Lesser Known Facts about Zookeepers

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Zookeepers, as the name suggests, are people who take care of animals at the zoo. The job of a zookeeper is very challenging and it is not just about liking animals but also knowing how to manage them, care for them, train them and keep them under control. They have to keep a watch for their health, feed them on time, and clean their living spaces and immediately detect any unprecedented behavioural changes that might be indicative of their bad health. Some lesser known facts of zookeepers are:

  • Zookeepers may not necessarily have to work in zoos but also include aquariums, wildlife sanctuaries and in the wild as well.

  • Typical criteria of zookeepers involve a lot of confidence and patience on the parts of zoo keepers while dealing with animals.

  • In terms of qualifications most Zoos require the candidate to have minimum GCSE qualifications but additional graduation majors in fields of biology or other physical sciences is always an added advantage. One can even acquire Diploma or certificate courses in Animal care and related fields.

  • Other than caring for animals, the job of a zookeeper may involve additional tasks such as answering visitors’ questions about particular animals, monitoring the accommodation conditions of the animals, keeping daily healthcare records and updating them on the computer etc.

  • Usually zookeepers are assigned particular sections or one particular kind of animal to deal with and have to work on shifts because animals need to be cared for and monitored 7 days a week.

  • With years of experience junior zookeepers are promoted to senior or head zookeepers and with an additional diploma or degree, one can easily qualify to become a curator in the long run.

  • There are immense opportunities for a zookeeper not just merely as one looking after pets but to work in education and wildlife conservation research fields as well. Either way, zookeeper’s task is loaded with responsibilities.

  • Saint Louis Zoo welcomes volunteers to work as zookeepers if one id 15 years of age or above. Younger students of grade 2 to grade 8 interested in the programme can opt for the “Keeper a Day” programme.

  • Getting a part-time job or internship at a veterinary clinic if it’s not possible to volunteer at any zoo nearby can also be useful in adding to one’s credentials while aiming to become a zookeeper.

  • Some zookeepers may even be assigned the task of designing and repair of animal enclosures creating the best possible surroundings for the animals to live.

  • Research projects undertaken by zookeepers are helpful in conservation of wildlife and protection of endangered species.

Any animal lover who would love to genuinely care and look after them and are aspiring to become a zookeeper must start working towards their goals accordingly.  It must be noted that there is a lot of difference in caring for domestic pets and caring for wild animals, the latter being much more challenging and difficult a task. They must have a science background and could try acquiring apprenticeships and courses in animal care and management and other application based courses.

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