Exploring Animal Enclosures - Bridgwater & Taunton College

While studying Level 3 Animal Management at Bridgwater College I along with 48 enthusiastic students spent a week in Conwy visiting four animal welfare and conservation collections.

The study tour gave students from Cannington, Yeovil and Paignton the opportunity to explore and observe the environments and enclosure’s the animals lived in. It also allowed us to view and observe the same species of animal, a number of times, but in various enclosure’s. It made us think about whether the enclosure built for them was suited to their requirements in comparison to their natural habitat. This is a vital part of animal management, replicating the animal’s enclosure to suit how it would live in the wild is extremely important. Animals need to show natural behaviours while in captivity and to keep the animal as healthy as possible is essential.   

This study tour has given me an insight into how much work zoos and conversation collections put into keeping animals protected from diseases or harming themselves. The zoos spend a lot of money keeping the animal’s healthy by ensuring they receive the essential nutrients they would need if living in the wild.

The week to me wasn’t just about having the opportunity to record and observe animals at different collections, it was to also push myself to talk and compare thoughts and feelings with friends and experts from the zoos. It is important to listen to the views of others especially when thinking about the career of a zoo keeper. Listening skills are really important in their job role, they are a quality used every day especially when discussing how to build or enhance an enclosure.

This residential to Conwy has had a big impact on me. I now have a lot more respect for the zoo’s and the keepers themselves. I have seen how hard they work to ensure the animal’s health and appearance are one hundred percent representative of how they would be in the wild and because of how the animals rely on them to do so. The zoos, regardless of their budget always made me feel welcome and the experience I received is something I will not forget. I feel like this because the keepers are always offering help and giving presentations to help individuals understand more about the animals.

Additionally, the trip had an impact on me because it allowed me to explore different collections for example West Midlands Safari Park and Chester Zoo. I have never been on a safari before so seeing the animals in their outside enclosures and free to wonder where they wanted was a really good experience. The public see zoos as confinement, but seeing giraffes freely walking around their enclosures showed me zoos are there to ensure the animal continues to express their natural behaviours, like eating from tall trees.

While studying Animal Management at Bridgwater College I have been fortunate to experience and encounter many different species of animal, all of which have provided me with confidence. I never thought I’d be a person who would confidently show secondary school students how to handle animals and speak to them about the course I am studying.

My last two years at Bridgwater College have been amazing and something I will never forget. This is down to the incredible Lecturers and the opportunities they have encouraged us to undertake, namely work experience.

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