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Research Volunteer

Person looking at clipboard in front of elephant exhibit

Do you have a keen eye and fascination with observing animal behavior? Do you want to make a positive impact on animal well-being and conservation?

  • Research volunteers play a pivotal role in animals’ care at the L.A. Zoo through observational studies designed by our Research Staff.
  • Research projects explore the impact of the surrounding environment on animals in our care and support the L.A. Zoo, local, national, and international animal care programs to identify best practices in animal welfare.


  • Anyone 16 years of age and older is welcome to apply.
  • Applicants must be able conduct observations while on grounds in public areas.
  • All Research volunteers must successfully complete the UCLA Extension course “Observing Animals: Behavioral Studies in Zoos.” This Biology 480.31 course is held each Fall, typically September – December, one evening per week, with assignments to be carried out at the Zoo during daytime hours. For more information about the course click here. Registration for this course opens mid-summer. To register for the Fall course click here or call 310-825-9971.

Special Requirements

For the safety of our visitors and animals, all volunteers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccine, an annual negative tuberculosis test, and complete a background check by the City of Los Angeles upon acceptance to the program.


Note: Only submit an application if you have completed the “Observing Animals: Behavioral Studies in Zoos” course or if you have been directed to so by the Research Department.

Applications for this program will be available and accepted at the conclusion of the course in December.