zoo horizontal strip

Placement programme

Putting theory into practice

Our research and applied husbandry placement programme has been tailor-made to enable students to gain experience in a wide range of techniques. 

The 10-month voluntary placements have been designed to work within university undergraduate industrial year programmes and to provide students with the opportunity to put theory into practice.

Real experience

You’ll be able to gain experience in a wide range of techniques applicable to the zoo and conservation professions, developing skills in ecology, conservation. animal behaviour and husbandry.

Research placements

As part of our research placements, you will be based with Wild Planet Trust’s Campaigns and Programmes Department at either our Paignton or Newquay site. You’ll spend the majority of your time collecting, analysing and interpreting data as part of high-quality research projects. You’ll be trained in a variety of research techniques and gain a range of transferable skills such as conference speaking, taking meeting minutes and making a practical contribution towards behavioural management.

Behaviour and welfare

We concentrate on applied animal research; aiming to enhance knowledge and understanding that will lead directly to better practice in all aspects of zoo operations. Behaviour and welfare research themes include behavioural management, breeding and parenting behaviours, human-animal interactions and nutrition. These studies may require collection of a variety of data including behaviour, vocalisations, personality assessment, food intake and faecal sampling.

Ecology research

Our ecological research involves monitoring wildlife populations, helping to enhance biodiversity at our zoos, and conducting ecological surveys at all of our sites. We also carry out regular monitoring of various populations such as butterflies, reptiles and bats within our reserves and zoo sites.

Applied husbandry placement

During our applied husbandry placement, you’ll work within our Conservation Services Department, which includes our Mammals, Birds, Botanics, and Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates teams, based at Paignton Zoo.

This placement provides hands on experience within both our animal and plant teams, allowing you to increase your understanding of evidence-led husbandry in a modern, conservation-led zoological and botanical garden. When applying for this placement, you should specify which team you would like to undertake your placement with, either our Botanics, Mammals, Birds or Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates teams.

Practical information

• Posts are offered on a voluntary basis
• Most placements last for 10 months, starting in September
• We also offer some 6-month posts, which begin in either September or January
• This is a full-time position, with a 35-hour working week

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please contact us by emailing: 


How to apply

Click on the link below to find further details and to fill in an application form: