So you want to be a Zoo Keeper?

So you want to be a Zoo Keeper?

If you enjoy being around animals, then there is no better job for you than Zoo keeping. Our keepers are responsible for delivering high standards of animal care, supporting our breeding programs, conducting animal training and management practices for all our animals both at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo.

The process of becoming a Zoo keeper may be more challenging than you think, so here are some tips to get you on your way towards a very rewarding career.

Step 1: Get experience working with animals

Whether it is paid or unpaid experience, this is one of the most important prerequisites to becoming a Zoo keeper. Work or volunteer at a veterinary surgery, wildlife park, RSPCA, animal welfare organisation, dog training, wildlife rescue agency, kennel, animal breeder, or animal groomer.

Step 2: Complete certified training

Complete a Certificate II in Animal Studies and a Certificate III in Captive Animals through a Registered Training Organisation like Taronga’s Registered Training Organisation, the Taronga Training Institute .

A large part of a Zoo keeper’s responsibilities is presenting information to visitors, so some training in public speaking or presentations would be useful.

Step 3: Get some experience within a zoo

At Taronga we have a volunteer keeper program which enables people to gain real hands-on keeping experience.

As a student of the Taronga Training Institute, you are placed as an intern keeper at Taronga Zoo to complete the required practical component of the course. Taronga Training Institute

What are standard hours of work for a keeper?

Our full time Zoo keepers work 38 hours per week (152 hours for a 28 day period) over weekdays, weekends, public holidays and school holidays. To ensure coverage across the entire day, Zoo keepers work shifts, such as:

  • 6:40am – 3:00pm
  • 7:40am – 4:00pm, or
  • 8:15am – 4:45pm.