Conservation Careers at the Zoo

Kat Fox, Education officer at Melbourne Zoo, speaking to our students at “Conservation Careers”.

On Friday, twelve students from Year 9 and 10 had the opportunity to attend a special program in Melbourne, “Conservation Careers at the Zoo”. It was an early start, with a 5.30am train departure from Warrnambool, arriving at Southern Cross just after 9.00am. We arrived at the Zoo to hear from Kat Fox, an education officer, who explained her previous experiences to eventually get her present job, which included work at the Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary.

We also heard from Rachel Lowry, who has “the best job in the world’ as the Director of Wildlife and Conservation Science at Zoos Victoria. She is responsible for the different conservation programs, such as “Wipe for Wildlife” and “Don’t Palm us Off”. One of the challenges of her job is prioritizing funding for threatened species.  One of the most interesting speakers was Dr. Marissa Parrot, a reproductive biologist, who spoke about her role with managing the breeding programs, including the genetics of captive bred animals (did you know that domestic animals have a much smaller brain size than wild animals?). Other speakers included zookeeper Adrian Howard (Carnivore and Ungulate Precinct Manager), Fiona Ryan (Veterinary Nurse) and Andrew Eadon (Education Officer).

A common theme amongst all the guest speakers was the competitive nature of the field and the requirement to be passionate, flexible, persistent and willing to volunteer for various positions to demonstrate your commitment. A high VCE score to enable you to access your chosen course and excellent university marks are also valuable on a curriculum vitae. If you would like to do work experience at the Zoo in Year 11, you will need to apply this year. Forms are available for download from the Zoos Victoria website.

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