Job Postings

Zookeeper, Wild Encounters


Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo

Closing Date
December 9, 2017

In July 2001, Chicago Zoological Society embarked on creating a revolutionary zoo experience for families. The result is Hamill Family Play Zoo, an interactive play adventure filled with animals, plants, and people that engages children and families helping to develop caring attitudes towards the natural world. The Play Zoo lets children touch animals, paint murals, plant gardens, discover insects and so much more. It is an amazingly fun way to connect with nature. With approximately 300 individual animals representing 58 species, children also have an opportunity to connect with a variety of animals in a unique setting. And in July 2015, Wild Encounters was opened and our Animal Ambassador program began. More than 70 individual animal ambassadors representing nearly 40 species occupy the holding areas, which are specifically dedicated to reptiles, birds, and small mammals. There is also an outdoor bird mew and an area for larger animals with adjacent outdoor access.

As a Zookeeper in Wild Encounters, you will, under close supervision, provide general care for animals and performs related work of maintaining buildings, grounds, and interpretives in assigned area. As a Zookeeper, you will also inform, assist, and direct guests as necessary.

The successful candidate will be expected to: Prepare and distribute food as directed. Observe assigned animals closely, routinely, and objectively report to supervisor on their behavior, health, and welfare. Keep animal records as assigned. Observe condition of assigned area(s), animal enclosures, and equipment. Monitor and clean public space(s), plants, and interpretives as assigned. Report maintenance needs. Perform minor maintenance tasks as assigned. Clean animal enclosures, pools, and service areas. Study specific reference materials about animals in assigned area. Read other zoological and husbandry texts as assigned. Perform routines of assigned areas and specialized procedures as directed. Monitor guests to insure animal and human safety and protection of Society property. Communicate with and assist guests. Take initiative to facilitate guests’ appreciation of animals and enjoyment of their visit. Demonstrate knowledge of and implement Society-wide and area emergency procedures as directed. Other related duties as assigned.

Education and Pre-requisites

The requirements for this position include: Bachelor’s degree in relevant biological field or equivalent combination of training and/or experience required. Animal care facility, farm, kennel, or equivalent animal experience required. Experience with native North American and/or farm animals preferred. Incumbent must possess an understanding of practical principles of animal behavior and the ability to work with live animals safely. Ability to perceive and act upon relevant changes in animal behaviors and conditions. Strong operant conditioning skills a plus. Strong public speaking skills preferred; experience and enjoyment with public speaking skills and public interaction preferred. Good interpersonal skills. The ability to interact in a courteous and professional manner. Successful candidate will be able to work effectively with children and families. Knowledge of natural history, zoology, or animal husbandry preferred. Must be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently. Must learn and integrate information, knowledge, and direction quickly. Ability to work in a fast pace and ever-changing work group preferred. Good decision-making skills. Must be alert and make sound independent judgments. Incumbent must have or acquire general knowledge about the Society, gain an understanding of the Society’s mission, and become familiar with and follow Society policies and procedures. Incumbent must develop proficiency in routines of assigned areas and specialized procedures as directed. Incumbent must demonstrate the ability to accurately perform job duties. Must be reliable.

Valid driver’s license required for Illinois residents within 90 days of hire; valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents. Must be able to read, write, and speak the English language fluently. Spanish fluency a plus, but not required. This is a full-time position with rotating shifts, including weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Compensation and benefits

Zookeeper: $21.70/hour per union contract.

Application instructions

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile. Please visit our website at Please look for requisition number 1513BR.