The best Government Job Source

Fish and Wildlife Inspection
Significant Points

This series covers two-grade interval administrative positions that supervise, lead, or perform work that involves inspecting, patrolling, enforcing, or providing advice to assure public understanding of and compliance with Federal statutes and regulations for the conservation and protection of fish and wildlife resources. Inspectors:

  • administer and enforce laws and regulations governing the importation, exportation, interstate transportation, illegal removal of wildlife and wildlife products, and the humane transport of live wildlife; and
  • collect fees, and may issue and approve permits.
  • Work requires:

  • nowledge of inspection techniques;
  • taxonomic identification skills; and
  • knowledge of laws and agreements that protect specific wildlife and inspection-related investigative work.
  • Nature of the Work

    The basic titles for this occupation are:

    Wildlife Inspector – Work that involves conducting inspections and ensuring compliance with export, import, humane transport, and commercial trade of wildlife and wildlife products.

    Fishery Patrol Inspector – Work that involves inspection, patrol, and surveillance of a variety of fishery and wildlife conservation laws, and detection of illegal fishing activity.

    Game Law, Enforcement Inspector – Work that involves inspection, patrol, and surveillance of Federal lands to enforce Federal, State, and local game, environmental, and natural resource laws and regulations.

    The wildlife inspector is the primary official responsible for monitoring the movement of wildlife and wildlife products to and from the United States. Movement involves:

  • commercial trade of live wildlife, products, extracts, and wildlife used as food;
  • personal pets and belongings;
  • scientific and museum exchanges;
  • medical supplies and research;
  • art and historical exhibitions; and
  • religious and cultural handicrafts.
  • Wildlife inspectors monitor the movement by enforcing Federal, State, tribal, and foreign laws in addition to international treaties and agreements pertaining to wildlife conservation, hunting, fishing, import, export, commercial trade and humane transport. Work is typically carried out in or around seaports, airports, international mail facilities, and international border crossings.

    Typical Duties and Functions

    Documentation Review. Wildlife inspectors conduct a document review of all pertinent paperwork for compliance with Federal and State laws and regulations. Inspectors:

  • cross-reference foreign and domestic permits, invoices, packing lists, manifests, airway bills, sale receipts, passports, affidavits, and U.S. Customs declarations and certificates for inaccuracies and/or falsifications;
  • collect all required import/export fees and determine applicability of licensing based on commercial status;
  • apply the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora to review and approve imports and applications for the issuance of export and re-export permits for specified species; and
  • maintain a detailed knowledge of taxonomic references, trade names, key foreign phrases, product values, manufacturing processes, trade routes, foreign management authorities, and authorized signatures to use in determining import/export clearance;
  • Physical Inspections. Wildlife inspectors perform physical inspections of shipment contents, wearing protective garments, respirators, and shields to reduce the risk of exposure to contagious diseases from human and animal sources, as well as contamination from hazardous chemicals and preservatives. Inspectors apply an understanding of taxonomic and/or forensic characteristics of a multitude of animal species and subspecies, such as live venomous reptiles and other whole live specimens, hunting trophies, raw skins, and manufactured leather, fur clothing, art objects, food, tissue samples, oil extracts, feathers, or jewelry, as they:

  • verify accompanying documents, any omission or falsification of container labels and specimen tags, and species shipped;
  • assess packing design and materials, animal densities, and food, water, and temperature controls for violations of humane transport; and
  • identify smuggled and prohibited wildlife.
  • Case Disposition. Wildlife inspectors work closely with importers/exporters, customs house brokers, air, ocean, and landline personnel, other law enforcement agencies, and foreign management authorities to correct minor violations; the solicitor for administrative forfeitures and civil penalties; and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for judicial forfeitures. Inspectors:

  • generate investigative case reports for civil prosecution;
  • provide advice in developing cases in civil trials and assist in developing information relative to penalty recommendations;
  • conduct compliance interviews for minor violations with multiple subjects and their legal representatives;
  • contact foreign suppliers, posing questions to foreign government authorities, researching trade and violation histories, interpreting scientific information and data, assessing values, conducting additional interviews, and ensuring proper chain-of-custody procedures; and
  • conduct investigations for gross violations that lead to merchandise and document abandonment, re-exports, seizures, or civil penalty assessments, involving collecting, identifying, and preserving evidence, that may require inspectors to:
  • take photographic and video recordings;
  • take samples for species, age, and value determinations;
  • take measurements of shipment data (temperature, box sizes, ventilation);
  • interview potential subjects and witnesses;
  • house and care for a variety of live animals (e.g., marine corals, tarantulas, tortoises, butterfly pupae, snakes, chameleons, parrots, or fish); and
  • determine situations for criminal investigation and referral.
  • Fishery patrol inspectors conduct on-board inspections of fishing vessels for compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing the nature of the catch and the processes used; e.g., the types of nets used which ensure minimum damage to endangered species. Fishery patrol inspectors are commissioned to make arrests for alleged criminal activities violating the laws of the United States that are concerned with conserving and protecting ocean fisheries, marine mammals, and endangered species of fish and wildlife.

    Game law enforcement inspectors perform a wide variety of duties encompassing the protection of the environment, marine, and wildlife resources. They may conduct investigations relating to alleged or suspected violations of Federal laws.

    Individual Occupational Requirements


    Undergraduate and Graduate Education: that included at least 24 semester hours in marketing, economics, business administration, agriculture, accounting, engineering, commerce, transportation, or related courses.


    Before appointment a medical examination will be made by a licensed physician. Applicants must be physically able to perform efficiently the duties of the position for which application is made. Good distant vision in one eye and ability to read without strain printed material the size of typewritten characters are required, corrective lenses permitted. Ability to hear the conversational voice, with or without a hearing aid, is required. Any condition that would cause the applicant to be a hazard to himself/herself or to others will disqualify for appointment. Applicants must possess emotional and mental stability.

    Additional Sources

    Information on obtaining Fish and Wildlife Inspection positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.

    Source: OPM's Position Classification Standards for White Collar Work

    Download Today!

    Do Your Homework

    The competition is fierce when it comes to finding a government job today, but the best informed job seekers are sure to come out on top. Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process, shows you step-by-step what you need to do in order to be considered for government employment.


    We are here to help you and answer your questions.