BIO489 Zoo Curatorship (16)

This subject is designed for people already with zoo industry experience, to obtain the knowledge and skills to become Zoo Curators. To enrol in this subject it is expected that students will have prior Zoo industry experience.  Prior to enrolment in this subject it is important for students to discuss the nature and extent of their zoo industry experiences with the Subject Co-ordinator.

The role of a zoo curator is to manage the animal collection. A curator is usually a senior position in the management structure of a zoo and has diverse responsibilities that require skill and knowledge in animal husbandry, operations management and people management. This subject provides the student with a detailed knowledge of the most appropriate and successful methods for the management of captive animals from a zoo curator's perspective. It will include instructions on exhibit/facility design, husbandry, captive breeding, zoo master planning, zoo safety, communication in zoos, legislation pertaining to zoos, ethics and animal welfare, conservation, science and research and disease control. Both native and exotic animals will be covered. The subject will cover both intensive management and extensive management. The emphasis in the subject is on meeting the needs of wildlife workers to gain a more comprehensive knowledge on the captive requirements of native and exotic animals

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: BIO489. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Assumed Knowledge
Animal antomy and physiology, Animal behaviour and welfare.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • Be able to critically evaluate facilities necessary to keep various native and exotic species in captivity;
  • Be able to accurately explain the husbandry requirements of various native and exotic species in captivity;
  • Be able to summarise the major health problems that various native and exotic species are prone to in captivity and explain how these can be prevented;
  • Be able to summarise the nutritional requirements of various native and exotic species in captivity;
  • Be able to develop and design captive facilities for the display and breeding of captive native and exotic species;
  • Be able to explain in detail the principles of zoo master planning;
  • Be able to develop and design husbandry requirements and safe work routines for captive, native and exotic species;
  • Be able to outline the basic breeding strategies of native and exotic species and describe how this will affect their captive requirements;
  • Be able to summarise the permitting process for importing and exporting wild animals;
  • Be able to summarise the basic principles of a science and research program in a zoo;
  • Be able to explain the principles of animal transfers and translocations;
  • Be able to critically assess issues of ethics and animal welfare issues affecting zoos;
  • Be able to summarise the legislative environment pertaining to zoos;
  • Be able to summarise the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) accreditation program;
  • Be able to accurately explain, critique and develop the role of integrated conservation programs.


This subject will cover the following topics:

Module 1: Animal Husbandry
- husbandry of wild animals in captivity
- ethics and welfare
- animal transfers and translocations
- preventative disease programs

Module 2: Zoo Master Planning and Exhibit Design
- zoo master planning
- exhibit, facility design and management

Module 3: Collection Management
- collection management
- animal records

Module 4: Conservation, Science and Research
- conservation programs
- science and research in zoos

Module 5: Zoo Management
- legislation pertaining to zoos
- zoo safety
- communication strategies in zoos
- zoo accreditation program

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The Residential School will be held at the Adelaide Zoo and will provide a hands-on approach to the theory taught in this subject.

Special Resources

This subject has a compulsory 3 day residential school at Adelaide Zoo.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.