Becoming an Elephant Keeper

Chester Zoo in the UK has a job opening for an elephant keeper:

“Chester Zoo aims to set a benchmark for animal welfare and the successful candidate must be able to deliver an excellent level of animal husbandry, care and welfare for the assigned mammals, ensuring that all enclosures and facilities are maintained to the highest possible standards.”

What does this mean?  Well, there are actually no degree requirements to work with elephants.  Yet, successful applicants almost always have a university degree in zoology and previous experience working with large animals.

Even if you have these qualifications, there is the reality of low pay (at my hometown zoo, expect less than $30000 a year for your degree and experience), varied hours, and quite a bit of physical labor.  Expect to come home smelly.

But, of course, the rewards of working with animals are great too.

Plus, you’ll always have a good and interesting conversation when someone asks, “What do you do?”.

IMG_3690Photo: taken at Elephant Nature Park


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