Work in Zoo Keeping; Train at ABES in Calgary

Zookeeper and Child with Lizard
Zoo keeping is a hands-on profession. ABES’ Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program is designed to guide both entry-level and practicing zookeepers to awareness of the competencies, skills and attitudes expected of employees. The courses are designed to identify specific competencies, which the zookeeper should be able to identify, assess or perform. The theoretical and factual material obtained by reading and study will be supplemented with practicum courses.

The Zoo Technology Program was designed in response to industry demand for standardized competencies with all animal care teams working in and outside zoo settings. Working in partnership with the Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and its members, ABES has developed curriculum that is competency-based and available through distance learning options for those working in the industry and those seeking to secure options within zoos or other animal care facilities.

Learn All Aspects of Animal Care
Quality zoo keeping is the foundation of every successful live collection. Knowledge of the various aspects of animal care, animal health and nutrition are critical. The ability to work as part of a team in a congenial atmosphere is crucial as well, as it helps prevent or deflect stress and leads to job satisfaction. The aim of the Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program is to identify and support practices that improve the quality of the zoo from the perspective of both workers and visitors.

Background
In 1999, representatives from zoos across Canada met at NAIT to participate in a competency profile development workshop in order to identify the skills required of a zookeeper. The workshop was a result of the recognition that the zoo keeping profession needed to standardize its training methods and practices.

In conjunction with members of the Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA), the curriculum for the zoo technology portion of the program has been prepared. ABES 2000 is a private educational consulting company brought in to complete the balance of the zoo curriculum, prepare the aquarium curriculum, distance-deliver the Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program and modify and adapt the program for Internet delivery.

ABES’ final zoo course was completed early in 2003. Preparations are currently underway to develop curriculum for the aquarium portion of the course, with the completion date to be announced.

Motivation for Developing Program
The realization of a need for increased professionalism and standardized practices in zoo keeping careers provided impetus for developing the program. The course provides formal modularized home study programs, as well as the opportunity to be involved in directed practicums for practicing and aspiring zookeepers. The zoo industry will benefit from having zookeepers with effective training in animal management and husbandry.

Benefits
The Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program is flexible and easily adapted for on-site delivery at zoos. Individuals are able to achieve a desired level of training to support their career goals. Using this program, zoos have the opportunity to train or upgrade their current employees with competency-based quality training. With growth expected to continue in zoo keeping and with the retirement of existing zookeepers, training for skilled workers must be available now.

10 Years of Training Zookeepers
As the Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program approaches its 10th year of delivery through ABES, it has undergone a complete curriculum revision with the support and guidance from CAZA members and zoo representatives. We would like to thank members of CAZA and the Association des Zoos et Aquariums du Canada (AZAC) for their contribution to the revisions within the curriculum.

Mission Statement
The Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) is dedicated to enhancing the profession of zoo keeping by providing training for current and potential zookeepers. The training emphasizes basic zoological knowledge, animal management, husbandry and workplace skills.

Philosophy
CAZA recognizes the educational and recreational values of zoos and subscribes to the importance of the preservation of species and the need for captive propagation. This training program is designed to encourage zookeepers to enhance their skills and knowledge in areas of biology, animal management and husbandry.

Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program
This training program, by providing additional knowledge and developing skills, will serve as an aid to advance zookeepers in their discipline. The program encourages participation and leadership by zookeepers in both zoo keeping and related professions at both the national and international levels.

The Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program will objectively measure the level of achievement in the program by participating personnel. Trainees who successfully challenge respective modules will receive advanced credit toward course completion.

This national zookeeper training program is designed to service the needs and interests of both the trainees and trainers, as well as the zoos of North America.

Study at Home while Working
Because these courses are available through distance-learning, students may continue working current jobs while they study Zoo and Aquarium Technology. In addition, zoos and other animal care facilities can upgrade skills of their existing staff or provide new skills training to new employees at the animal care location.

Be a Zookeeper – Call Today!
Call us at ABES if you have questions about our Zoo and Aquarium Technology Program. We’re ready to set you on the path to a successful zoo keeping career.
Alberta Business & Educational Services Ltd
221 18th Street SE, #10, Calgary, AB, T2E 6J5|
Main: 403-232-8758 |
Fax: 403-265-9368