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Wildlife Naturalist - PAWS Wildlife Center

PAWS - Progressive Animal Welfare Society
Lynnwood, Washington State
$64,500 annually
Closing date
Dec 22, 2022

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Conservation science
Wildlife Biology
Salary Type
Employment Type

Job Details

Position Title:    Wildlife Naturalist – PAWS Wildlife Center

Accountable To:   Senior Director of Wildlife, Companion, and Education Services

Salary:  $64,500/annually


Purpose Summary:

The Wildlife Naturalist leads and further develops the PAWS wildlife release program, ensuring all wild animals are released in a timely, appropriate, and safe manner in accordance with the species’ natural history, the needs of the individual animal, and permit requirements of PAWS Wildlife Center. They function as a wildlife biologist for PAWS with the goal of working collaboratively with partners to help wildlife return to the wild.  



Based in Lynnwood, WA, PAWS is a champion for animals – rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife, sheltering, and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating people to make a better world for animals and people.



Essential Responsibilities:

In accordance with organizational policies, duties include but are not limited to:


  • Assess the animals’ behavior, physical conditioning, and fitness for release with support from the wildlife staff team.  
  • Ensure that animals are being released back to the wild in a manner which maximizes human and animal safety and following release and safety procedures.
  • Confidently represent the PAWS Wildlife Center program as a wildlife biologist in meetings, networking, partnership opportunities and educational efforts as directed and working collaboratively with the Sr. Director to identify opportunities.
  • Safely handle, restrain, and contain wild species to prepare them for release following the PAWS Wildlife Release manual guidelines.
  • Stay abreast of and comply with permit regulations and changes related to releasing native and non-native wild species. Work with the Sr. Director to ensure all state and federal release and reporting regulations are adhered to and staff and volunteers are kept abreast of changes.
  • Work with state and federal agency staff, parks service staff and private landowners to arrange permissions and permits for specific wildlife releases.
  • Work with and foster new PAWS partners to identify /gain use of donated resources helpful for complicated wildlife releases involving boat, plane or other transportation to the release sites as directed and following all applicable rules and permits.   
  • Identify potential release sites and assess their habitat for wildlife release suitability.
  • Trains and oversees staff and volunteers conducting wildlife releases.
  • Coordinate releases to include wildlife volunteers, wildlife staff, and sometimes donors and media representatives whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Maintain and annually update PAWS wildlife release manual and keep wildlife staff abreast of any changes in SOP’s.
  • Responsible for release, post-release, and wildlife photography documenting some of the work of the Wildlife Center in photographs, writing and video.
  • Facilitate, prioritize, create and/or conduct studies utilizing predefined methodologies and/or predetermined criteria for internal PAWS scientific studies, surveys, and/or scientific analysis of PAWS post-release work. Identify new release research studies and help foster post-release related partnerships with universities, federal and state agencies, and other related groups as appropriate.



Other Responsibilities include:


  • Publish innovative release techniques, pre and post-release study results and be willing and comfortable presenting at local and/or national wildlife conferences as needed and as time allows.
  • Provide written material, and photographs or video for PAWS online and print publications, promotional materials, social media, and PAWS Humane Education Program as needed and as time allows around the essential duties above.
  • Assist the Sr. Director in reviewing wildlife advocacy and legislative efforts for species we directly work with at PAWS Wildlife Center in assessing the biological impact of such efforts occasionally.
  • Maintain and monitor photography equipment inventory and seek out donations and/or best prices on supplies and equipment.
  • Support wildlife staff by providing species identification and natural history as needed.
  • Ensure all wildlife photographs are edited, labeled, organized, and saved properly.
  • Conduct educational outreach and communicate with stakeholders, release site owners and public regarding PAWS wildlife release program and natural history of species, as directed.  
  • May act as a spokesperson for PAWS Wildlife Center to the media, government or public as directed by the Wildlife Sr. Director.
  • Other related duties as assigned.



Controls Over Work

The Naturalist works under the guidance of PAWS Wildlife Sr. Director and is expected to pursue the established duties without direct supervision.


Written performance evaluations will be given after 90-days of work and annually thereafter.



Physical Requirements:


Must be able to lift a minimum of forty (40) pounds, be physically strong enough to hike through rough terrain in variable weather conditions, and able to drive long distances for release work. Work is performed in and out of the PAWS Wildlife Center. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform the essential functions.





  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, in wildlife biology or related.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with at least 1 year of experience in a large wildlife rehabilitation center or equivalent work with at least one year of supervisory experience.
  • Proficient in the use of DSLR (digital single lens reflex) and point-and-shoot digital cameras and video cameras.
  • Possess excellent computer skills, including experience working with various databases and analyzing statistical data.
  • Experience with post-release study design, data collection, and analysis.
  • Must have or be able to obtain a valid Washington driver’s license with no major or repeated minor traffic offenses and auto-insurance with required coverage limits.



Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:


  • Ability to quickly become knowledgeable about the ecology, natural history and behavior of Pacific Northwest birds, mammals, marine mammals, reptiles, and amphibians and be confident and comfortable representing PAWS as the Wildlife Center Biologist.
  • Must possess good wildlife handling skills and be able to work with wildlife in a caring, safe and humane manner and be able to act decisively regarding constantly changing animal cases and situations. Pre-exposure rabies prophylaxis will be mandatory.
  • A self-starter, able to take initiative, organized and flexible, and able to balance concurrent projects and adjust to rapidly changing needs. Must be able to work quickly, efficiently, and calmly under stressful conditions.
  • Must exemplify the values of the organization in all interactions with coworkers and members of the public, including respect, trust, compassion, commitment, and courage.
  • Able to work maturely and respectfully with diverse groups of people and maintain high quality customer/public relations. 
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills, and be able to effectively manage people and be able to provide a positive working environment built on team concepts.
  • Able to communicate clearly about PAWS’ mission, the care and treatment of animals, and the safety of the public and other employees and represent PAWS professionally at all times.
  • Possess outstanding conflict management skills and be able to support the wildlife admissions staff with challenging phone calls or walk-in customers as needed. 





Generous benefits available including health/vision/dental/disability/life insurance, 403(b) with Company contribution and match, paid time off, paid holidays, Employee Assistance Program, pet supply discounts, discounts for veterinary services.




Equal Employment Opportunity:




PAWS is an equal opportunity employer. PAWS employment decisions are made based on merit and business needs. PAWS is committed to recruiting, hiring, training, and promoting qualified people of all backgrounds, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. People of Color and Members of the LGBTQ+ community are strongly encouraged to apply.



Application process:


Please submit a Cover Letter stating your qualifications and why you are interested in this position, Resume, and Completed PAWS Employment Application


To apply visit:


PAWS | Progressive Animal Welfare Society Job Posting | PAWS



Only Complete Application Packets will receive consideration.

Application materials must be received by December 2, 2022.


Note: Under the provisions of the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986, the successful candidate will be required to provide both evidence of identity and eligibility for employment.


All Offers of Employment are Conditional, based on successful completion of reference and background checks.



PAWS is people helping cats, dogs and wild animals go home and thrive – whether home is the family room or the forest. We do this by rehabilitating orphaned and injured wildlife, sheltering and adopting homeless cats and dogs, and educating the community to inspire compassionate action for animals.

Since 1967, PAWS has united more than 130,000 cats and dogs with loving families, cared for more than 140,000 sick, injured and orphaned wild animals, and made the world a better place for countless others through outreach, education and advocacy.

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