A nature conservator can refer to two different jobs. The first is an individual who works in a zoo, working directly in animal care such as through feeding, cleaning the enclosures, and monitoring the animals for any signs of distress. This person might also present educational programs for the public. The second type of nature conservator, also referred to as a conservationist, is one who works to preserve or protect wild lands from development, and to successfully manage land to maintain the health of ecosystems and preserve biodiversity. There are many different jobs in conservation, including natural resource management and land-use planning, just to name a few.
The first type of nature conservator, an individual who works in a zoo or aquarium, devotes his or her career to working with animals. Though this type of individual may have received veterinary training, typically he or she will just assist the veterinarian on staff by monitoring the animals; it may be the conservator's responsibility to report to the veterinarian if he notices a sick or injured animal, for example. Cleaning the cages and feeding the animals may also fall under the job description, though many conservators supervise others performing these tasks. Some will also perform observational research, such as monitoring breeding or social interactions among zoo animals. A conservator might also prepare educational programs to share with the public.
A conservationist who works to protect the environment is another type of nature conservator. A conservationist may work to protect a certain piece of land or region from any further development, which is referred to as preservation. More commonly, however, conservationists strive to use land in responsible, sustainable ways, such as maintaining a carefully managed forest for logging purposes. Conservation easements are often used to protect land, or to ensure that it is responsibly managed in perpetuity.
Some conservationists will focus more on the fields of environmental law and policy than on natural resource management. They might work to develop new laws or local policies to protect the environment, such as through waterway or pollution regulations. A nature conservator might also work with local governments in land-use planning or zoning issues, seeking to balance the need for economic development with protection of important resources and ecosystems in the environment. Some choose to work with government-owned lands, such as state or national parks, to educate visitors about the importance of protecting the environment. For people who want to work in this field, there is no shortage of job opportunities.