Zoos at the forefront of promoting Global Conservation
Our understanding of the complex associations between animals and
their environment is continuously expanding. Conservation, however, is
not as simple as protecting species and habitats – a global, cooperative
approach is needed for successful conservation; and this is where Zoos
Zoos have a major role to play in helping conservation on a global scale
because they have a global network, caring for and specialising in
animals from all over the world.
Zoo Keepers have the opportunity to be involved in a multitude of
conservation activities including breeding, reintroduction and
translocation programmes, research, training and public education.
Why choose our course?
This course is different to many others because It is an
"experiential based" course; designed to get you involved with a variety
of industry professionals, while exploring the nature and scope of Zoo
Keeping. Inherent in the course are tasks for students to undertake
which can be self-directed to your local area or personal interests.
Obtain the skills for a career in Zoo Keeping
This terrific Advanced Certificate in Zoo Keeping gives you a head start above the rest, providing you with knowledge in:
- animal health care
- zoo keeping
- vertebrate zoology
- animal behaviour
with the choice of four electives which can move your focus from marine
animals to natural health care, animal breeding, ornithology or wildlife
Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Zoo Keeping is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Industry Project Explained:
This part of the course can be satisfied by attending seminars, conferences or trade shows (ie. industry meetings) or through appropriate work experience.
Why do we have Zoos?
With changing attitudes towards zoos over the past 30 years, zoos have had to reconsider their purpose and function. Zoos now have to justify their reasons for keeping animals in captivity. Many zoos now recognise three main reasons for keeping animals in zoos, other than for recreational purposes. These are:
RESEARCH AND ZOOS
Having intimate access to a variety of animals, zoos are in the desirable position of being able to conduct research and acquire knowledge of these animals and how they live. Research undertaken in zoos is an important part of their conservation strategies. It is now a legal requirement in the UK for zoos to be involved in research that help meet conservation goals. Many of the larger zoos are involved in research which covers a wide range of areas such as
- Animal Health and Nutrition
- Animal Behaviour
- Animal Husbandry Techniques
- Visitor Experiences
- Cooperative Research into Conservation of Threatened Species
- Recovery of Wildlife
- Self Assessment – how the zoo can improve particular functions.
Many of these zoos share their research information with other zoos and wildlife researchers. This is very important for the improved welfare of both captive and wild animals as well as increasing the effectiveness of zoos. Research can also form the basis for educational resources provided to zoo visitors and the general public.
What is a Good Enclosure?
The optimum design for a zoo enclosure is not necessarily one that replicates the natural habitat of an animal. In reality, enclosure design is generally a compromise between the needs of the animal, zoo keeper and visitors. An enclosure should provide enough space so that the animal does not feel vulnerable or threatened. Flight distances of particular species should be taken into consideration during the design process. Enclosures should also meet the animal’s physiological and psychological needs while allowing zoo staff to carry out routine husbandry procedures safely. Visitors should also enjoy their experience at the enclosure and hopefully learn more about the animal through observation.
What does it take to be a Zoo Keeper?
The fundamental duty of a Zoo Keeper is to inspire their audience to reach a level of understanding and respect for animals and their habitat that is so deep that they will become passionate about conservation.
If you have a passion for wildlife and are committed to improving the care, welfare and conservation of animals then this is the career for you.
How to build a successful career in Zoo Keeping
1. Recognise where the jobs are
You don't find zoos in every neighbourhood; and you may not always get the sort of job you hope for, in the location you envisaged. The skills you develop in this course may make you into an attractive employee for any zoo; but if there are ten attractive employees trying to get the same job; nine are going to miss out.
If you are prepared to compromise by taking a different type of job or relocating to a different area; you may find your career opportunities are far broader. This course will give you broad skills in caring for animals that can be used with animals in areas beyond just zoos (eg. wildlife rescue, veterinary services, pet care, farm animal work). Often the most successful zoo keepers start out by doing something quite different to what they had hoped for; but through the experience in that other job, they were able to become the most attractive applicant for the job they really wanted, at a later date.
2. Recognise that training is most important for what you learn.
Sometimes, having a qualification can be important; but more often, being able to identify and care for different types of animals, is what employers and clients value more.
3. Recognise that training is only one piece of the puzzle.
Just as a car cannot run without petrol; a qualification in zoo keeping won't guarantee a career, without experience and networking. It doesn't matter whether your experience is voluntary or paid; working for yourself, or someone else; manual labour or something more than that -any experience with animals is a big advantage over no experience.
4. Become "connected"
success in a Zoo Keeping career can be facilitated if you become
"connected". Networking within the industry will provide the basis to
remain "connected", so that you can evolve and adapt to changes as your
career moves forward.
Student Feedback- Zoo Keeping Course
I did the Zoo keeping subject this year and really loved it. I volunteer at a local zoo, and the keepers and zoo curator were very supportive and helpful with my studies.
But here is the awesome part for you (and me). I just had the zoo curator ring up asking for the details for the course, to recommend it to another volunteer. She told me it was a really great course and thinks it is a fantastic starting point for further animal studies. And to make this praise even more impressive, she has a Doctorate in Animal Biology. Very high, and deserved praise indeed.
I will admit, I have never done as well in any study (and I have a Bachelor in Accounting, so I have studied at many levels) as I have in this course. I guess it’s true, if you love what you are studying and doing, you will do so much better at it.
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