Learn online to be a Zoo Keeper
ACS Student Comments: I'm getting positive comments with notes on things I missed, so I think that is helpful. I'm learning a lot about zoo keeping and am able to see its value as I go about my volunteer zoo work. I'm loving the course. Thanks for the opportunity. Jo-Anna Apelt, Australia - Zoo Keeping course.
- Study how animals are cared for in zoos, and the way zoos are managed
- Learn animal handling and care; and appreciate the daily tasks that a zoo keeper is involved with
- Improve your prospects for employment or career advancement
Course Length - 100 hours
Course Structure and Content
There are 9 lessons in this course:
- The Nature and Scope of Zoos
- Occupational Health and Safety in Zoos
- Captive Husbandry – Nutrition and Feeding
- Captive Husbandry - Health
- Captive Husbandry - Reproduction
- Captive Husbandry - Behaviour and Enrichment
- Human-Animal Interactions
- Enclosure Design and Maintenance
- Problem-based Learning Project – Environmental Enrichment
•Describe the nature and scope of zoos as a source of education and conservation
•Develop appropriate procedures for managing occupational health and safety in a zoo, with a view to minimising risk to staff, animals and visitors
•Describe the nutritional requirements and feeding preferences of animals within zoos
•Determine health management measures required for a range of different captive zoo animals
•Describe the management of breeding in zoos
•Determine appropriate ways to manage a range of different wild animals in zoos
•Explain procedures and techniques used to manage human-animal interactions in zoos
•Identify and describe the qualities of good enclosure design. Develop maintenance programs for different enclosures
Extract From Course Lesson (incomplete lesson):
HEALTH AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT IN ZOOS
Zoo organisations all over the world are expected to control health and safety within zoos as they would any other activities. The prevention of harm to employees and preservation of human resources are in the best interest of zoos as they are cost effective and reduce the chance of financial loss and liability. Most zoos are required to carry out risk assessments to employees, volunteers and other people who may be affected by zoo activities. Risks of injury or death must be controlled and if possible removed. Zoos may also be required under different legislations to assess the risks of hazardous substances and manual handling operations.
Training and Development
Most management regulations regarding employee health are quite specific in their expectations of the role of the employer. Zoo employers should not give work to employees that is beyond their capabilities or that may be hazardous to themselves or others. Assessing the capabilities of employees requires an understanding of their:
• Learning capability
Zoos are required to provide relevant information, instruction and training in health and safety procedures. These are generally given to new employees and again when employees are exposed to a new risk or a current risk increases. This may include:
• moving to another position within the zoo,
• provision of additional responsibilities
• changes in equipment or technology used
• introduction of new individuals or species to the zoo
• following a risk assessment or review of risk assessment
Information that should be given to employees regarding health and safety should generally include the organisation’s health and safety procedures and policies, reporting procedures, skill requirements for specific jobs, training for tasks, risk assessments, potential risks within the zoo, animal-related risks, training on working with new species, dealing with and reporting changes in animal behaviour, the proper use of work equipment, first aid procedures and fire and emergency procedures.
Zoo employers are expected to share information with employees that may effect their health and safety. This can include
• Accidents and work-related ill health of other employees
• Diseases – especially Zoonotic diseases (diseases that may be transmitted from animals to humans).
• Dangerous incidents – such as failure of diving equipment or wall collapses.
Work Health and Safety Practices
There are some general principles that can be applied to most zoo work places to ensure that employees, visitors and animals have a reduced exposure to risk of injury. These include:
• Ensure there are clear and concise safety guidelines and limits for each work task
• Provide supervision where necessary
• Allocate work according to the competency and relevant training of employees
• Regularly maintain equipment in a safe working condition
• Provide safe working areas and regularly assess and maintain these areas
• Consider the risks to the public visiting the zoo when assessing risks
• Provide special provisions to protect lone workers and those vulnerable to higher risk
Safety Issues in Zoos
There are many safety issues in zoos and these will also vary depending on the type of zoo and the wildlife present. The most common safety issues encountered in zoo environments include:
• Slipping – can be caused by poorly maintained surfaces, improper floor surfaces, presence of liquid substances on walkways and inappropriate footwear.
• Tripping – again poorly maintained paths or uneven surfaces, obstructions on surfaces, low walls or fences, poor lighting or visual distractions.
• Falling from height – this is more likely to occur to employees. For example, employees collecting leaf feed for koalas, those working in construction on enclosures and employees feeding from platforms.
• Vehicular Accidents – this is more of a risk in safari parks but can include vehicles colliding with staff or visitors, buildings or animals or vehicles overturning.
Personal Protective Equipment
Protective equipment can cover a wide range of items and accessories. The common aim of all these items is to provide some extra measure of safety against known workplace hazards. Some of the more frequently encountered workplace hazards include chemicals, electricity, dangerous machinery and equipment (saws, power tools), faulty machinery and sun exposure. The effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is easily compromised by improper use, either intentional or not.
PPE includes a wide array of equipment for the head, body, arms and legs. These can include masks, goggles, gloves, waterproof aprons, steel-capped boots, gumboots as well as sunscreen, sunglasses and hats. When working with hazardous chemicals, respirators may also be required.
PPE is important for reducing the risk of zoonoses transmission and avoiding bites and scratches. Many activities that zoo keepers undertake require the use of personal protective equipment. These include:
• Cleaning enclosures
• Disposing of animal waste
• Assisting in the birthing process
• Carrying out veterinary exams (especially of the mouth and rectum)
• Handling samples (such as tissue and body fluids)
• Preparing feed (consisting of dead animals)
• Handling and moving dead animals
It is extremely important that PPE is kept in good working order and is always accessible, clean and ready to use. Zoo workers also need to be aware of the zoo’s WH&S standards and procedures in relation to the use of PPE.
There are various criteria that should be taken into account when selecting PPE for a specific task. These are generally outlined in the WH&S standards. PPE should:
• be appropriate for the type of work and provide adequate protection from risk of injury
• not create additional health or safety risks
• be compatible with other PPE being used
• fit properly
• not interfere with any medical conditions of the user
• be easy to use
• be comfortable
• comply with relevant national and/or international standards where it is used.
PPE needs to be stored in a way that ensures it is clean and fully operational. PPE needs to be checked regularly and should be easily accessible. To ensure maintenance of PPE, a maintenance program should be in place to identify and record:
• Maintenance duties and responsibilities
• Storage procedures
• Cleaning procedures
• Checking procedures
• Replacement criteria
1. Research Zoo Work Health and Safety policies that are specific to your state or country. Try to find information specific to:
• Behaviour of staff and visitors
• Obligations of zoos
• Staff Training
• Animal Welfare
2. Contact a zoo and find out what types of OH&S training they provide to staff. Record at least 3 examples.
1. Write a 300 word report based on Set Task 1.
2. In 200 words describe the purpose and aims of a risk management plan for zoos.
3. From Set Task 2. What type of OH&S training is available for zoo keepers in your area?
4. In a table list procedures used to provide a safe workplace for staff, visitors and animals in zoos. Provide information on those responsible for each procedure.
See recommended texts including a range of ebooks by our tutors and course writers in the school's bookshop at www.acsbookshop.com
Why Choose This Course
- Course notes and materials are unique (written by our staff) and up to date (most revised annually) –our graduates are more up to date with what they learn than many other institutions.
- We don’t just present you with information; we also work to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field.
- Start any time, study at your own pace, study from anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling to and from classes
- More choices in your assignment work –courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you.
- Tutors more accessible than many colleges – academics are hard at work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day, and answering individual queries from students are top priority and always attended to within a day –often within an hour.
- Be treated like an individual –don’t get lost in a crowd of other students. Our tutors interact with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost where needed.. If you find a task you can’t do, we will help you through it or give you another option.
- Support after graduation –We will advise on getting work, starting a business, putting a CV together. We will promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Any graduate who asks will be helped.
How You Study
- When you enroll, we send you an email that explains it all.
- You are given a short orientation video to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given access to your course online, or sent a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- You work through lessons one by one. Each lesson has at least four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- You are given access to and encouraged to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- You are provided with a "student manual" which you can refer to if and when needed. It provides a quick solution to most problems that might occur (some people never need to use this; but if you are studying late at night & have a problem, the manual provides a first port of call that can often get you moving again).
- ACS is known and highly respected internationally: by employers and academics alike:
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been training people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.