Study time

Keepers Kriss Pearson and Josh Luxton are knuckling down to some serious study as they begin their diploma in zoo keeping.

Kriss, from our birds section, and Josh who works with our ungulates and big cats, are just starting their Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA) – the industry standard for zoo keepers.

The qualification, which will take two years to complete, covers all aspects of zoo life and the kicked off with a five-day residential course at Sparsholt College in Hampshire.

Josh, aged 24 from Oldbury who has worked at Dudley for four years, said: “We’ve just come back from the residential and are both feeling very positive about the course.

“It will be challenging combining our studies and full-time jobs but at the same time worth it to get the diploma which is the most recognised qualification for zoo keepers.”

Kriss, aged 25 from Dudley who has been at the zoo for nearly nine years, said: “The good thing is there’s plenty of support on site as the majority of the keepers here have gained the diploma and been through it all.

“And our Registrar and Research Co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston, is also the Midlands’ regional co-ordinator for the course, so his advice will be invaluable.”

The first year includes ten assignments covering animal conservation, care, nutrition and enclosure design and next September Kriss and Josh will have end of year exams.

Good luck both!