To be keeper for a day is a truly memorable experience. If you are a zoo keeper you can get up close to big zoo animals like lions and tigers as a big cat keeper, or meet and feed herbivores such as White Rhinos, Giraffes and Lowland Tapirs.
As a zoo keeper you will be comfortable with all types of animals including large animals like zebras and small animals like meerkats and snakes. To apply for a job keeper ideally you will have had some experience of working with animals in a practical environment, such as at a vet or a farm. This experience will stand you in good stead, especially when it comes to dealing calmly with unforseen problems.
Being a zoo keeper is a potentially dangerous but incredibly rewarding experience.
You will perform a number of tasks such as:
• Helping with cleaning out and daily maintenance of the enclosure.
• Preparing meals and feeding the animals
• Enrichment activities for the animals such as scent trails for the big cats.
• Environmental enrichment.
Zoo keepers require a number of skills to be successful. For instance they must work well both on their own and as part of a team. Having good communication skills is a must and in this translates to both communicating with the animals and communicating with your fellow staff. In terms of qualifications you will need good maths and English GCSEs, with science preferred and preferably a national vocational qualification in animal care and husbandry.
When you are a keeper there is a lot of training you need to go through to conform to Health and Safety regulations, and to act safely and responsibly, both for you and the animals.
It is also necessary to be able to think laterally and solve problems. For instance if the animals are not behaving in a way which is good for them or other zoo animals, you may need to come up with creative ways to get them to change their behaviour. This is one of the most fun and rewarding aspects, as well as one of the most challenging.
If you think that being a zoo keeper might be for you then there are a number of zoos which run one off day experiences where you can try what it is really like to do the job. Consider doing one of these experiences and then you will have a better idea of whether the role is for you.