inspectors go on to study a Bachelor’s Degree.

Study Focus

Majors –

There is an extensive list of possible majors, of which most will either be in animal science, environmental science, or criminology.

Short Courses –

As most investigators will enter and progress through an enforcement Department (such as immigration, forestry, or the police), short courses in criminology, handling a firearm and zoology will be necessary.

Study Duration

The duration of College and Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

FREE Career Path Plan

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

For a high school student interested in pursuing a career as a wildlife inspector, here’s a suggested preparation path based on the provided points:

1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Attend career guidance sessions at school or through community organisations to learn about various wildlife-related careers, including wildlife inspection.

2. Research all of the possible careers:

Research the responsibilities, qualifications, and career prospects of wildlife inspectors through online resources, books, and informational interviews with professionals in the field.

3. Explore Educational Paths:

Investigate educational paths such as environmental science, biology, wildlife management, criminal justice, or a related field.

4. Align high school subjects with the educational path:

Take relevant high school courses such as biology, chemistry, environmental science, and mathematics to build a strong foundation for future studies in wildlife-related fields.

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Focus on academic success to earn a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

6. Learn about animals that will work with:

Learn about a variety of wildlife species, their habitats, behaviours, and conservation issues through self-study, nature documentaries, and volunteering at local wildlife organisations.

7. Align post-school path with either entering a career/job directly, studying further, or starting a business:

Decide whether to pursue further education at a college or university, enter the workforce directly, or explore entrepreneurship opportunities related to wildlife conservation or inspection.

8. Gain experience through volunteering, internships, mentorship, etc.:

Seek out volunteer opportunities at wildlife rehabilitation centres, conservation organisations, or government agencies involved in wildlife management. Apply for internships with agencies such as the Wildlife Service or customs departments to gain practical experience in wildlife inspection and law enforcement.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to wildlife conservation, such as environmental clubs, outdoor education programmes, or wildlife photography clubs.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Join professional associations such as the Wildlife Society or the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs to connect with professionals in the field and access resources for career development.

11. Gain Specialised Skills:

Develop specialised skills such as wildlife identification, forensic techniques, law enforcement procedures, and communication skills through coursework, training programmes, and hands-on experience.

12. Network with Professionals:

Attend industry events, conferences, and networking opportunities to meet professionals working in wildlife conservation, law enforcement, and inspection.

13. Enter the job market, finish tertiary studies, or launch a business:

After completing education or gaining relevant experience, enter the job market by applying for positions with government agencies, conservation organisations, or private companies involved in wildlife inspection and conservation. Consider pursuing further studies at the tertiary level to specialise in a specific aspect of wildlife management or law enforcement. Explore entrepreneurship opportunities by starting a business focused on wildlife conservation, environmental education, or wildlife tourism.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about changes in wildlife laws, regulations, and conservation practices through ongoing education, professional development opportunities, and continuing education courses.

Possible Combines Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping Stone Career

Being a wildlife inspector can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).

You can begin as an intern after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and Apprenticeship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a inspector will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Join the Wildlife Inspectors Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in the OZT Community.

Professional Associations

Still to be added

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards law and enforcement.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:


Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 


Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 


Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Members Only

But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

Join the OZT community and career chat Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a wildlife inspector.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Wildlife Inspector, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

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Career Profiles and Resources

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Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

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