A zoo keeper has the responsibility of caring for all the animals that are in the zoo as well as in safari parks. They may work in aquariums or in the wild. The best way to become a zoo keeper is to take an animal management course and work at your own pace. If you wish to continue, take the exam and try to get work as a volunteer in a zoo. Some colleges have links with zoos and may offer some related courses such as Equine Studies or Animal Care. The best entry-level position of animal keeper is a job in the Zoo.
Job requirements for becoming a Zoo keeper
A high School education is the only requirement for this job though you can get a bachelor degree in one of the life sciences. A zookeeper requires a bachelor’s degree in any of the life sciences. These include zoology ecology, biology or evolutionary biology. Elective courses may include subjects such as aquatic biology, animal behavior or herpetology. A specialized degree can be earned at a community college where hand-on training is offered. In order to get a higher post as a curator or lead keeper, one may have at least 1– 5 year’s experience apart from educational background.
Students should intern or volunteer at a zoo or a facility for animal care. It is crucial to gain knowledge as well as experience working with different animals. The internship period in a zoo may be three months or more and most of these positions are normally unpaid. However, you can get valuable experience and get hired for permanent positions. You may have to work long hours. Check out the American Association of Zookeepers at www.aazk.org. If a student wishes to concentrate in studying primate behavior they should decide on a school that has faculty in researching this subject.
Qualities required for becoming a successful zoo keeper
A zookeeper requires being patient and confident when handling animals. He should have good observation skills as well as “people skills” to educate people on animal behavior. Zoo keepers observe and record animal behavior, feed and clean enclosures. They may construct enrichment items and administer vet care to sick and injured animals.
Working as a Zoo keeper
A Zoo keeper should display strong skills in decision making and be capable of independent thinking. It is advisable to get a driving license and learn to drive big vehicles such as tractors. They should get a certificate from the Red Cross or St. John’s Ambulance. It is advisable to get a firearm certificate which will be to their advantage. Zookeeper should learn to handle the computer and maintain records. It is also a good idea to try to attend a few courses run by the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust or get involved in wildlife rehabilitation.
A zoo keeper can continue to work in the zoo even if they wish to change their line of work. They can take up management or take up a desk job as a curator or lead keeper. They can take up horticulture, marketing, public relations or human resources.