|SO YOU WANT TO BE A ZOOKEEPER?
Growing up I was crazy about every kind of animal there was, and it was not limited to
the furry cute kind. If it lived on this amazing planet I wanted to learn about it and interact with it. I wanted to
either be a zoo-keeper (to which my father told me in no uncertain terms that my job would mostly consist of shoveling animal
poo, than cuddling with the bears!) or a veterinarian, which consisted of quite a few years of extra schooling after I graduated
from grade 12. which turned into being a Conservation Officer to which I sadly found out was more about managing wildlife
over top of being right out in the field saving all the animals and habitat, to which becoming a wildlife biologist came
No matter what path I chose though I KNEW it would involve animals. I also
came to find becoming an animal caretaker/zoo keeper involved a lot more than shoveling poo. It involves understanding
animal ethology, compassion, having people skills, writing skills, mathemetical skills, organizational skills, problem solving
skills and more! So if you wish to work with wolves or any other wild animal for that matter make sure you get the following:
1) Sciences! be sure to take physics, biology and chemistry in high
school. If your high school offers any electives in the sciences TAKE THEM!
2) Math...I cannot stress how important math will be to you,
when it comes to achieving any animal related goals like becoming a biologist or veterinarian. Take your alegebra, your
geometry, calculus and trig (trigonometry) If math is not your greatest skill get after school help dont allow it to be a
hindrance to what you really want to be.
3) Volunteer and get involved with environmental/animal based /nature
centers /organizations in your area. Some of these faciities offer fun internships to teens. You can add such experiences to
your portfolio when applying for any future jobs. Most would be more than happy to be a future reference.
So check around at your local zoo/nature center and get involved!
4) Become aware of the environmental/animal issues happening around
the world read books, watch t.v programs, cut out articles in newspapers, write school /book reports.
5) Do your research on what colleges and schools offer the best
environmental /animal sciences programs.
Luckily now there are even more
resources than ever before for people who are interested in having paid careers in working with animals. Some of the following
below are but a few available career options, and for the following I list, and many more not listed please
go to this great site
(this can involve training exotic animals for the movie industry or working at zoos, or becoming a pet trainer for peoples
(or Vet Assistant/Technician)
(offering pet sitting services in the persons home or for farm animals)
Offer a horse
program offering horse care/ethology/training/riding courses to the public
become a farmer
Work at a
pet store/grooming facility
Work at a
pet store and become their animal care expert to counsel to be owners of various species of animals
Whatever a young person chooses to do however I encourage them to finish high school and if possible
continue on with secondary schooling to achieve a certificate/diploma/degree this will go a long way towards being whatever
it is one wishes to be in their life. Researching the field you are interested in will help to prepare you ahead of
time mentally, physically, financially to achieve your goals. The following org's can answer a lot of your questions
http://www.aazk.org American Assoc. Of ZooKeepers
http://www.caza.ca Canadian Assoc.of
Zoos and Aquariums
http://www.caza.ca/programs/zootechprograms.htm Canadian Zoo Animal Technology
following for parents, teachers and those looking to get involved with or find careers working on behalf of wild animals.
Zoo Action Canada
Wild Educators Resource Guide
Careers in Conservation!
Teens 4 Planet Earth working on the wild side
Animal Technology Program
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
is a hands-on profession. The Zoo Animal Technology Program is designed to guide both entry-level and practicing zookeepers
to awareness of the competencies, skills and attitudes expected of animal care professionals. The courses are designed to
identify specific competencies the zookeeper should be able to identify, assess or perform. The theoretical and factual material
obtained by reading and study is intended to be supplemented with practicum courses.
is the foundation of every successful live collection. Awareness of various aspects of animal care, animal health and nutrition
are critical. The ability to work as part of a team in a congenial atmosphere helps prevent or deflect stress and leads to
job satisfaction. The aim of this program is to identify and support practices that improve the quality of the zoos from animals’,
workers’ and visitors’ point of view.
In 1999, representatives
of CAZA member zoos from across Canada met at NAIT to participate in a competency profile development workshop to identify
the skills required of a zookeeper. The workshop was a result of the recognition
that the zookeeping profession needed to standardize its training methods and practices.
The Zoo Technology Program is a competency-based learning program which is made possible through
a partnership between CAZA, ABES and NAIT.
They have developed curricula customized to meet the varied needs of the zoo industry. The
The training program, by providing
additional knowledge and developing skills, will serve as an aid to advance zookeepers in their discipline. The training program
encourages participation and leadership by zookeepers in both zookeeping and related professions at both the national and
international levels. More Information
- Workplace Skills –
Communication, Problem Solving and Conflict Management
- Sanitation and Safety -
Safe Zoo Management Practices and Safety Awareness
- Basic Biology for Zookeepers
- Animal Care, Watering, Feeding
- Animal Health and Veterinary
- Physical Plant and Equipment
- Professional Practices and
- Horticultural Support
In order for
the program to be accessible to persons presently employed as zookeepers, the courses are designed to be distance-delivered
using the internet and course manuals for home study. CAZA and NAIT are working together to ensure the cooperation of zoos
across the country for students to complete the practicum sections of the program.
The Zoo Animal
Technology program will objectively measure the level of achievement in the program by participating personnel. Trainees who
successfully challenge respective modules will receive advanced credit toward course completion.
zookeeper training program is designed to service the needs and interests of both the trainees and trainers as well as the
zoos of North America. For additional information, or to receive an application form, please contact Lorraine Zwicker, Program
Assistant, ABES 2000 Ltd at 403-232-8758, fax at 403-265-9368, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
http://www.aza.org Assoc. Of Zoos and Aquariums
Taking a Walk
On The Wild Side and learning A Wild Wisdom!
Opportunities Animal Pet Care
Recommended Reading Material
1) Working with Wildlife: A Guide to Careers in the Animal World (Science,
College and Career Guidance), by Thane Maynard and Jane Goodall (ISBN: 0531164152). “Although
many young people are intrigued by careers involving animals, they often think only of veterinary work with pets. Using a
conversational tone, Maynard presents a much wider sampling of wildlife-related options – from training wild animals
and working with insects to directing a conservation program.”
2) Outdoor Careers: Exploring Occupations in Outdoor Fields,
by Ellen Shenk (ISBN: 0811728730). “Job descriptions and up-to-date information about salaries, employment outlook,
and educational requirements for everything from farming to forestry to oceanography, as well as interviews with professionals
that offer a personal look at specific jobs and insight on day-to-day responsibilities. An indispensable resource for
anyone – of any age – who wants to choose or change careers.”
3) Opportunities in Zoo Careers, by Blythe Camenson
(ISBN: 0844223131). “You’ll find current educational and professional requirements for diverse careers with
animals; discussion of related jobs in wildlife rehabilitation, public relations, and education; interviews with practicing
professionals; salary and employment figures for a wide range of positions in diverse settings; valuable information on professional
associations and publications related to zoos and aquariums.”
4) Cool Careers for Girls With Animals (Cool Careers for Girls Series),
by Ceel Pasternak and Linda Thornburg (ISBN: 1570231052). “Features such jobs as horse farm owner, veterinarian,
exotic animal trainer, and bird handler/interpreter.”
for Animal Lovers & Other Zoological Types (Paperback) by Louise Miller
For even more ideas, please visit the following site!
Animal Arks Site
Unusual Animal Career Series Animal Careers/Animal Jobs
Want to find a
Job working with animals then go here