Monday, August 1, 2016

You Belong In The Zoo

Have you ever thought about working at a zoo??

The obvious career at the zoo would be a veterinarian, one who specializes in zoo animals. Sometimes a zoo vet will further specialize, working with reptiles, large cats, raptors, swimming mammals, or animals particular to a certain environment. Vet Technicians are always needed to assist these veterinarians, as well.
Veterinarian getting some digital images of a tranquilized tiger.

There are a lot of other roles to be played in a zoo. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Animal curator-this is someone who keeps track of the collections in a zoo; so this person might be a curator of mammals, reptiles, aquatic animals, birds, etc.

  • Curator of Education-Zoos usually have educational programs for students of various ages, who can come and visit and learn about animals in an 'up close and personal' way.
Here is a docent helping educate students using a skull skeleton.

  • Curator of Exhibits-This person helps to create the exhibits in such a way that is healthy for the animals but still allows the public to view them safely.

  • Conservation Biologist or Zoologist-These are scientists and biologists who assist in the management of the collection, and who also do research and concentrate on the conservation of wildlife (being aware of endangered species).

  • Zoo Keepers-these are the people responsible for the day to day care of the animals, including making sure each environment is kept clean, noting when an animal needs veterinary care, and also managing the food for the animals.

  • Registrar-This person tracks the collection and keeps an 'inventory' of every animal in the zoo.
  • Director and Assistant Director-These are the people responsible for the management of the whole zoo.
  • Directors of Research-Research is needed on which animals to obtain and what kind of environment they need.
  • Docents-These are people who volunteer to share their knowledge of animals with zoo visitors.
                         This man is a docent, talking to guests about birds.

  • Personnel and Volunteer Coordinators-These people track the records of people who work and volunteer at the zoo.
  • Operations and Maintenance-Many people are needed to keep the zoo running, which includes the power grids, utilities, security, landscaping for the grounds, keeping the buildings in working order, repairing broken fencing, and replenishing supplies.
Cleanup never ends in a zoo.

  • Special Events Manager-When the zoo hosts a special event, such as 'Zoo Boo' at Como Park Zoo, this person would be in charge of the event and would make sure it happens successfully.
  • Gift Shop Manager-Most zoos have gift shops and need people to run them.
Releasing a rehabbed eagle to the sky

As with any business, there is a need for Public Relations and Marketing; Fund-raising; Accounting and Chief Financial Officer; Membership Managers; and records management.

Check out this video of a student who had an internship at the Houston, Texas, zoo: 

We are so lucky to have two great zoos in the Metro area: The website for the Minnesota Zoo is here:
And for Como Zoo is here:

When you want fish but it's slippery

If you love the zoo, think about one of these careers!

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