A zoo educator and animal keeper shares the day-to-day and challenges of life with animals, as well as the adventures of writing.
Hi, Im a high schooler who wants to go into the zookeeping field. I have done research and I know that the jibs doesn't pay a lot and takes up a lot of time. Do you think it is worth it?
Hi there Sarah!That is a great question. You are absolutely right that this isn't a field you get into to make money in. Many people who work in zoos have a second income elsewhere or a spouse with a tamer career :) However, that doesn't mean it can't be done. I don't know that this job takes up any more time than any other career job. In fact, it may take less-- many entry-level zoo positions are part-time, and once you've proven yourself you can apply for or be promoted to full time. Most zoo keeper jobs pay hourly, not salary, so you can only work the standard 40 hours per week. The hardest parts of this job, career-wise, are the following:-It's rough on your body. It's very physical. You frequently have to do gross or unpleasant things and there really aren't any "easy" days at work. It can be repetitive.-It can take a long time to get where you want to be. You may have to start out on the other side of the fence and stay there for a few years before you get to work with the animals.But, is it worth it?Well, if I'd known ten years ago what I know now, I might have picked a different career. But I was a different person ten years ago, and frankly pretty lazy. Now that I've been in the field this long, I can say with confidence that I think it's worth it. If you love animals and the environment, being a zoo keeper is a dream. You literally have the chance to better the world, by educating people about animals and helping save them from extinction, all through your care. That was probably longer than you were looking for, but I hope it helped!