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Zoological Manager

Santa Barbara Zoo

Zoological Manager

Santa Barbara, CA
Full Time
  • Responsibilities

    Immediate opportunity! This position is part of a dynamic and progressive Animal Care & Health team.

    Bring your strong animal care knowledge, daily animal care management experience, teamwork ethic, personal accountability, and proven enthusiasm to our team of dedicated professionals! You will be responsible for managing daily care operations; supervising a team of keepers; ensuring the maintenance of exhibits; providing a positive guest experience; supervising all Keeper positions, and assisting with management of the animal collection and collection planning.

    Schedule: Sunday-Thursday, generally between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, including some evenings for events, holidays, and based on the business needs.Status/Compensation: This is a full-time, regular, exempt position. $54,580 per year & benefits.

    Job Title: Zoological Manager

    SUMMARY:Under general direction of the Director of Animal Husbandry & Welfare, the Zoological Manager is responsible for: managing daily animal care operations; ensuring the maintenance of exhibits; providing a positive guest experience; supervising all Keeper positions; and assisting with management of the animal collection and collection planning.

    ESSENTIAL DUTIES include the following:

    Animal Care & Welfare:

    Manages and supports a team of Keepers in providing the highest standards of care to ensure the health and well-being of the animal collection.

    Acts as a role model/leader in animal husbandry, health issues and welfare.

    Applies an understanding of animal husbandry, health and welfare to determine animal management direction, including operational procedures.

    Recognizes and determines the seriousness of abnormal behavior and medical condition.

    Recognizes the importance of animal welfare and regularly assesses the welfare of animals through daily operations and collection level welfare assessments, including collation of assessments and completion of identified actions, and strives to optimize welfare for all animals under their care.

    A member of the Animal welfare assessment working group which meets quarterly to review assessments, evaluate the assessment process, and identify and address welfare concerns.

    Confirms regular adherence to USDA Animal Welfare Act, regional, federal and AZA standards associated with animal care and welfare.

    Ensures that all animal husbandry and health duties are performed in the safest manner, following established standard operating guidelines (SOG’s) and protocols.

    Identifies specific animal husbandry/health problems, and implements a systematic approach to solving the problem.

    Communicates veterinary and animal husbandry information in a timely manner to the keeper team, Animal Care & Health team, and to Senior Management staff.

    Works collaboratively with the Veterinarians and Veterinary staff to ensure the highest level of medical care for the animals in the collection.

    Works collaboratively with the Nutritionist to ensure optimal nutrition and feeding strategies for the animals in the collection.

    Ensures application of training to optimize care and welfare, identifies and prioritizes training goals, supports keepers in developing shaping and training plans, and collaborates with the animal training consultants to achieve training goals and advance the training program.

    Ensures application of enrichment and enriching experiences to optimize care and welfare, identifies and prioritizes enrichment goals, evaluates enrichment activity schedules & devices to determine effectiveness, and collaborates with enrichment consultants to achieve enrichment goals and advance the behavioral enrichment program.

    Supports the Behavioral Enrichment Working Group to advance the behavioral enrichment program.

    Develops and supports the Ambassador Animal Program.

    Collaborates with the Animal Care team and other zoo departments on exhibit/animal space modifications and enhancements, and designing new exhibits/animal spaces.

    Develops, reviews and updates all applicable SOG’s and protocols for animal husbandry and the Ambassador Animal Program.

    Supports the goals of breeding programs for managed populations (SSPs).

    Supports participation in AZA animal programs (TAGs, SAGs, SSPs, SAFE)

    Knowledge of AZA accreditation standards and AZA animal programs.

    Ensures animal daily records are entered into the electronic record keeping system (ZIMS)

    Evaluates content and completeness of daily records in team area.

    Collaborates with the Vice President of Animal Care & Health, Director of Collections and Director of Animal Husbandry & Welfare, Animal Care staff, and other zoo departments to develop, review and modify the institutional collection plan.

    Collaborates effectively with other departments such as Education, Guest Services, Institutional Advancement, and Marketing to achieve the goals of the AC&H department and zoo-wide programs.

    Conservation & Science

    Collaborates with the Conservation & Science department to support participation in local conservation programs and field work opportunities.

    Collaborates with the Director of Conservation & Science, Veterinarians and Director of Animal Husbandry & Welfare to fulfill institutionally approved research requests.

    Supports in-house research activities and welfare studies.

    Actively encourages and supports Keepers to participate in AZA animal programs (TAGs, SAGs, SSPs, SAFE programs, committees) and leads by example by being part of an AZA animal program such as SSP coordinator, studbook keeper, TAG or SAG committee member or other)

    Emergency Situations

    Acts as incident commander in animal escape situations.

    Responds to animal emergencies quickly and calculates risks involved for animal, guest and staff.

    Remains calm and creates an atmosphere of calm and control for those dealing with the emergency situation.

    Utilizes emergency chemical immobilization as required.

    Uses capture equipment when required.

    Evaluates the impact of emergency or mock situations on all areas of the Zoo and suggests improvements to the emergency response systems.

    Active participant in the Weapons Team

    Guest Relations

    Ensures exhibit presentation quality standards for cleanliness and maintenance to maximize our guest experience.

    Responsibility for appropriate, well-maintained graphics and signage at exhibits.

    Associates with guests to assist and share information.

    Responds to all guest inquiries, complaints, and comments according to Zoo guest relation procedures.

    Develops and facilitates formal and informal educational programs.

    Staff Development

    Supervises Animal Care Keepers, Volunteers, and Interns and/or performs duties of subordinates as needed.

    Shares critical information, best practices, and procedures on a consistent basis with staff.

    Participates regularly in training provided by the zoo and by external consultants/classes for development of their leadership skills, including but not limited to, coaching, difficult conversations, providing feedback, conflict resolution and time management.

    Provides staff coaching and feedback on a regular basis to direct reports and coaches coworkers, volunteers and interns and provides informal feedback as needed.

    Performs regular formal evaluations for staff.

    Promotes a collaborative relationship across the whole AC&H department and with other zoo departments.

    Provides staff training on animal handling, capture, restraint, animal training, enrichment and animal welfare.

    Collaborates with the Director of Animal Husbandry & Welfare and Director of Collections to develop and implement professional development opportunities and plans for the Keepers that relate to animal care, animal welfare, animal training, behavioral enrichment, AZA programs, public relations, interpersonal skills and leadership skills.

    Proactively supports opportunities for the Keepers to contribute to conservation programs and participate in conservation field work.

    Encourages staff to present at scientific meetings/workshop/conferences, to give informal presentations and to prepare scientific papers or articles for publication.

    Collaborates with the Director of Husbandry & Welfare in staff assessment and the hiring process.

    Develops and facilitates the achievement of team goals in accordance with departmental and zoo goals.

    Build relationships and collaborates with peers at other AZA institutions.

    Operation and Business:

    Exemplifies the highest ethical standards to ensure the health and well being of the animal collection.

    Ensures that all regulatory standards are met such as USDA Animal Welfare Act, regional, federal and AZA standards.

    Reports animal maintenance issues and potential hazards for staff in a timely manner.

    Ensures consistent productive operating practices by identifying areas for potential revenue generation, reduction of costs and more efficient procedures.

    Interacts with other department managers as a member of the Manager’s team.

    Holds peers accountable for their performance.

    Schedules staff in a manner that prioritizes animal welfare, health and operational needs. Recognizes when overtime hours are required and approves appropriate staff overtime.

    Performs all tasks associated with time card processing.

    Collaborates with Manager of Volunteer Programs to schedule volunteers and interns.

    Collaborates with the Education department to develop and maintain the Ambassador Animal program and animal encounters.

    Represents the zoo for public relations and media events on behalf of the department.

    Adheres to Zoo’s policies and procedures as outlined in the Employee Policy Manual.

    Attends bi-monthly all-employee meetings.

    Attends departmental meetings.

    Attends weekly animal management meetings

    Attends quarterly animal welfare assessment working group meetings


    Greets every guest with a smile.

    Thanks guests for supporting/visiting the Zoo.

    Answers phone calls, voice mails, and e-mails promptly.

    Ensures the Zoo’s presentation standards for cleanliness and maintenance are met by keeping work areas clean, picking up trash, reporting unsafe or unsightly conditions.

    Maintains a clean neat appearance and adheres to the Zoo’s uniform dress code.

    Takes responsibility to stay informed about happenings at the Zoo, such as reading employee communications and attending meetings.

    Reflects the qualities outlined in the Guest Relations Statement, the Employee Pledge and our Core Values.

    Other duties as assigned to maintain efficient and quality zoo operations.


    To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements and environmental characteristics described below are representative of the knowledge, skill, ability, and working and physical elements required of the position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

    Education and Experience Required:

    Bachelor’s degree in Life Science such as Biology, Zoology, Ecology or closely related discipline

    Minimum three years’ experience with exotic mammal species in an AZA Accredited zoo, aquarium or closely related activity

    Experience working with large mammals preferred

    Experience in supervision, management and leadership required

    License, Certification, or Preferred Qualifications:

    Valid driver’s license with good driving record is desirable.

    Ability to certify in First Aid/CPR/AED

    Annual TB test clearance

    Knowledge, Skills and Ability:

    Knowledge of animal behavior and natural history.

    Knowledge of procedures for observation, handling/restraint, training, enrichment, reproduction, facility needs and health of animals.

    Understanding of emergency situation procedures, specifically those involved with guest and staff safety.

    Must possess sound judgment and ability to use common sense for effective decision-making.

    Basic computer skills (Word, Outlook, Excel).

    Knowledge of weaponry use and ability to handle weapons safely.

    Ability to remain calm and lead in stressful situations and in time of emergency/crisis.

    Ability to interact with a team including the ability to gather information and generate team consensus.

    Ability to follow oral and written direction.

    Effective oral and written communication skills.

    Ability to develop warm and friendly relationships at work.

    Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, our guests.

    Ability to exercise safe work habits while in proximity of potentially dangerous animals.

    Awareness of, sensitivity to, and empathy with animals

    Ability to be part of the Weapons Team

    Physical Demands & Work Environment:

    Requires the ability to access all areas of the facility.

    Ability to negotiate the zoo work environment including behind-the-scenes, lawns, gravel, and hilltop.

    Must be able to participate in operational practices; including climb stairs, manipulate tools, and stand/walk for long periods of time.

    Must be physically able to operate a variety of machines and equipment including electric cart, two-way radio and capture equipment.

    Ability to be trained for the use of heavy equipment.

    Must be able to lift 50 pounds occasionally, and 10 or fewer pounds frequently.

    Ability to exert a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly push, pull or otherwise move objects.

    The ability to use abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.

    The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.

    The ability to be an active member of the Weapons Team (Training and Emergencies).

    Ability to work successfully in a shared office with open space.

    Involves working out of doors in all weather conditions.

    Supportive and open employment culture.

    Tools Used:

    Standard cleaning equipment such as hoses, rakes, shovels, and brooms

    Two-way radio

    Personal Computer and software (Word, Excel, Outlook)

    Capture equipment

    Electric cart

    Hand tools

    Weapons ( Training & Emergencies)