19 March 2021

Want to be a zookeeper? Follow your animal instincts at Moruya TAFE

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Chad Staples feeding rhino at Mogo Zoo.

Mogo Wildlife Park managing director Chad Staples has welcomed a new Certificate III in Captive Animals at TAFE NSW Moruya. Photo: Supplied.

A new TAFE course aimed at upskilling the next generation of zookeepers has been unveiled in Moruya.

TAFE NSW Moruya has just launched the Certificate III in Captive Animals after extensive consultation with zoos in the Illawarra, South Coast and beyond, including Mogo Wildlife Park.

The unique course, which is enrolling now, is the minimum required qualification for zookeepers and enables students to undertake work placement at a local zoo as part of their studies.

According to the Federal Government’s JobOutlook agency, strong growth is expected for zookeeper roles in the coming years, with employment numbers to grow to 5000 nationally by 2022.

Mogo Wildlife Park managing director Chad Staples has applauded the TAFE NSW decision to run the new course, saying it will help stimulate home-grown interest in the industry.

READ ALSO Cheetahs make the move to Mogo Wildlife Park

“It’s amazing for young people to have this opportunity to get involved in the zoo industry,” he said.

“Having a qualification in captive animals, combined with work placement at a zoo, is the real entry point into a zookeeping career and it’s great to have a local TAFE NSW campus offering this course to true locals.”

Mogo Wildlife Park made national headlines during the Black Summer bushfires when quick-thinking staff helped save a number of animals from perishing.

TAFE NSW animal studies teacher and long-time zookeeper at Mogo Wildlife Park, Rebecca Ryman, said the new course will provide a rare opportunity for graduates to forge a career in a fascinating field.

READ ALSO See the adorable moment Mogo’s youngest cub met her half-brother

“There aren’t many workplaces where you can have amazing relationships with exotic animals,” she said.

“We are blessed to have so many high-quality zoos in NSW and it’s such an interesting industry to be a part of.

“If you have a true passion for animals, it’s the best job in the world.”

The Certificate III in Captive Animals covers units including animal welfare; capturing and restraining animals; and working in the zoo industry.

You can find out more about studying captive animals at TAFE NSW here.

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