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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.

Digital Communications

This placement programme offers you the opportunity to be part of our small but powerful Communications team who are responsible for communicating with all of our stakeholders. You will receive full training of the platforms utilised by the team and contribute towards all tasks including content creation for our websites, social media and email marketing, public relations and internal communication.

Discover what it takes to work in a fast paced environment and develop new skills as you are able to put your knowledge into practice. Not only this, you will get to experience the joy of getting up close to some of the most endangered animals on the planet.

Practical information

  • Posts are offered on a voluntary basis
  • Most placements last for 10 months, starting in September and are full-term positions, 35-hour working week.
  • The application closing date, for these, is 30th September 2024 with online interviews taking place in the week commencing 17th November 2024.
  • Some 6-month posts are available and may start at other times. We also welcome short-term, ad-hoc placements during summer months.

Get in touch

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


How to apply

Click on the link below to complete in an application form: