The International Rhino Keeper Association (IRKA) has developed
a program that will provide rhino keepers the opportunity to expand
their knowledge and husbandry experience. This program has been
designed to enable rhino keepers to work at other institutions to
familiarize themselves with different management styles. Due to
the professional nature of this program, it is only available to
Professional or Associate Rhino Keeper Association members.
The IRKA has selected facilities with different management styles
to maximize the keepers’ potential for enhancing their expertise.
It is the hope of the IRKA that the institutions participating in
this program will take this opportunity to share their trials, tribulations,
triumphs and successes with their professional colleagues. At this
time, the hosting institutions are: Busch Gardens Tampa, Cincinnati
Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Denver Zoo,
San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and The Wilds. The concept of
the program is quite simple, but we feel it is an invaluable tool
for expanding the skills of rhino keepers by providing them the
opportunity to work alongside their colleagues and learn the nuances
of that institution’s husbandry practices.
The keeper participating in this program must not only have their
institution’s authorization, but agreement to pay their wages.
The institution’s approval requires that employee is covered
by their institution’s workmen’s compensation and will
provide documentation of personal health insurance. This will provide
assurance that the hosting institution will not be liable to cover
When application has been approved, there will be a fee of $10 to
be contributed to the IRKA scholarship fund.
Completed application should be sent to:
|Keeper Professional Development Chairperson, Randy
||Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45220
- Requires completion of a funding application
available through our website. CLICK LINK BELOW.
- There is a limited reimbursement funding program
available for expenses incurred during this program.
- Applications must be received by January 1st
through June 1st for program participation occurring in the first
six months of the year and June 2 through December 1st for program
participation during the later part of the year.
- Funding applications will not be kept on file.
- Individuals receiving financial support from
IRKA, will be required to submit a brief summary of their experiences,
etc. to organization newsletter, The Crash, for inclusion in future
Responsibilities of the keeper’s
It will be the responsibility of the keeper’s institution,
or the keeper him/herself, to cover any expenses including travel,
housing (if necessary) and food. The keeper’s supervisor must
complete the section of the application in regards to workman’s
compensation plan and information in regards to employee’s
medical coverage. As stated in the application, please include any
additional documentation your institution may require to participate
in this program.
Responsibilities of the hosting
The International Rhino Keeper Association would simply ask the
hosting institution to be willing to let interested and approved
applicants work alongside their professional staff. We would like
each institution to allot a time frame that they could offer this
program to interested individuals and let the association know their
specific details. Each facility’s time allotment will dictate
the amount of time available and subsequently the number of keeper(s)
that could participate in this program. We would also like to solicit
input from institutions regarding options that may be available
in regards to housing in an attempt to reduce the expense(s) to
the participants. We would also ask that these institutions provide
any additional documentation that might be required so they can
be completed in a timely manner. The final decision regarding applicant’s
acceptance into the program is based on input by the hosting institution.
A candidate for the program can be rejected by the hosting institution,
even though they may have already received approval from their institution
and/or IRKA. Hosting institution will not be responsible for employee’s
wages during keeper professional development at their institution.