The Corriere del Ticino, a newspaper based in the Italian part of Switzerland, said the fee, which can reach a maximum of 500 francs, was introduced in 2009 for all those above the age of 16 wishing to do a traineeship prior to a possible apprenticeship at the zoo.
The measure is now being criticized by some experts.
The paper quotes Hans Schmid, the head of animal care at the Zurich Zoo as saying that until the fee was introduced, the zoo received more than 600 applications a year for animal guardian positions. Last year, applications were down to 250 and still, all available places were occupied for at least three months.
Ralf Margreiter, a Zurich city council Green member and expert in training and education said that while the effort to control the number of applications is understandable, there are other possibilities to consider.
“Other companies for example have introduced mandatory information days, which have reduced the number of applications. People are asked to invest time, which is a more rational way to create an obstacle, than asking to pay,” Margreiter was quoted as saying by the paper.