Modern zoos play a critical role in education and while most are involved in teaching a variety of age groups, tertiary education needs often are not being addressed. Veterinarians and vet nurses are considered as thought leaders regarding animal related topics and through communication with the general public, they can have a wide reach in their local community. They are particularly well positioned to educate people about animal care, health and welfare, and are ideal advocates for the argument against illegal wildlife trade through advising clients about responsible sourcing of pets.
The aim of this project was to build a comprehensive education programme in partnership with universities for future animal health professionals, including veterinarians and vet nurses. Twycross Zoo aimed to achieve this through a complex programme of practical training opportunities on three distinctively different levels: for student veterinary nurses; final year veterinary students and for veterinary graduates.
With the combination of different opportunities, Twycross Zoo developed a complex training programme for future animal health professionals. This created previously unavailable practical training for veterinary and vet nurse students and led to a close cooperation with two universities. The materials developed by the students while on placements at the zoo contributes to the ongoing improvement of our zoo practices. Further to this they managed to prove that even a short, but immersive training experience can be formative for higher education students and can increase their awareness for the good work, what zoos are doing, as well as for wildlife conservation.
Twycross Zoo submitted this project to the BIAZA Awards Education category for 2020 and won a Silver award.