Zookeepers–The most important animal in the zoo?

Heather Bacon*, Belinda Vigors, Darren J. Shaw, Natalie Waran, Cathy M. Dwyer, Catriona Bell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
131 Downloads (Pure)


Education to improve knowledge of animal welfare is not a universal component of training for zoo staff, and little is reported about the perspectives of zoo staff on the need for such education. This paper reports results from structured telephone interviews of a diverse sample of eight Chinese and eight European zoo staff about aspects of zoological animal welfare, education and zoological practices. These qualitative data were thematically analyzed and key themes generated. Similar themes emerged across regions: Zoo staff consider professional attributes including motivation and enthusiasm to be important alongside formal training, zoo staff value learning opportunities but don’t always feel supported, and contextual information including wild animal ecology was considered important content in zoo animal welfare education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-646
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Issue number4
Early online date13 Dec 2021
Publication statusFirst published - 13 Dec 2021


  • China
  • education
  • europe
  • welfare
  • Zoo


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