Job Postings

Animal Keeper – Primates


Oregon Zoo

Closing Date
September 15, 2021

Entry rate: $24.53; 6 months; $26.08; 18 months: $27.71; 30 months: $29.44; 42 months: $31.29/hour

Work area: Oregon Zoo – Primate
Work week: Full-time: Friday through Tuesday (Wednesday and Thursday off)
Shift: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Animal Keeper – Primates position specializes in the care of primates, including chimpanzees, orangutans, old world monkeys and lemurs, as well as other small mammals. The keeper in this position is responsible for day-to-day husbandry activities and additional essential job duties as listed below.

What will you do:
An employee in this position must be able to perform all the essential job duties listed below with or without reasonable accommodation; however, this list is not intended to include all of the specific tasks which an employee in this position may be expected to perform.

• Performs and coordinates day-to-day care and specialty duties required for primates, including large apes and small primates, including crate training, manual restraint, and operant conditioning.
• Experience with similar species that demonstrates knowledge of their natural history and current industry care standards, including but not limited to, feeding strategies, introduction methods, breeding and rearing practices, social management, training practices and strategies and engaging enrichment.
• May be responsible for duties including representing the Oregon Zoo to and with wildlife coalitions and other professional associations, developing innovative procedures, and participating in conservation and recovery programs.
• Coordinates and performs upkeep, cleaning, and disinfecting functions for areas such as buildings, cages, yards, pools, food trays and water troughs. Also maintains keeper areas such as area offices, kitchen, restrooms, storage, and other areas.
• Checks condition of enclosures, doors, tools and other equipment and requests repairs or modifications as needed. Develops safe work habits and contributes to the safety of self and co-workers. Assesses and maintains security and safety of animal areas including daily perimeter checks and initiates corrections for any deficiencies or safety concerns. Follows all safety guidelines and procedures.
• Coordinates and performs animal feeding duties such as preparing prescribed diets, setting out and offering food in a safe and species’ appropriate manner including situations where multiple species may share food access. Makes precise reports on food consumption and recommends diet modifications as needed.
• Ability to identify normal and abnormal behavior of similar species including reproductive behavior, eating habits, group aggression issues, health problems, injuries, and changes or response to medication. Assesses whether alternative practice should be implemented and discusses those with area supervisor; consults with medical staff as warranted.
• Utilize animal training and conditioning to facilitate participation and cooperation with daily keeper and medical procedures.
• Administers medications as prescribed by Veterinarian. Observes animals to determine the medications taken and informs Veterinarian and supervisor of response to medication or other treatments. Follows Veterinarian and supervisor orders for skin, foot, and other bodily care.
• Designs, develops, and implements daily and other enrichment programs which demonstrate knowledge of designated species’ natural biology and individual animal needs. This includes brainstorming and researching, presentation and obtaining approvals, fabrication and formulations, and tests and observations to continually assess effectiveness of enhancing animal welfare.
• Sets up and maintains a variety of records on daily health, behavior, diet, inventory and supply, reproductive activity, births, deaths, and transfers, among others. Compiles data for a variety of reports and research projects.
• Assists with the capture, restraint or segregation of animals for shipment, medical treatment, research or transfer to another area or facility. Can include manual restraint of other small primates and mammals.
• Participates in developing education and conservation messaging and presenting these messages to the public through keeper chats and animal demonstrations. Assists other Zoo staff in the preparation of educational material by providing information about animal behavior, size, habitat, etc. and acts as a resource to the public and other departments.
• Ability to safely conduct informative and professional tours through area of responsibility. Safely mentoring and overseeing adult and teenage volunteers, interns, and students.
• Coordinates and performs emergency service functions and participates in codes and drills. Performs other duties as assigned during an emergency situation.
• Operates and maintains tools and equipment to maintain a safe working environment, which may include, for example, pepper spray, painted safety zones, appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), video monitors, mirrors, lockouts/tagouts, signage, baffle boards and other capture equipment, hot wire, CO2 canisters and fire extinguishers, first aid kits, ladders and other items.
• Participates in professional development and research functions, plans and conducts research, conservation, and confers with supervisor and administrative staff concerning findings, practices and facilities.
• Effectively communicates both verbally and in writing. Attends and participates at animal care and other zoo-wide meetings. Assists the public, public officials and other employees in a professional and courteous manner. Contributes to a positive team atmosphere.
• Ability to work effectively and contribute in a close, team-oriented environment as well as work independently. Completes self and team directed functions. Works closely to coordinate with colleagues, supervisors, gardeners, custodians, security, maintenance, and other Zoo staff.
• Has regular and punctual attendance.
• Performs other duties as assigned.

Education and Pre-requisites

• Bachelors degree in biology, zoology, or related fields AND
• Three years professional animal keeper experience working with primates, including large carnivores;
• OR any combination of education and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the classification duties and responsibilities.

Compensation and benefits

Salary: $24.53 – $31.29 hourly
Full Benefits package

Application instructions

To apply: visit for the complete job announcement and a link to our online hiring center. Metro is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer