Job Postings

Lead/Senior Keeper


Oakland Zoo

Closing Date
September 27, 2019

A Senior or Lead Animal Keeper position is desired in the care of our large cat and hoof stock area. This position is also the Supervising Primary overseeing the area. In this position the person is responsible for daily management and long term planning, as well as leading/supervising string staff including relief and floating keepers, apprentice keepers, interns, volunteers, and behavioral observers. A Senior or Lead Keeper position requires excellent animal training, time management, team work and staff/volunteer supervision skill sets. S/he must be an experienced keeper in the field with experience in the areas of animal care/management. This person should possess excellent communication skills and participate in leadership development training. Work ranges from the physical tasks associated with feeding, enrichment, and maintenance of the animals’ living areas to more analytical tasks of planning, record keeping and communication. The Senior or Lead Keeper is expected to have or develop the appropriate level of knowledge of the natural history and captive wildlife management of the animals in his/her care, and to ensure the best possible physical and psychological well-being of the animals in his/her care. The Senior or Lead Keeper is expected to be able to use the tools of animal observation, enrichment, training and other animal management methods. S/he is expected to implement Department/Zoo priorities as well as demonstrate the initiative and expertise to regularly find ways to make improvements to their area. S/he is expected to guide and support junior staff and volunteers as appropriate. The Senior/Lead Animal Keeper takes direction from the Zoological Manager and Department Director regarding daily operations as appropriate. S/he must also be able to represent the Zoo in a variety of public settings including press interviews, instructional classes, and casual communication with Zoo guests. The Senior or Lead Keeper is expected to be active as a department leader and can be expected to cover department function and emergency response coordination in the absence of Zoological Manager or Department Director.
1. At least 3 years full time experience in the care of large cats.
2. Senior keeper position requires a minimum of 4 years and Lead keeper position requires a minimum of 7 years full time experience in the care of wild animals in the zoo field.
3. Experience in a leadership and/or management role both with paid staff and unpaid volunteers/interns
4. Extensive knowledge and experience in behavioral training (operant conditioning emphasizing positive reinforcement) theory and practical application
5. Good physical condition; able to lift a minimum of 50 lbs. (i.e. feed sack) and move a minimum of 120lbs.(i.e. hay bale); ability to walk long distances on uneven terrain in variable environmental conditions (e.g., steep, muddy,etc.)
6. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record
7. Willingness to work outside normal business hours including weekends and holidays
8. Good written and verbal communications skills
9. Knowledge of the habits and hazards of working with wild, dangerous animals; willingness to work with some physical risk while observing proper safety precautions

Education and Pre-requisites

1. Working knowledge of other species such as, hoof stock, birds, and other mammal species.
2. Ability to inspire guests in casual (e.g., one on one) and formal (i.e., programs) venues to take action for conservation
3. Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology or a related field
4. Experience with live fire arms or darting equipment
5. Experience coordinating emergency response procedures (Senior Keeper)

Compensation and benefits

Starting salaries $22/hour for Senior keeper and $24/hour for Lead keeper, commensurate with experience. Comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, life insurance and 403B retirement benefits; two weeks of vacation and ten paid holidays annually.

Application instructions

Candidates not meeting minimum requirements will not receive a response. Applicants selected for candidacy are required to attend an on-site working interview.

Submit Resume, cover letter, and 3 professional references via email only to:
Ann-Marie Bisagno, Zoological Manager: