Job Postings



Buffalo Zoo

Closing Date
July 6, 2019

full-time, non-exempt hourly CSEA union position

Reporting to the General Curator, the Animal Behavior Manager / Animal Keeper III provides oversight of the Buffalo Zoo’s animal enrichment and operant conditioning programs serving to improve the health and welfare of the animals in the Buffalo Zoo’s animal collection. This position also contributes directly to animal welfare initiatives and positive guest experiences and performs other duties as required.

In addition to regular duties of a Keeper III (listed below), the additional responsibilities of the Animal Behavior Manager include but are not limited to:

Essential Functions:
• Instruct and mentor animal care staff, volunteers, and interns in development of behavioral animal management skills including feedback and assessment and goal development.
• Promote program mission, objectives, goals and philosophies for enrichment, training, and applied behavior management.
• Address questions of behavioral management and animal welfare, and provide direction and assistance with training and enrichment initiatives.
• Recommend and implement new behavioral management, operant conditioning, and enrichment initiatives, methodologies, and techniques. Disseminate information and knowledge via keeper meetings and email.
• Assist staff in identification of animal behavioral problems and welfare concerns; develop appropriate action plans to alleviate concerns, and provide training plans for development of medical and/or husbandry (i.e. presentation, shifting, targeting, etc.) behaviors.
• In conjunction with team leaders helps develop Animal Demonstrations, interactive animal activities, etc.
• Ensures that all staff and volunteers are abiding by rules and regulations related to enrichment and training as set forth by the Buffalo Zoo policies and other regulatory agencies (e.g. USDA, AZA, etc).
• Manages the approval process of Animal Enrichment Approval Forms, Animal Training Requests, and New Behavior Shaping Plans.
• Maintains a database of all approved and not approved submissions related to animal training and enrichment.
• Provides initial and ongoing training to staff on the subjects of animal enrichment and operant conditioning.
• Maintains records of staff training and ensures staff have fulfilled training requirements prior to participation in training and enrichment programs.
• Maintains inventory of training and enrichment supplies used by the various teams and orders such as required. Interacts with vendors, suppliers, etc. as needed.
• Serves on both the Animal Welfare Committee and the Animal Training and Enrichment Committee


Basic Purpose and Responsibility:
Under the supervision of the General Curator and/or Assistant Curator, the Keeper III is responsible for supporting the day-to-day operations associated with the husbandry of animals and the maintenance of animal exhibits including coordination and supervision of keeper work activities.

Essential Functions:
• Primary accountability for specific functions and results. The list of essential functions is not exhaustive and may be supplemented or changed as necessary.
• Prepares and provides diet and feeding regime to designated animals as specified by the Veterinarian.
• Oversees and assists in the cleaning and shifting of animals to perform exhibit maintenance duties and modify exhibits to meet seasonal requirements.
• Assists veterinary staff with the coordination of prescribed treatment routines or medical administration and in preparing animals for other medical procedures or surgeries.
• Monitors and documents daily animal health and behavioral status, noting short or long term variances, and reports any abnormality to Curator or veterinary staff.
• Oversees daily animal care activities of keeper staff assigned to Team.
• Assists with departmental research projects as directed by Curator and provides support to Zoo projects as needed.
• Identifies any potential maintenance or safety issues and takes necessary steps to correct the situation or problem.
• Works to promote quality guest service in all communications with the public, other zoo employees, volunteers and interns.
• Assumes the duties of Keeper I and Keeper II on an as needed basis.
• Tracks supply and equipment needs and orders materials to support the area’s inventory needs.
• Coordinates work activities involved in periodic exhibit refurbishment.
• Oversees work activities and provides training for new keepers, interns, or seasonal workers assigned to that area.
• Performs other duties as required by the supervisor or Curator.

Education and Pre-requisites

Position Qualifications:
To perform at a proficient level and be fully qualified, a person would be expected to have:

Education (Minimum Needed):
• Two-year degree in one of the natural sciences or other discipline – four-year degree preferred. Degrees in other fields may be substituted by additional relevant experience.
Experience (Minimum Needed):
• Three years’ experience with a diversified exotic animal collection, with demonstrated proficiency.
Special Skills:
• Experience with physical restraint equipment, vehicles and related maintenance equipment.
• Demonstrated proficiency in use of all cleaning and husbandry equipment and supplies.
• Must possess or be able to obtain within 30-days of employment a valid New York State driver’s license and have an average or better driving record based on the evaluation process of our insurance company. Retention of position is contingent upon maintaining required license. Must upgrade to classification appropriate to requirements (non-CDLC or CDL class).
• TB Test conducted annually.
• Must be able to work weekends and holidays as necessary.

Compensation and benefits

Full Time benefits available include health plan, life insurance, dental, vision, 403B retirement plan, annual leave time, holiday time, and sick time. Benefits are available after the successful completion of an introductory probation period of 60 days of work.

Application instructions

This is a full-time, non-exempt hourly CSEA union position. If interested, please submit resume and cover letter to Lisa Smith, General Curator, Buffalo Zoo, via Use subject line: Buffalo Zoo Animal Behavior Manager. Attachments are to be formatted: Last name first name Cover Letter.Doc or PDF, and Last name first name Resume.Doc or PDF.

The Buffalo Zoo is an At Will employer and all Buffalo Zoo employees are subject to employment eligibility and background security checks as well as testing for illegal substance use as allowed by law.