While a few places in the world offer programs in animal training. It it suggested that trainers should have an educational background or a degree in animal behavior, psychology, and zoology. It is also recomended that they sould also have well public speaking skills and have some experience in theater because, at most places, trainers do a little acting and speaking. Trainers are also required to be phsyically healthy, and scuba trained. The prefect education is a good place to start because first hand experience with animals is essential. At SeaWorld, young people can get their head start by attending SeaWorld's Adventure Camps where students can participate in a number of activities like perparing meals for penguins, cleaning stingray habitiats, assist in the care and training of cetaceans and pennipeids, and finally, learn what is takes to seek animal-relating careers. At Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key Florida, high school and college students can take part in the college-accreditted Dolphinlab programs where participants can acutally gets hands-on in Dolphin research and training. Other experiences may include volunteering at zoos, aquariums, or veterinary hospitals, handing horses and birds.
The adverange working hours for a marine mammal trainer a day is usually 10 hours a day. On a weekly scale it is 40 hours a week. Some trainers may work up to 60-80 hours in cases of disasters, animal births, transfers, and health of the animals. Trainers also prepare and distribute diets for their animals, including medicines for those that suffer from medical conditions. When perparing diets, trainers must make sure that there are no scrapes, cuts, exploded eyeballs, or other damages on the fish to prevent illness. They even have to add vitamins, provided to them by vets, to insure their proper nutrition. When food perperation is complete, the trainers now have to carry and lift 22.7 kg(50 lb) buckets of fish and ice to their animals and feed them, and save other buckets for daily shows and training sessions. When not preforming public training sessions, trainers must excersice their animals and keep them well stimulated and maintained as possible followed by private training sessions which might also invlove veterinarians, doing their daily medical routines to give the animals medical examinations. All trainers have their own form of training marine mammals in one way like every dolphin has their own way on how to raise their calves. After all, its natural for animals to imprint on their human compaions and mimic some of their movements. While they are required to assist and conduct training sessions with the animals, trainers are also required to present animal shows to the public everyday. They deliver livey, enthusiastic and inspirational presentations each time. However, training and mela preps are not the only duties of a marine mammal trainer, observing and documenting animal behavior is the most important part of the job because for as much it is known about marine mammals like killer whales, and sea lions, there is still so much that has yet to be understood like, mating patterns of each indivudal animal, if each dominate animal have their own way of establishing and maintaing their matriline/group, and how will they oneday respond to climate change.
The Swim test is usually a 67-m(220-ft.) swim in which you are to swim which takes place at a stadium pool(mainly the whale+dolphin stadium) and then perform a 7.3-m(24-ft) free dive to retrieve a small weight and bring it to the surface. Afterward, you would have to come out of the water onto the stage where you would have to do military-pushups before speaking into a microphone to test the clarity of their voice(after all in most of the shows, acting is involved) after the physical exertition. Usually tests will vary from one park to the next.
SeaWorld Trainer Profile: Ken "Pete" Peters:
Ken "Pete" Peters
Occupation: Senior Killer Whale Trainer
Where: Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld San Diego
Years of Experience in the mairne mammal department: 20 years(est.)
What made you want such a job of working with marine mammals? I love sea life
How did you get such a great job?
I applied and it just happened
What do you like most about your job?
I like the relationships we build with the animals
What is it like to swim with a killer whale at Shamu Stadium? The best
What was the most unexpected part of your job?
Training SCUBA on the whales
What was your first job in the marine mammal department?
My first job was at dolphin stadium
What was it like to work with dolphins during your first few years working at SeaWorld? Great experience, fun animals
What are some of the things you learned in school that you use now?
I took Psych in school so I use it all the time
What was your most proudest moment on the job?
Training a dolphin back flip in my second year was my most satisfying behavior trained.
Do you have any advice to people who would like to be marine mammal trainers?
Just go to college and don’t give up if this your dream