Subject: Marine Mammals and Veterinary School

Al Romero (
Sun, 31 Jan 1999 21:36:46 -0600

At 06:29 PM 1/31/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Mr. Aldemaro Romero,
> Hi!, I hope you can answer some of my questions because I have a lot of 
> I am a high school student from a foreign country (PANAMA) and I'm 17 
>years old. This year I graduate of high school and since I was little I 
>knew what I'll be in a future. I want to be a veterinarian but I love 
>marine mammals (all of them but specially "whales") and I want to become 
>a "marine mammal veterinarian". I know the career is kind of young 
>because a scientist from the Florida University (Vet school) told me 
>that the career exist but that are not many jobs for it. Here in my 
>country, PANAMA, when you finish High School you have already your 
>bachelor degree at Science (in my case because I choose that bachelor 
>for my future)so this will make any trouble if I go to study for example 
>in the US?. My dream is to work at SEA WORLD and take care of those 
>animals by keeping them healthy.

First of all I think you are a little confused about the proper terminology
in terms of academic degrees.  In the U.S. you receive a bachelor's degree
after four years of college work. You should not confusu it with the title
"bachiller" employed throughout in Latin America which means that you have
a high school diploma. Both things are quite different.

Also, if you dream in to work at Sea World or a similar place, I would
recommend you to contact them directly and ask them for
internships/volunteer opportunities. That give you a first hand chance to
better understand that kind of job.

> My questions are:
>-Marine Mammal Veterinary exist?

Not that I know of. As far as I can tell, you enter vet school and then
specialize on a particulat type of subject (like marine mammals).

>-What countries have this career?

Almost all countries in the world have vet schools. However, I would
suspect that only industrialized countries like the U.S. and others in
western Europe and/or Australia have faculty with actual experience on
marine mammals.

>-What Universities I can go to study?

My best recommendation is that you explore universities with vet schools
that have faculty with research record on marine mammals. Usually you can
find in their web pages the list of faculty, their especialties, and list
of publications.

>-The cost of this career?

Varies widely from conutry to contry and from institution to institution.

>-What are the steps I have to do to purchase this career?

I guess you mean to apply to enter in vet school. Usually you need to get
an undergraduate degree in biology (bachelor's not "bachiller") so you can
obtain the basic knowledge required by most vet schools. Vet schools are
like graduate, medical or law schools. You go there only after completing
your undergraduate education.

>-Do I have to go first to Vet school and how many years?

The years you spend in vet school will depend upon the school itself, since
requirements also vary.

>-After what year I should take the specialization and what is the name 
>of this specialization?

Again, it depends upon the school and the way the have designed the

>-Can I work at Sea World (a veterinarian or a whale trainer?

Again, you shoud contact them directly, but there is a great difference
between being a veterinarian and an animal trainer. To be a veterinarian
you have to go to vet school. To be a trainer you don't. You should be
clear about what would you like to be as a professional before embarking
yourself one way or another.

>-Jobs and Salaries?

Jobs are very scarce. Salaries are not different of those of regular
professionals and will vary whether you work for a place like Sea World or
if you want to be in academia.

> If you can give additional information will be great!. Hope you answer 
>my questions soon and sorry if I made a bad spelling but my national 
>language is spanish.

No esta mal. Your English is pretty good. For more information related to
careers you should visit the ed_resources page of the WhaleNet webpage.

>Raquel Miguelena

Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.
Director and Associate Professor
Environmental Studies Program
Macalester College
1600 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105-1899
(651) 696-8157
(651) 696-6443 (fax)