South Africa is home to extensive biodiversity including a number of iconic wildlife species, most of which are found in the wild. In some instances though, animal sanctuaries such as zoos, nature reserves and aquariums, play a key role in the care and rehabilitation of injured animals that can no longer survive in the wild. They also play a key role growing and increasing population sizes of declining, threatened or endangered species. Zookeeping involves caring for animals that live in captivity.
Zookeepers work alongside animal curators and veterinarians when training or treating animals and occasionally interact with the public around animal education programmes. They work long hours and at varied times of the day, depending on the nature of the animal they are caring for.
Zookeepers require a thorough understanding of the physical needs and behaviour of a variety of animal species as well as patience while working with animals. They will additionally benefit from:
Observe animals to detect signs of illness
Inspect cages, grottos and pens for cleanliness and structural defects
Supervise and coordinate activities of workers
Conduct education programmes and provide information about animals
B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Biological Sciences specialising in Zoology at all universities
B.Sc.Agric., B.Sc.Agric. (Hons), M.Sc.Agric. in Animal Science at NWU, SU, UFH, UFS, UNISA, Univen, Unizulu and UP
B.Sc. (Hons) in Wildlife Management at UP
Zoos and aquariums.
Nature reserves, parks and conservation sanctuaries.