Profession zookeeper

Zookeepers manage animals that are kept in captivity for conservation, education, research and/or to be displayed to the public. They are usually responsible for the feeding and the daily care and welfare of the animals. As a part of their routine, zookeepers clean the exhibits and report possible health problems. They may also be involved in particular scientific research or public education, such as conducting guided tours and answering questions.

Would you like to know what kind of career and professions suit you best? Take our free Holland code career test and find out.

Personality Type

  • Realistic / Social
  • Realistic / Conventional
  • Realistic / Investigative

Knowledge

  • Animal welfare

    Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are: need for a suitable environment need for a suitable diet need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

  • Animal evolution

    The evolutionary history of animals and the development of species and their behaviour through domestication.

  • Animal nutrition

    Aspects of how different animal species are fed and provided water. Different types of animal food, the quality criteria for animal food and methods to feed and give water to animals.

  • Applied zoology

    The science of applying animal anatomy, physiology, ecology, and behaviour in a particular practical context.

  • Signs of animal illness

    Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.

Skills

  • Provide an enriching environment for animals

    Provide an enriching environment for animals to allow the expression of natural behaviour, and including adjusting environmental conditions, delivering feeding and puzzle exercises, and implementing manipulation, social, and training activities.'

  • Follow zoo safety precautions

    Follow the zoo safety rules and regulations in order to ensure a safe working environment while working with the zoo animals, and to ensure the safety of zoo visitors.

  • Maintain equipment

    Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.

  • Administer specific drugs to facilitate breeding

    Administer specific drugs for synchronisation of breeding cycles to animals in accordance with veterinary and owner instructions. This includes the safe use and storage of drugs and equipment and record keeping.

  • Assist in transportation of animals

    Assist with the transportation of animals, including the loading and unloading of animals, the preparation of the transport vehicle, and maintaining the wellbeing of the animal throughout the transport process.

  • Manage animal hygiene

    Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.

  • Manage animal biosecurity

    Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.

  • Control animal movement

    Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal's, or a group of animals', movement.

  • Maintain animal accommodation

    Make sure animal enclosures such as habitats, terrariums, cages or kennels are in the appropriate and hygienic condition. Clean the enclosure and provide new bedding material if called for.

  • Assess animal nutrition

    Assess the nutrition status of animals, diagnose dietary imbalances and prescribe correction.

  • Administer treatment to animals

    Administer animal medical interventions, including the treatments performed, medicines used, and assessments of the state of health.'

  • Care for juvenile animals

    Assess the needs of the offspring and juvenile animals. Take appropriate action without delay in case of problems with the health of the offspring or juvenile.

  • Assess management of animals

    Evaluate the management of a wide range of animals including the care, welfare and housing environment of animals in a zoo, wildlife park, stable, farm or animal research facility.

  • Provide nutrition to animals

    Provide food and water to animals. This includes preparing food and water for animals and reporting any changes in the animal feeding or drinking habits.'

  • Assist in general veterinary medical procedures

    Assist veterinarians by preparing both the animal and the equipment for medical procedures, and providing care and support to the animal undergoing a medical procedure.

  • Provide first aid to animals

    Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Assess environment of animals

    Evaluate the domain of the animal including the quantification of ventilation, space and living quarters and measure them against the "five freedoms": freedom from hunger or thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour, freedom from fear and distress.

  • Monitor the welfare of animals

    Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals' accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.

  • Assess animal behaviour

    Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.'

  • Promote animal welfare

    Promote good practice and work with compassion to sustain and promote high standards of animal welfare at all times by adapting personal behaviour and managing environmental factors.

  • Provide opportunities for animals to express natural behaviour

    Be aware of the natural behaviour of animals and adapt captive environments to encourage this behaviour. This may involve changes to environments, diets, group compositions, husbandry routines etc.

  • Maintain professional records

    Produce and maintain records of work performed.

Optional knowledge and skills

educate people about nature groom animals speak about your work in public train animals design training programmes for animals conduct ecological research