Behavioral Observation Team

ongoing

Adults

About the Program

For anybody who is interested in animal behavior as a career or simply for interest and fun, Oakland Zoo's Behavioral Observation team is for you. Behavioral Observation Team (BOT) volunteers work with our zookeepers to monitor the animals under their care. BOT volunteers are assigned to a project where they use observational skills and techniques to collect data about animal behavior.

Learn the specifics of scientific animal observations in a two hour orientation offered up to three times per year, depending on the need for help. Behavioral Observation Team volunteers work with our zookeepers to monitor the animals under their care. New volunteers may begin on a short-term project to build their skills in observation technique and data collection. Examples of these projects are: new animal arrivals, introductions, sick animals, etc. Volunteers may then go on to join a long-term project collecting information on activity budgets and social interactions of the species of interest.

Weather depending, volunteers will stand or sit outside of exhibits and monitor animals by using long-hand descriptions, data sheets or observation computers. Keepers will personally train volunteers on the projects and check in with them to answer questions. If available, keepers will also share and discuss analyzed data with volunteers.

Note: Volunteers do not work behind-the-scenes helping with the daily husbandry of the animals. Most observations take place in the visitor pathways.

Requirements

  • Be willing to commit to regular attendance at the Zoo for a minimum of two hours.
  • Be able to commit to volunteering for at least nine months.
  • Be flexible with shift hours anywhere from 8:00am to 4:00pm, project depending.
  • Attend a New Volunteer Information Meeting. Please check the events calendar for the next orientation date.
  • Attend the BOT Orientation, dates TBA. Please check the events calendar for the next orientation date.
  • Application Process

    Download and complete the Oakland Zoo Behavioral Observation Team Application.

    Behavioral Observation Team Application

    Submit your completed application via email or mail to:

    Oakland Zoo Volunteer Program

    P.O. Box 5238

    Oakland, CA 94605

    Application Deadlines

    Summer Session: May 1

    Fall Session: August 1

    Winter Session*: December 1

    *Due to the recent openings in the program, please submit applications for the Winter Session until the General Volunteer Orientation on January 30th.

    Questions

    Please call (510) 632-9525 ext. 266 or email us if you have additional questions regarding our Behavioral Observation Team Volunteer Program.

    P.O. Box 5238

    9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605