From the outside, working at a zoo might not seem like a daunting career: feed the animals, clean up after the animals, don’t let the lions eat the zebras. But in reality, the responsibility of not only housing living creatures to adequate standards but often ensuring the protection of entire species is at stake, especially when you’re the world famous San Diego Zoo.
Admittedly, there are zoos, traveling animal shows, and other live-creature venues that create sub-par and even abusive conditions for their residents. But the nearly 100-year-old San Diego Zoo–actually founded after animals from the Panama-California Exposition were abandoned following the event–has long been regarded as the gold standard for not only the entertainment value of zoo exhibits, but for the preservation, study, and standards of caring for animals of any species. The zoo pioneered the concept of the “cageless” enclosure, as well as employees with conservationists and researchers to protect the entire species of each of its residents, not just the individual animals represented at the zoo.
Through its continuing efforts to raise the bar, the zoo has invested a lot of time and money in going digital. Whether it’s creating a paperless system for all in-house work (a goal the organization set for itself to be met by the end of this year) or reaching out to other organizations around the world with research and information, the group has taken tech and pushed it farther than anyone else in their field.
Now, e-learning software developed by the zoo in conjunction with DDI is setting the standard higher than ever before. While zoo staff looked primarily at the option to use it as an internal education and training system for its employees, there are already more than one hundred other subscribers to the content. The software contains instructional courses on animal care, behaviors, husbandry, and other pertinent information that allows the zoo staff to help other institutions reach the same level of professional and scientific care that they espouse.