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A zookeeper manages animals that are held captive in a zoo. Zookeepers keep animals healthy and safe by feeding, bathing, grooming, and exercising them. Zookeepers also clean the enclosures (e.g. cages, pens) and watch out for signs of illness or injury. They may be expected to interact with the visiting public. Zookeepers work in a zoo and can expect to be exposed to a wide range of environmental and weather conditions. Because zoos are typically open on weekends, zookeepers may have to work on weekends. The education that's required varies from zoo to zoo, but often include a college degree in zoology, animal science, wildlife management, or another animal-related field. A license or apprenticeship may be required or serve as an alternate route to becoming a zookeeper.
Job openings and internships can be found by going directly to the zoo, and also at other animal-related facilities like veterinary clinics and hospitals, and shelters. The interview will assess your knowledge of animals, your animal-handling abilities, as well as key attributes such as patience and compassion, and physical stamina. A zookeeper's responsibilities are critical to the daily operation of the zoo and the safety of staff and visitors. As such, reliability and trustworthiness are extremely important to demonstrate in the interview. You'll be expected to demonstrate your continuing professional growth, ability to adapt to changes, and your ability to work in a team.
To prepare for the interview, start by reviewing your knowledge of animal behavior and take stock of your experience in handling animals. Continue by thinking about times when you were able to overcome an obstacle to achieve a positive outcome that had enduring benefits. For instance, you may have trained an animal to make the process of caring of him/her more efficient. Think about ways that you made good impressions or positive impacts on someone who is less knowledgable about animals. Finally, look for 3-5 reasons that you'd enjoy working for that particular zoo. For instance, you may enjoy working with the types of animals that are there and are interested in learning more about the other animals that you have less experience with.