11
Sep

Many Tiny Talk readers might know that my significant other is an elephant trainer. As a part of his job, he gets to chat with park guests about the seven elephants under his care on a daily basis, but the topic of conversation often turns to his career. Everyone wants to know how he feels about his job, how he got into the industry and what they can do to follow in his footsteps.

The first answer is easy–he LOVES his job! Who wouldn’t? His coworkers are elephants, giraffes and lions! Everyday is an adventure.

The rest of the answers simply boil down to passion, persistence and a lot of hard work. If you would like to encourage your child to pursue a budding interest in animals, here are some tips he gives to aspiring zookeepers, animal trainers, scientists and researchers alike:

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1. Love to learn. Many successful animal trainers started out spending hours on National Geographic Kids, checking out animal books from the library and paying extra attention in science class. Learning everything you can about the animals you want to work with is the first step towards understanding their habits and behaviors.

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2. Volunteer. The best way to get experience in an animal-related field is to volunteer! Ask if your local zoo has any programs, like these volunteer opportunities from the St. Louis Zoo. You can also donate your time to a local animal shelter or nature center. Check out PBS Kids for some great volunteering ideas for animal lovers.

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3. Research your favorite careers. As you learn more about animals and the various ways you can help them, look through sites like American Humane to find some cool jobs available for people with a passion for our furry friends.

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4. Stay active. Working with animals requires a lot of physical activity. Imagine trying to keep up with a 6,000 pound elephant! So get out an play your favorite sports, skateboard around the neighborhood, swim with your friends at a nearby pool–whatever fun physical activities you like to do!

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5. Never give up. Don’t let anyone else discourage you from your dream. You don’t have to be a biology major to be in the animal care industry–this elephant trainer studied English and Writing! But you DO have to be smart, dedicated, hard working and passionate about what you do. So get out there, start volunteering and see what a difference you can make to an elephant or two!

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2 Responses

  1. Jackie White says:

    As a child my parents never pressured me to play tennis and I ended up loving it and still do. A lot of the other girls I played against were burnt out by the end of high school and didn’t make it to the college arena due to lack of desire rather than talent or skill. I didn’t turn professional, but at the same time I think thats a key thing to remember. Give children the options and never discourage them because their interest in elephants could turn into a dream job!

  2. krellpw says:

    Elephant trainer!? That is SO cool! So far, my four year old says he’s going to be an astronaut-fireman-teacher-daddy when he grows up. I just keep telling him, “Yeah? Sounds Good. Go for it.”

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