Zookeeper job description
If you want to be a zookeeper it’s important that you have realistic expectations of the sort of work involved. While every role will be a little different depending on what zoo you’re working in and what animals you’re working with, this generic zookeeper position description will give you a fair idea of the basics and may help you if you’re writing a zoo keeper job application.
Position: Wildlife Keeper
Reports to: Senior Wildlife Keeper
- Maintain zoo exhibits and off-display enclosures. This may include scrubbing, disinfecting, sweeping, hosing, removing manure etc.
- Prepare and distribute food to the animals in your care.
- Maintain daily reports, logs, training and enrichment records, research or veterinary records, as appropriate.
- Closely observe animals with regard to general appearance, food consumption levels and other health-related issues.
- Report any abnormalities to your supervisor.
- Maintain aesthetics of enclosures. This may include weed removal and mowing lawn.
- Maintain water quality in the enclosures of aquatic and semi-aquatic species.
- Participate in animal enrichment and training programs as required.
- Engage with zoo visitors and answer their questions.
- Deliver educational talks to the public.
- Administer prescribed medications, supplements, or treatments under the guidance of the veterinary and supervisory staff.
- Assist with the implementation of animal breeding programs.
- Assist in the capture of animals that need to be examined by the vet, relocated to another enclosure etc.
- Assist in the renovation and restoration of animal exhibits.
- Assist in the control and eradication of pests and rodents.
- Follow safety guidelines and report any safety concerns to supervisor.
- Assist in the care and rearing of orphaned animals.
General zookeeping skills
- Public speaking and customer service skills
- Zookeeping qualifications
- Excellent record keeping skills
- Computer literacy
- Excellent observational skills
- May be required to drive a vehicle
- A medium to high level of physical fitness. This position may require significant physical effort on a daily basis such as walking, bending, stooping, repetitive motions, lifting heavy objects or standing for long periods.
Personal attributes required by a zookeeper
- Enjoys practical, manual, and sometimes heavy work
- Has a passion for animals, their welfare and conservation
- Has the self-assurance to handle animals with confidence and patience
- Free of (or able to manage) allergies aggravated by animal hair, feathers, fur and dust
Other relevant zookeeping information
- Being a zookeeper means that you may be exposed to zoonotic diseases, chemicals or even physical trauma (though usually of a minor nature).
- Zookeeper salaries aren’t too crash hot (but we do it for the love of it, right?)
- Depending on the exact position, you may be required to work with dangerous animals, and vaccinations for zoonotic diseases may be required.
- Zookeepers often need to work weekends and holidays, and sometimes evenings as well.
If you’ve read all of the zookeeper position description and you’re still keen, then check out what zookeeping qualifications you might need and how to get relevant zookeeping experience.