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Discussion in 'United States' started by 1956gritsgal, 14 Nov 2014.

  1. 1956gritsgal

    1956gritsgal New Member

    Joined:
    13 Nov 2014
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    2
    Location:
    Vero beach, Florida, USA
    We have a fairly new sanctuary in our area named National Elephant Center. I've become very interested in the program. Elephants have always fascinated me because of their size, intelligence, family and I suppose everything about them. The center has volunteers that once you go through their orientation program you can help. Mostly office and other things like that. What I'd like to know is if I wanted to work as a caregiver what do most places look for? I'm sure everywhere has different requirements but it is just something I'm wondering. Do any of you know, just as a reference, of other sanctuaries who have volunteers in that position? I know you don't just walk in and jump in the caregiver group. I'm not interested in a career but would be awfully excited to assist once I have knowledge and volunteer time to perhaps do that
     
  2. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    10 Feb 2009
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    5,416
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    It depends on the facility. Some small independent facilities may be very accepting of new volunteers working with animals. Larger facilities and especially those that are AZA accredited will likely limit volunteer opportunities to areas other than direct interaction (such as docents, offering education to guests).

    However, each zoological facility is different and it is best just to contact them and ask. The National Elephant Facility is a project of the AZA I think, so I imagine they may not allow new volunteers any kind of direct work with the elephants, especially considering how dangerous they are compared to smaller animals.
     
  3. 1956gritsgal

    1956gritsgal New Member

    Joined:
    13 Nov 2014
    Posts:
    2
    Location:
    Vero beach, Florida, USA
    Arizona, thank you for your reply. If I wanted to study to be a more informed caretaker can you share what those who have a career in the industry have under their belts to get their jobs ?
     
  4. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    It is impossible to get a zookeeper job at any mainstream zoo today unless you have a college degree in a life science (biology, zoology, etc). Above that, internships help (several zoological facilities offer internships to students).

    There are also two community college (2 year) programs in the United States specifically for zookeeping. These colleges actually have their own small zoo on campus. One is Moorpark College in California and one is Gainesville College in Florida (I may have the name wrong on that one).
     
  5. JBZvolunteer

    JBZvolunteer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Nov 2011
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    626
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    The one in Florida is at Santa Fe College in Gainseville. The degree at Santa Fe is more zoo keeping based whereas, the one in California is a degree in exotic animal training.