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Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by mitchwilli, 27 Jul 2016.

  1. mitchwilli

    mitchwilli New Member

    Joined:
    27 Jul 2016
    Posts:
    1
    Location:
    UK
    Hello, wondered if you could help me?
    I am eager to become a zookeeper and have been offered a place on a course doing a Foundation Science Degree in Zoological Management. I was wondering if this is the best route into zookeeping with minimal experience?
    Many thanks,

    Mitch
     
  2. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    5,570
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I assume the situation in UK is similar to USA, meaning there are A LOT of people who want to work in zoos. I used to volunteer at my local zoo and staff said whenever they had a job opening they would get dozens of applications from all over the country for one opening. And this is at a relatively small zoo. So you have to work hard to get in. Experience is a must and since you say you have minimal experience you MUST start volunteering at some place with exotic animals.
     
  3. soona

    soona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    231
    Location:
    Australia
    In my experience, all animal-related qualifications are a great help, but you're going to want to get experience as well. Have you looked into volunteering or internships?

    I'm in the position of trying to break into the industry myself, and it really is extremely competitive. Getting hands on experience is also good for feeling as though you're accomplishing something, as gaining paid work in zoos is likely to be a long process.
     
  4. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    3,782
    Location:
    South Devon
    As a former teacher on Animal Care courses, I would advise you to do some research. Try to find out how many students who completed this course went on to work in zoos and similar collections. If so, did they have to complete any further course(s) before they could work at a zoo? Does the course include work placements? Do students often go to zoos etc when they are on placement (not just pet shops and animal shelters :))? I presume that the college has an animal collection, does it include a good range of exotic species?
    If the answers to all these questions are encouraging, and even if you do well on the course, you will almost certainly need unpaid experience as a volunteer before you are employed at a zoo. It is the one of ways that zoo managements filter out applications from people who like the idea of being a zookeeper, but don't have the stamina, skills and commitment required to do the job well.

    Alan
     
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