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Spring 2001 Vol. 45, Number 1

Wild jobs with wildlife: Jobs in zoos and aquariums

Occupations such as keeper, curator, and vet lure some animal lovers toward careers at zoos and aquariums. But for jobseekers without proper training, it’s a jungle in there. Reading this article is a good way to start preparing for a career in the care, study, and preservation of wildlife.

Few people will ever stand as close to a giraffe as Betsy Karkowski has. Giraffes are just one of the many species she has had daily contact with as a zookeeper. “You get to know the animals’ habits, their likes and dislikes,” she says. “They recognize you and depend on you, and that’s a great feeling.”

Taking care of the animals at zoos and aquariums involves more than most visitors imagine. So if exotic-animal work appeals to you, get a head start by learning about a few zoo and aquarium careers, including what the work is like, how to prepare for it, what it pays, and how to gain experience now.

If you’d like to work at a zoo or aquarium without taking care of animals directly, see the box on page 13 to explore your options. Unlike the occupations profiled in this article, many zoo jobs don’t involve animal care.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: June 27, 2001