Today I met and interviewed Dr. Dave Whitacre, who is currently a teacher, but has spent many years as a zoologist in the jungle (click on that to see what he was up to!). He was very encouraging! My mom wasn't sure that I'd want a veterinary medicine degree in order to do field work with wild animals...but Dr. Whitacre says that it's totally something I could do.
A typical day may involve getting up really early, having tortillas for breakfast, zipping into the jungle on a motorcycle, and then sitting for hours on an observation platform. They tried to get into the observation area before the birds woke up! A good biologist or zoologist tries to note everything he or she is observing, and that can be tiring.
Dr. Whitacre says the worst part of field work is that you are away from your family for a very long time: from three months up to a year at a time! He also says that it's very fun, even if you sometimes have to wake up at 4 in the morning. The best part of field zoology is when you go to different places you feel amazed at the wildlife you love. It's a WOW feeling!
To encourage me, Dr. Whitacre gave me a really good book. It's called Appointment at the Ends of the World, which is a memoir by a veterinary doctor who worked with wild animals all over the world.
Thanks, Dr. Whitacre! I am very inspired to become a wildlife veterinarian!