Distance learning for zoo animal husbandry

Learn the basics with advanced training in 8 e-learning modules and 32 live online lectures.

With wild animals nothing can be taken for granted and knowledge is the only guarantee of success.

The zookeeping online courses objectives are:

  • To understand how zoos operate.
  • To be aware of the duties and responsibilities of an animal caretaker.
  • To be aware of the physiological requirements and behavioural traits of captive animals.

Knowledge of zoology and zootechnics is necessary for the successful breeding of animals in captivity.

Congratulations! If you are on this page, it means that you are approaching an important project, both for you and for biodiversity.

Wishing to become a zookeeper or breeder is a serious commitment as nature around us is in trouble.

Today, the work of zookeepers ensures the survival of thousands of endangered species.

Be aware, however, that the profession of animal caretaker and the requirements of breeding non-domestic animals, necessitate a thorough understanding of their environment and the difficult working conditions that are sometimes encountered.

Taking care of animals – as a volunteer or as a professional – is not just an occupation, it is a vocation. You need a full understanding of the commitment that you are about to undertake.

Practice is essential, but knowledge is fundamental!

If you want to work with animals, it is important to learn by doing. Your actions and attitude, however, will depend on your knowledge. Therefore, it is not necessary to follow a complete course of theoretical training.

A training course of 8 modules, entirely at a distance, over 8 months

  • Zoo world and professional ethics.
  • Nutrition and feeding of wild animals.
  • Captive environment and environmental parameters
  • Physiological aspects of animal health.
  • Behavioural aspects of animal health.
  • Reproduction of animals in zoos.
  • Protection of animals in the wild.
  • Education and communication in zoos.

Each module is independent of the others. You can start the training with each new module.

In order to make access to knowledge as enjoyable as possible, we have designed a distance learning and webinar system that adapts to the circumstances of each individual.

You will be able to follow your courses online from home and wherever you have internet access. The videoconferences take place in the evening from 20:00 (Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris time). They are always recorded, for those who cannot attend live.

By following one or more of our modules, you will be prepared to engage in practical training or to join a school of animal care. 

After this theoretical training, you will know the basics and be equipped to orientate yourself in a professional sector that is little known and often misunderstood.

Learning effectively in a caring environment

This training is aimed at those who want to become a zookeeper, either in a professional capacity or as a volunteer, along with those who want to keep non-domestic animals. However, the course is also open to all those who are interested in animals and zoos.

Discover the next module’s content now!

Our distance learning course can be joined at the beginning of each module. No pre-requisites are necessary.

Register now. A module starts soon!

A training course in eight modules

Each module lasts four weeks and is independent of the other modules. You can therefore join our online zootechnics course at the beginning of any of the eight modules. One of these modules starts every month.

You can take one module, several modules or the whole course; there is no obligation to take the whole course.

Easy access to basic knowledge

For more flexibility and to meet individual needs, the course consists of eight modules with an identical format. However, each module is independent of the others. These eight modules can also be approached as short courses.

Zoo world and professional ethics

The social and legislative environments of zoos and the animal care professions are constantly changing. Discover a little-known reality.

The module’s programme:

  • The history of zoos, from their origins to the present day.
  • The legislative environment of zoos in Europe and North America.
  • Training and the profession of zookeeper.
  • Professional zoo federations and anti-zoo organisations.

Nutrition and feeding of wild animals

Well-fed animals live longer and remain in better health. They are also better breeders and parents. The zookeeper must know the fundamentals of nutrition.

The module’s programme:

  • The history of zoos, from their origins to the present day.
  • The legislative environment of zoos in Europe and North America.
  • Training and the profession of zookeeper.
  • Professional zoo federations and anti-zoo organisations.

The captive environment of animals in zoos

The design of enclosures, the proper organisation of cage facilities and the control of physical and chemical parameters is vital for animal welfare.

The module’s programme:

  • Parameters of the terrestrial environment.
  • Aquatic environment parameters.
  • Enclosure design and safety.
  • Botanical and landscape aspects.

Physiological aspects of animal health

In captivity as in the wild, animals are exposed to infectious agents. It is necessary to control these risks to ensure the health of the animals.

The module’s programme:

  • Major pathogens.
  • Control of animal vectors.
  • Prophylactic actions.
  • Prevention of zoonotic diseases.

Behavioural aspects of animal health

The science of animal behaviour is a primary consideration in the implementation of good breeding practices. Discover how ethology is applied in zoos.

The module’s programme:

  • Scientific basis of behaviour.
  • Concepts of animal welfare.
  • Environmental enrichment.
  • Medical training.

Reproduction of animals in zoos

The main mission of zoological parks is to ensure the survival of endangered species. The reproduction of animals is essential to perform this goal.

The module’s programme:

  • Reproduction methods of vertebrates.
  • Rearing of young animals.
  • Captive breeding programmes.
  • Management of captive populations.

Protection of animals in the wild

The protection of animals in nature is necessary to maintain the functioning of ecosystems. Find out how zoos and care centres are working to protect wildlife.

The module’s programme:

  • Threats to wildlife.
  • Wildlife care centres.
  • In-situ conservation programmes.
  • International laws for the protection of animals.

Education and communication in zoos

Zoological parks receive millions of visitors every year. Advantage should be taken of their high visibility to educate their visitors about the protection of biodiversity. Find out more about the role of communication in zookeeping.

The module’s programme:

  • Missions of zoological parks.
  • Pedagogical actions.
  • Design of educational workshops.
  • Attitude towards the public.

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What is the course schedule?

Each module lasts four weeks. The modules are offered one after the other, throughout the year. One module will start very soon. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay tuned.

The courses are interrupted for a few weeks in July, August and December.

3 systems in 1 training course

1: A live videoconference every week

Follow the live web conferences and consult the teaching materials from the comfort of your home and from anywhere in the world.

This is the strength of our distance learning animal science course and the reason why you should choose it over all other distance learning courses of its kind offered in English.

Each week a videoconference is scheduled and takes place in the evening, generally from 8:00 to 9:30 pm (Paris time). This videoconference is moderated by a speaker who is a specialist in the subject.

If you are unable to attend the live sessions, don’t worry.  You can view the recordings the following day.

2: A dedicated e-learning platform

The advantages of our platform:

# 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access.

# Self-service resources.

# Interaction forums.

# Personal project.

You will have 24/7 access to an e-learning platform reserved for the learners of the course. You will find freely available resources to help you to learn at your own pace.

3: A learning manager.

Learning is more fun and effective when it is active! The learning environment we offer you is entirely geared to your needs.

You will never be alone and the course leader will always be willing to help you.

Our answers to your most frequently asked questions:

What are the pre-requisites to be a learner?

I have never taken a distance learning course, is that a problem?

You have never taken a distance learning course? Taking part in a distance learning course is easy and fun when it is well designed and delivered.

What is the minimum level of education expected?

You have not studied biology? This is not a problem. All the concepts are covered at their basic level and the teachers are available to answer all your questions.

No diploma is required to join our distance learning course!

What computer equipment is needed?

Distance learning is based on resources made available on a platform and in live video conferences. No paid software is required. Downloading the video conferencing software is free.

All you need is a computer connected to the internet. It is also possible to follow this course from your smartphone or tablet. A headset is a plus, but not essential.

What computer skills are required?

To benefit from the course, you must be able to use a web browser and consult e-mails and forums. All the software used is user-friendly and easy to learn.

Do I have to take the whole course?

No, you don’t have to! You can register for each module. You are not obliged to follow all the modules of the course. No commitment is required. 

Will I be alone during my training?

Our distance learning course is a group experience. The limited number of students per session guarantees a high quality of pedagogical follow-up for each student.

You are not alone or left to your own devices. The speakers are available during live video conferences to answer your questions.

A forum and a messaging system allows you to communicate with other learners and with the training manager. Your questions will be answered within 24 hours.

Is it a problem if I can’t follow all the live videoconferences?

It is sometimes difficult to make time to follow a videoconference. We have therefore planned to record them. A link to view each recording is posted on the platform’s forum the day after the live session.

So, you can train without any constraints.

Is there a certificate for this course?

We provide a certificate of completion, if you complete all the modules and pass the online assessments. This certificate is not a nationally recognised diploma.

These requirements are a guarantee that you will receive a certificate that corresponds to your involvement and the level of knowledge achieved.

Do I have to take the assessments?

No, of course, you can choose to follow one or more modules, like many learners, without handing in your assessments. But we will not be able to deliver you a certificate at the end of the course.

We believe that sharing knowledge should be done without constraint.  You have the right to learn only for pleasure.

Who are your instructors?

Our training is based on the involvement of qualified speakers: zookeepers, zoo managers, biologists, conservationists and animal behaviourists.

Who is the course developer?

I am Jean-Michel Dupuyoo, designer of distance learning courses and, more specifically, of live video-conference cycles. I am an animal caretaker and manager in a zoo in the south of France.

I joined the animal care profession in 2004 and have completed more than 30 internships and training courses in zoos in the United States and Europe. I have focused my practice on the breeding of primates and tropical birds.

I will be your contact person for all your questions about distance learning.

Jean-Michel Dupuyoo

Who are the specialists who assist me?

The speakers will lead the web conferences and present topics in which they are recognised experts. These men and women have many years of experience, study and practice in zoos and breeding facilities.

Most of the speakers regularly teach in training centres, in zoo schools and give lectures.

Discover the next module’s programme now!

If you want to succeed in your professional project or if you are simply curious to know more about wild animals, we are waiting for you in our next module.

Register now. A module starts soon!

See you soon!