Thursday, May 31, 2018

Elephant Researcher - paid intern

Elephant Researcher - paid intern

The Animal  Department at the Zoological Society of London is offering an excellent opportunity to gain experience with one of the UK’s leading conservation research organisations. The intern will assist the ZSL’s Zoological Directorate to undertake required data collection with the elephant group at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. ZSL Whipsnade Zoo currently holds an active breeding group of 8 Asian elephants, and participates within the EAZA breeding programme.

The principal task associated with this is the collection of baseline data on the behaviour and activity of the elephant group.

Role Profile
To assist the Animal Department in conducting required data collection with the elephant group at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo; aiding with compliance of the new Secretary of State Standards for modern elephant care (SSSMZP).

Main Duties and Responsibilities
  • Collect baseline data covering agreed priority areas for the Whipsnade Zoo elephant group.
  • Data collection on elephant behaviour, enclosure use and social interactions.
  • Assisting with the development of optimum methodology to act as a platform for long-term behavioural monitoring.
  • Compilation of data collected in an appropriate format.
  • Any other activities as agreed with line managers.

Person Specification
Candidates should have familiarity with behavioural data collection on animals, ideally with elephants as well as an understanding of modern zoo management.  A general knowledge of the principles of zoo elephant management would be beneficial.

They should be IT proficient and have good attention to detail, along with strong research and communication skills and an ability to work independently. The ideal candidate will be personable and professional in their attitude, with the ability to work well with various staff members. They must have a flexible approach to working hours as well as be diplomatic and discrete when handling sensitive information.

Finally, potential candidates must be eligible to work in the UK.

The paid intern opportunity is for six months, starting from July 2018 (some flexibility in start date possible). The role is full-time, five days per week; with potential for weekend working and the need to be flexible with working hours being essential. The role will be based on-site at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, with both office and animal section-based components.

This is a paid, fixed term internship with the offer of free on-site accommodation in the keepers lodge.

In this role, the intern will benefit from:

  • Experience of the application of zoo research and the contribution this can make to optimising animal welfare.
  • Experience of method development for behavioural research.
  • Management of large data sets, including establishment of a database for long-term use.
  • Gain proficiency in the use of technical equipment for behavioural investigation e.g. cameras and sound recording equipment.
  • Experience in the communication and dissemination of results.
  • Provision of training as required.

To Apply:

Applicants will need to upload their CV  and covering letter (detailing relevant experience and skills, stating why they want the position and including details of availability) and can do this by clicking the "Applyfor this role online” button. If you have any queries regarding this position please contact Human Resources at

Closing date for applications: Midnight Friday 15th June 2018.

You will be contacted by Friday 22nd June 2018 if you have been selected for an interview. Interviews will be held in July 2018.

Peter Dickinson
Independent International Zoo Consultant

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