Conservation Ecologist



OFO No: 213301





Other names for Conservation Ecologist:

Animal Ecologist
Conservancy Advisory Scientist
Conservation Officer
Ecological Researcher
Fish and Games Officer
Fisheries Advisor
Forestry Conservationist
Species Protection Officer

What is a Conservation Ecologist?

Conservation Ecologists are responsible for putting into practice systems and programmes to manage and protect our environment (animals and plant populations).

Conservation Ecologists usually specialise in a particular field, for example:

  • wildlife
  • plants
  • animals
  • fish
  • birds etc

What does a Conservation Ecologist do?

  • conducts research both outdoors and in a laboratory
  • studies the relationships between organisms in the environment or in their habitat
  • studies how plants or animals develop, grow and die
  • studies ways to conserve and protect our environment (plants and animals)
  • develops solutions to combat environmental problems
  • manages, monitors and restores eco-systems
  • teaches students and increase public awareness
  • writes and publishes conservation articles
  • conducts outreach programmes in local communities

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in protecting our environment?
  • passionate about nature?
  • scientifically astute?
  • dedicated?
  • willing to do research?
  • a person who loves the outdoors?
  • willing to work in remote areas?
  • thorough and methodical?

How do I become a Conservation Ecologist?

You usually start by doing a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Zoology or Ecology at one of our local universities. Check your local university to see if they offer this degree.

Once you’ve completed your BSc, you would continue with a postgrad qualification and specialise in a particular field such as Conservation Ecology, Nature Conservation, Conservation Biology etc. Different universities offer different courses.

Here are some other paths to consider:


National Diploma in Nature Conservation

Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Nature Conservation

  • Mangosuthu University of Technology
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Tshwane University of Technology


Bachelor of Science in Conservation Ecology

  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of Venda
  • University of Western Cape
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • University of Zululand


Bachelor of Science in Ecological Sciences

  • University of KZN


Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences

  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of KZN
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Venda
  • University of Western Cape


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Ecologist … or … Forester

Is becoming a Conservation Ecologist the right career choice for me?