A zookeeper is responsible for the care and well-being of wild animals in zoos and parks. They are also responsible for developing and implementing educational information regarding animals to distribute and present to the public.
Zookeepers observe and evaluate animals to make sure they are healthy; any changes in diet or behavior must be recorded and reported to a veterinarian for further study. Zookeepers also feed the animals and keep their living areas clean.
Becoming a zookeeper requires either an associate or bachelor’s degree as well as some experience being around wild animals, preferably in a zoo.
An aspiring zookeeper should consider pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree in animal science, biology, or another related discipline. Coursework may include biology, chemistry, mathematics, and animal welfare.
Although volunteering at a zoo may not be required by the degree program, doing so is worthwhile as employers prefer job applicants to have some experience with wild animals.
Zookeepers should also have strong communication skills, which are required both in relaying important information to veterinarians as well as teaching the public about wild animal behaviors, habits, and preservation.