@KoiwiGal - Well, I think a lot of conservation scientists are laboratory scientists. They have to test the animals for disease and for fertility and so forth. Often the actual work with the animals is more for keepers or rangers rather than the scientists.
Of course, it's a wide open field and there are lots of different ways to take it. I know people who have gone into animal science who work exclusively with research into meat, which perhaps isn't the idea for an animal lover, but it shows what a wide range of professions you can go into once you're qualified.