Zoo Keeper - temporary - 6 months

Reid Park Zoo - Tucson, AZ


Reid Park Zoological Society is seeking a temporary Zoo Keeper for approximately 6 months. The Society is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support, advocate for and enhance the value of Reid Park Zoo and its mission to encourage commitment to the conservation of biological diversity and to provide educational and fun experiences for visitors of all ages. Reid Park Zoo is the largest attended cultural attraction in Southern Arizona with approximately 500,000 visitors annually. Be a part of a vibrant, growing organization as Reid Park Zoo implements an exciting master plan that will be investing over $60M in new exhibits over the next ten years. No phone calls or visits please.

Overview: This position will oversee care of dangerous animals and habitats. The Keeper will provide high quality care for the animals on their area as well as assist with habitat and night house maintenance. Animal care includes behavioral observations, positive reinforcement training, preparing and providing enrichment, cleaning, engaging with welfare committee as well as the supervisory and vet team. The Keeper will be responsible for daily record-keeping including daily reports, medication logs, welfare tracking, enrichment records, animal training records and area notes. The Keeper may work in a variety of animal areas and may be a swing or primary keeper of an area. Work assignments are subject to the hazards inherent in caring for wild animals in captivity.

Required: minimum 12 months experience as primary Keeper for dangerous animals/ hoof stock. For safety reasons, we cannot consider volunteer or apprentice only experience. Please do not apply unless you have the required experience.

Reports To: Animal Care Supervisor


Animal Care

  • Daily cleaning associated with animal night house, habitat, and visitor viewing area.
  • Husbandry care for the animals on the area (feeding, medicating, training, enriching and care specific to the species).
  • Completes reports including but not limited to daily animal reports, enrichment logs, water quality logs, training logs, medication logs, animal incident reports, etc.
  • Develops & implements enrichment activities for animals following AZA guidelines and per department practices and protocols.
  • Trains utilizing positive reinforcement to aid in animal management & promote visitor education.
  • Monitors animal welfare and report concerns to supervisor.
  • Follows all animal care protocols and policies.
  • Assist in the training of new staff and mentoring volunteers.
  • Completes all trainings as required.
  • If working in elephant area, works in protected contact, positive reinforcement management style
  • If working in elephant area, hands-on work and progression under direction of Zoo Area Supervisor of Elephants and General Curator; hands-on work always completed with 2 qualified elephant keepers


  • Participates in formal presentations e.g. Keeper talks, special events, behind-the-scenes tours etc.
  • Answers visitor questions concerning animals, conservation, zoo operations, etc.

Health & Safety

  • Assists in the capture and/or physical/ chemical restraint & transportation of animals.
  • Participates in emergency drills.
  • Willing to maintain proficiency with darting equipment & firearms if selected for safety team. Willingness to serve on safety team.
  • Responds to animal emergencies following approved protocols.
  • Stays current on required vaccinations.
  • Administrative Functions

Perform duties in accordance with RPZS policies such as completing expense reports and purchasing or cash handling procedures.

Provide excellent customer service as a component of all job duties.

Complete all animal records in variety of software programs including Animal Care Software, ZIMS, etc

  • Other Duties as Assigned

Preferred Qualifications, Skills and Abilities

  • One year paid exotic animal care experience. For dangerous animal care, a minimum 12 months paid experience with dangerous animals is required. AZA accredited facility preferred.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in a biological science, animal or zoology related program.
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Regular physical attendance at work.
  • Must be able to work outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Work assignments are subject to the hazards inherent in caring for exotic & dangerous animals in a zoological institution.
  • Demonstrated critical analysis, customer service, problem solving, conflict resolution, decision making, leadership, team building, time management, and motivational skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to tactfully handle stressful situations, negotiate and resolve conflicts, maintain confidentiality and to respect and observe organizational protocol.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of RPZS and coworkers as well as diverse volunteers, guests, donors, community partners, vendors and others.
  • Able to work flexible work schedule and adjust as required. Weekend, special event and some holiday work are required.


  • Please note that this document is not an exhaustive list. It is intended to give a reasonable idea of what might be required.

Job Type: Temporary


  • Time Management: 1 year (Preferred)
  • zoo animal: 1 year (Required)


  • Bachelor's (Required)

Work authorization:

  • United States (Required)

Employment Length:

  • 4 - 6 months