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Zoologist Responsibilities

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Zoologists study the behavior and the interactions of animals in their natural habitat as well as the the origin and development of species. They are trained to research and collect biological data to investigate the effects of environmental changes on wildlife. Zoology and zoologists make an impact on our planet by the scientific study of animal's evolution, anatomy, physiology, and their environent. Zoologists are not zookeepers, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Zoologists work as curators, directors and zookeepers. In academic settings, zoologists work as teachers and researchers. Most zoologists hold advanced degrees and specialize in areas like wildlife research or management. Zoology subfields include mammalogy, paleozoology, a study of extinct animals, and anthrozoology, a study of the interactions between animals and people.

What are 5 tasks a zoologist must do?

The Five tasks a zoologist must do are:

  • Studying animal behavior and interaction in their ecosystems.
  • Preparing and performing research projects.
  • Collecting and analyzing zoological data.
  • Writing scholarly articles and contributing to scientific journals.
  • Advancing animal conservation efforts.


Zoologists and animal biologists can work as curators in zoos and aquariums. Curators must have a strong background in science fields like biology, microbiology and chemistry.

Most curators hold a master’s or doctoral degree and specialize in fields like mammalogy, marine biology, ornithology and ecology. Curators should have animal husbandry skills, as well as management and leadership experience.

Other requirements for curators include strong communication and supervisory and research skills. General curators are responsible for the management of the entire zoo or aquarium. Animal curators specialize in the day-to-day operation of a zoo or aquarium and work alongside other administrators. In 2017, curators earned between $25,000 to $107,000 annually, according to a national museum salary survey.


Zoologists who work as directors do not deal with animals; their main duties include administrative activities, like fundraising and public relations.

Directors work alongside curators to ensure that zoos and aquariums are properly managed, and that animals are well maintained.

Directors are responsible for planning and creating events; they also launch new programs and exhibits and develop and plan new policies.

Directors work alongside other staff members including secretaries, researchers, zookeepers and administrative staff. Zoologists who work as directors should have extensive experience in management and supervisory roles.

In 2021 the salary for the L.A. Zoo General manager was $210,909 and in a survey of museums and zoos in 2017, the median salary for Directors ranged between $68,000 and $80,000. The top 10% of Musuem or Zoo Directors earned over $200,000 in the 2017 National Musuem Salary Survey by the Amerian Alliance of Museums.


Zoologists who earn their Ph.D. and have an interest in teaching and research qualify for academic careers. Most universities and colleges hire zoologists with a Ph.D. to teach undergraduate and graduate courses, mentor students, conduct independent research and publish their findings.

In addition to their teaching and research responsibilities, zoologists who work in academic fields can also find employment with government agencies and the private sector as part-time consultants.

Zoologists with a Ph.D. can expect to start out making $81,000 as an assisant professor. We confirmed our estimate by using a 2018/2019 salary comparison of AAU peers where the four starting assistant professor's of zoology salary average was $81,000


Zookeepers are often confused for zoologists. However, Zookeepers are responsible for the day-to-day care of animals; they must also ensure that zoos run efficiently. Their duties include feeding, cleaning and monitoring animals, as well as making sure that animals receive the necessary exercise and medical attention.

Zookeepers work with curators and directors and provide useful information on animal behavior, including their interactions with other animals and any health concerns.

The median salary for zookeepers in 2020 was $26,080, according to the BLS.


Selam Nuri has been writing academic articles and working across the curriculum since 2001. She has been published online at various websites and earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology in 2006 from the City University of New York.