Zoo Careers

Zoo Careers: With over one hundred million people visiting zoos every year, zoo workers have an excellent opportunity to educate large numbers of people about the need for the conservation of wildlife and the importance of respecting animals. This responsibility assures a varied, interesting and rewarding career. Relevant training will improve your prospects in this sector.

Here is a bit more information about a few zoo and safari park careers:

Zoo keepers: are responsible for the day-to-day care and welfare of animals kept in zoos and safari parks. Their primary role is to ensure that these animals are kept physically and psychologically healthy. As there are approximately only 1,500 people employed in this type of work, entry into this career is highly competitive.

Wildlife Ranger: some aspects of the Wildlife Ranger's role are similar to that of a Zoo keeper, but the work is based in a safari park instead of in a zoo.

Zoologists: are involved in the study of animals scientifically and are employed in various wildlife and zoo roles.

Habitat designer/zoo horticulturist: is a fast growing career as increasingly zoos strive to improve the environment for the animals in their care.

Curators in larger zoos, there may be a variety of curator career roles including zoo curators, curator of exhibits, curator of horticulture and curator of education.

Veterinary team: is responsible for the health of all the animals and for maintaining health records, treating disease, immunisation and dealing with an emergencies that arise.

Registrar: is in charge of maintaining thorough records about an animal collection. Details such as births, deaths, animal transfer/loan dates, data on offspring from breeding programmes etc, all needs to be carefully recorded.

A career working in a zoo or safari park requires commitment and hard work and it is worth considering working as a volunteer or pursuing an internship first, as both of these opportunities will provide you with valuable practical experience.

Please contact us for more information about zoo careers

Already qualified? Then please visit our Job Board for the latest jobs in zoos and safari parks.

When wild animals are housed in captivity, there are certain ethical considerations which must be taken into account in order to ensure these animals are experiencing positive welfare. The ethical concerns are dependent on the species involved and the establishment in which they are housed. Wild animals are housed in captivity for a variety of reasons, some of which include: 

• For human entertainment purposes 

• Scientific research / Conservation purposes 

• Education 

• Rehabilitation 

Conservation has played an important role with regards to captive wild animals and is the most significant reasoning behind keeping wild animals captive. Many animals seen today in animal collections are vulnerable or endangered in their wild habitats. Animal collections often construct breeding and conservation programs in order to conserve a particular species either in captivity or in-situ (in the animals’ natural habitat). Not all animals that are part of a conservation program will be released back into the wild however. Many species are kept for conservation purposes are considered ‘flagship’ species and will either continue to breed within collections, or their presence in collections can increase revenue which will be used for in-situ conservation work. When animals are housed in captivity there are certain ethical issues which may arise which may cause welfare problems. Wild animals have diverse and complex needs which are not always easily met in captive situations. These animals require appropriate feeding, housing and often need the company of other individuals of the same species. These animals also require mental stimulation through environmental enrichment.