Animal mad: should you be recruiting from the zoo?

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Ever complained that managing a team was like herding cats? Want to expand your talent pool… beyond humans? Well it might not be long until companies have an AR (animal resources) department.

Dolphins have famously been trained to rescue people at sea, find underwater mines and drop off or retrieve items from the ocean floor. However  there are plenty of other jobs being recruited for from the animal kingdom.

You may not have a job description suiting a ferret just yet, but the U.S. Space Command has been known to use them to run cables through piping, including while building a missile warning centre in 1999. Whether it’s for a mega computer or just a concert, running cables through 20 metres of pipes is an arduous task, so why not train a ferret to pull cords behind them? In 1970 the National Accelerator lab used a $35 ferret to clean out almost 100mof pipes, which had to be spotless for accurate experiments.

Not all animal workers are serving science, of course. From parrots used as lookouts for gangs in South America to smuggler pigeons bringing contraband into prisons and over borders, there are plenty of nefarious uses for training furry and feathered friends. Homing pigeons are well-known for their ability to be trained to fly between two places – and it’s hard for police to round up flying evidence.

So next time you say “A trained monkey could do that!” consider posting your job ads at the zoo.


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