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 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

Looking for a career as a Zookeeper?

The Level 3 Diploma in Zookeeping will ensure you have a good chance of being shortlisted for jobs in zoos and safari parks. This Ofqual regulated qualification has been developed in consultation with zoos to meet employment criteria. This comprehensive qualification studies wildlife conservation, zoo design, zoo animal management, disease prevention, training, enrichment and more. The qualification is suitable for pursuing a career working with wildlife in zoos, safari parks, wildlife collections and other wildlife organisations. Includes 1 week Practical training at Blackpool Zoo, home to over 1,350 animals from all over the world including lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas, zebras, flamingos, penguins, ostriches, owls, tortoises and more.

Reptiles on Tree


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 and gaining relevant training such as the Ofqual regulated Level 3 Diploma in Zookeeping.

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, the Ofqual regulated Level 3 Diploma in Zookeeping is relevant training for this career.


are involved in the study of animals scientifically and are employed in various wildlife and zoo roles, the Level 3 Diploma in Zoology is relevant for a variety of zoology careers.

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:

A zoos 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.


A zoo 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 need to be carefully recorded.

Animal Courses Direct offers a wide variety of wildlife courses that are relevant for zoo and safari park careers. Our courses have been designed in consultation with employers to enhance career and employment prospects.

Feeding Baby Tiger


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

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.