The zookeeping profession is not for the faint of heart. To attain a satisfying career in this field, one must be a natural animal lover and acquire the necessary training and education. The responsibilities of a zoo keeper involve not only the care of animals but also include training and management tasks. The path to becoming a zoo keeper is not as easy as some may think.
In the United States, one of the longest-serving zoo keepers at the National Zoo retired after thirty-nine years in the business. Throughout his career, David Kessler had worked with a variety of animals. But he favored working with small animals more. According to Kessler, the work is primarily about observing animals in addition to taking care of their needs. Kessler career started out as a biologist. However, his love for taking care of animals led him to his work at the zoo. The following tips can help anyone achieve what Kessler has done.
According to experts from zoo keeping, experience working with animals is a necessity. In most cases, people looking for experience may not get paid at all. However, the experience gained will be well worth their trouble as it will provide them with the necessary practical training they will need to cope with work in a zoo. The common training grounds include volunteering at a veterinary clinic or at an animal welfare organization or working as an animal groomer.
Proper certification is also necessary after carrying out apprenticeship. Trainees looking to get further in this line of business are advised to take up a zoo keeping. These certificate courses offer an extensive curriculum that includes occupational health and safety in zoos as well as an understanding of animal welfare and management. This knowledge is essential when working in zoos as part of the work also involves educating visitors about animals and the conservation efforts taken to protect them.
In Australia, it seems it is never too early to get started on a career as a zookeeper. The Australia Zoo has created a program ideal for young animal lovers called Australia Zoo’s Zookeeper for a Day program. Intended for kids aged seven and above, the zoo has developed specific programs targeting different age groups.
For more mature age groups looking for quality programs, a number of reputable distance education providers now offer zoo keeping online courses. The online classes are at par with the zoo keeper courses provided at brick and mortar institutions.