Hello. I'm in my sophmore year of highschool, but have a strong knowledge of what I want from my future.

The only problem is that I don't know how to get there.

I'm extremely interested in working with big cats, whether it's training, conservation, studying, or anything else.

I do want to work directly with the beautiful animals.

I'm looking into colleges, but am lost at where to begin looking for schools excelling in such programs.

Are there any schools particularily good on this subject?

Hi Kaylen,

My two tips would be to: 1) Look out for the authors of books on big cats that you like and see if they are based at a college/university (I don't personally know of any particular institution, although others on this site might) and, 2) Volunteer at a local zoo that has big cats (there is no substitute for experience, but paid work will be hard to come by.

You might also consider saving up to attend a conservation program (just type "conservation big cats volunteers" or similar into google and you should see plenty of examples). This will give you invaluable experience of big cats in the wild, but sadly it is far easier to get if you are rich enough to afford it.

You should be aware that it will be tough, but gathering as much experience as possible will greatly improve your chances.

Good luck!

I would add that while many zoos take on volunteers, I would be very surprised if any allowed you to work with big cats. THese are inherently dangerous animlas and safety aside, the insurance costs of allowing non-prefessionals to work with these animals is often prohibitive to zoos.

However, any experience with working with exotic animals and getting the experience of animal husbandry and handling is a huge advantage when trying to get into this line of work. Do get whatever experience you can from zoos, wildlife parks, vets or animal rescue stations.

Good luck and enjoy the work, it is often hard but in my experience very rewarding.