Daniel Simounds

What does a Zoologist do?

Zoologists are involved in the study of animals and animal behaviour. They observe animals in their natural environments or in a lab as learn as much as possible about animal life.

What do you work in and what is your specialty?

As a tiger handler its great privilege to work with such majestic creatures, and I spend a lot of time just building relationships with them. I will feed them, exercise them, and then spend 2-3 hours per day on structured enrichment activities.

How did you become interested in this area ?

I’ve always loved animals. I was the kid who would bring home different stray animals and make my parents keep and look after them. I chose UQ because it is perfectly positioned, close to many zoological facilities, and Queensland offers so many natural beauties and opportunities.

What study path have you taken to get here?

I went to the University of Queensland and did a Bachelor in Zoology. The course material was excellent and there are many things I learned during my degree that were and are, still unknown by many people.  I enjoyed meeting students of various backgrounds who shared the same passion and drive.  After I participated in several United States internships and worked as a keeper at Darling Downs Zoo, before joining Tiger Island. I have returned to University to study a tourism management degree.

What do you like most about your job?

It’s a dream and a privilege to work with these animals. The most amazing experience as a tiger handler is reaching a position of trust in the relationship that an adult tiger feels comfortable enough to stand on your shoulders. Not only are our captive individuals amazing but using them to really make a big difference to the conservation of wild tigers around the globe is definitely a driving factor for me and the entire team. We also spend a lot of time raising money for big cat conservation

Do you have any particular career highlights?

My major achievements during and since studying include raising several thousand dollars for big cat conservation and I have now joined a team that has raised more than $2 million dollars for tiger conservation.

What advice would you give to someone interested in working in this area?

Definitely go ahead and do it! I have graduated and got my dream job but I am also a current student as well.


Daniel Simounds


Tiger Handler, Dreamworld