Zoo Keeper – Adrian Howard

Being a zoo keeper, I use maths every day. From dietary preparation and enclosure design, to monitoring growth and giving medication, maths is very much part of my routine. It is extremely important to get the weight right for each animal. When the vet comes to anaesthetise an animal, we need to get the dose rate correct – we don’t want our lions waking up in the middle of a procedure.

Animal exhibit design is an exercise in mathematics. Zoo keepers need a working knowledge of measurements for different species, such as appropriate dimensions of the enclosure, nearness to objects such as trees and how far an animal can jump to design an enclosure that is right for that animal.

Every day I do some mental arithmetic, often without realising it. The better you are at making calculations on the run, the better you are at your job. My favourite subject at school was biology. I found maths quite challenging but I really have benefitted from doing maths right through school.

Getting into zoo keeping is very competitive. It is worthwhile doing maths to Year 12, because it gives you a greater opportunity for landing what is a fantastic job.

The Maths: Make your career count series was produced by AMSI and funded by the Australian Government under The Improving Mathematics in Schools (TIMES) project. Visit the Maths: Make your career count website at http://mathscareers.org.au/

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