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Life Sciences Volunteer

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Keeper February 2017

February 2017

NB: Application details will be available on the volunteer vacancies page of the website when recruitment opens.

For the 2017 recruitment you will only be eligible to apply for a maximum of three (3) of the roles below. This is due to the fact that volunteer keepers are only able to volunteer on one keeping section at a time.
Please think carefully about which three sections are of most interest to you and apply for those only.

Food Preparation Volunteers assist the Food Prep Officer with the large deliveries of food for divisions within the Zoo.

Volunteer Keepers assist Zoo Keepers with general keeping duties including cleaning of exhibits and food preparation.

Volunteer Keepers are accepted into the following areas of interest:

Education Centre/Backyard to Bush

Backyard to Bush and the education precinct are home to many invertebrates you might find in your average Australian home, farmyard animals and


Australian bushland animals. This area plays host to young children, many school groups and delivers many keeper talks and classes.

Australian Fauna Precinct & Birds Division

This precinct is home to Australian animals and birds including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats, and the nocturnal house with possums, bilbys, gliders and other nocturnal animals.

Our bird divisions take care of all our native and exotic birds.(not including those involved in the Bird Show) Birds is the only volunteer keeper role which can offer a six month commitment.

Exotics – Primates and Ungulates / Carnivores

The exotic precinct is a large section of the Zoo split into two sections: Carnivores which include our big cats, bears, Meercats, Red Pandas and others; and Primates and Ungulates, including our Chimps, Orang-utans, gorillas  and our hooved mammals which are our Giraffes, Zebras and Pygmy Hippos.

Great Southern Oceans (Marine Mammals)

Our amazing new Great Southern Oceans section is home to seals, sea lions, penguins, pelicans and all things Marine Mammal.

Bird Show

This divison looks after husbandry and training of  the animals that appear in our wonderful Bird Show. 

Herpetofauna (Reptiles)

This section houses all of our reptiles, amphibians and some invertebrates. A lot of a volunteer’s time in this section is spent in the Bug House. What’s the Bug House you may ask? It’s our Live Breeding Unit that houses mice, rats, flies, maggots and crickets that are all bred for food for our animals. It is a very interesting place with a lot of hands on work and it is a very important part of Life Sciences.

Taronga Wildlife Hospital

The Taronga Wildlife Hospital is home, at times, to all of the creatures mentioned above as well as sick and injured wildlife bought in by members of the public.

Is this right for me?

Food Preparation Volunteers need to be prepared for physically demanding work, repetitive tasks and the use of chopping utensils.

Volunteer Keepers work is physically demanding and these volunteers work in all weather conditions. It can be very hot in summer and cold in winter and volunteers are expected to turn up for their shift in rain, hail or shine.

Note: Please be aware that being a Volunteer Keeper is not about cuddling tigers and playing with gorillas; many areas have little to no contact with the animals. This role involves a lot of cleaning, window washing, food preparation which can consist of cutting up fruit, cutting up fish, preparing meals that may include dead mice, dead rats, kangaroo carcasses, plus washing dishes, raking and … (there is no nice way of putting this) ... poo shovelling! Keepers start work as early as 6:30am so you will need to be mindful of your transport options (ferries do not run directly to the Zoo at this time).

Minimum commitment:    12 months, once per fortnight (negotiable).
Financial contribution:   $25 joining fee and a $79 discounted ZooFriends membership. Please ensure you have successfully secured a position before purchasing a membership.

This financial contribution will go towards covering your training and uniform costs.

All Life Science volunteers are required to complete a one day induction course.
Additional training is provided on the job.

Accredited training courses are now available for those interested in developing their skills or pursuing a career in animal care through the Taronga Training Institute .