Zoology careers allow animal lovers to work with, research and help contribute to the quality of life of animals in zoos, animal parks and aquariums. The work that zoologists do affects every part of these animals’ lives, including the way they are bred, what they eat every day, how tidy their living quarters are and how the animals play and have fun. Zoologists may work on an up-close-and-personal basis with the animals or may contribute doing necessary work that is more behind-the-scenes.
Zookeepers, who may work at aquariums, zoos or animal parks, are responsible for the day-to-day care of animals. This work includes preparing food and feeding the animals in their care; making sure that the animals are well-groomed; and monitoring the health of the animals to ensure that they are not sick or have not been injured. In addition, zookeepers are responsible for cleaning the areas where the animals live and removing any waste from the exhibit areas.
Zoologists who work as curators are responsible for populating exhibits at zoos, aquariums and animal parks by obtaining the animals that are to be displayed. To that end, they must create animal breeding programs that will ensure that each species of animals is genetically viable on a long-term basis. Curators may also obtain animals from the wild or by buying them from other facilities. In addition, curators must help create a healthy environment for the animals to live in. This includes being involved in creating a diet for the animals and ensuring that they live in conditions where they can get enough exercise and be mentally stimulated.
Although researchers work behind the scenes in animal parks, zoos or aquariums, their work significantly contributes to the quality of life of the animals housed in these facilities. By gathering information on animal behavior, behaviorist researchers can help with the mating of animals and ensure that the animals have the necessary mental stimulation and physical comfort. Other researchers focus on studying the genetics of animals, which can yield information that helps create a facility’s breeding program.
Zoologists who work as educators gather information about animals and get the information out to the public, including those who visit these animal facilities. This work includes writing informative materials such as brochures, booklets and fact sheets; conducting tours for the zoo’s visitors; or working with schools to organize field trips.