WANTED: a big cat lover, physically fit, with a view to a long-term commitment.

Err, please note, you need to love big cats as well as being a big lover of cats to be pawfect for the job.

Australia Zoo is advertising for a tiger handler to join the crew working with the big cats at the Tiger Temple.

Tiger den supervisor Giles Clark said the best person for the job did not necessarily have to have years of experience or relevant tertiary education.

"We are looking for the right type of person and this won't necessarily be a person with all sorts of academic qualifications," he said.

"Previous animal experience would be an advantage, but it doesn't necessarily have to be with tigers or big cats." What the zoo needs is someone who is "confident, but not over-confident".

"We don't want some sort of egomaniac," Mr Clark said.

"We need someone with a level-headed assertiveness.

"And they need to be fit and fairly strong."

This qualification is not in case the person might need to run away quickly - they wouldn't stand a chance against one of the big cats.

It is to meet the physical demands of the job.

"It might look glamorous, but there is also a lot of cleaning, scrubbing, hosing and preparing food that is involved," Mr Clark said.

"The person who gets the job will be lucky in that we have a very hands-on relationship with our tigers."

Australia Zoo is not looking for a fly-by-nighter. "We need someone who will be committed, passionate and dedicated," Mr Clark said.

The previous tiger handler position became available when the former handler retired after 13 years of service and 1200 applications were received for the position.


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