Vice President - Animal Care

New England Aquarium - Boston, MA4.2

As a global conservation organization located on the historic waterfront in Boston, New England Aquarium works to inspire our audiences to become part of the movement to promote conservation solutions for healthier oceans through conservation science, engaging exhibits, educational programs and advocacy.

As we enter our 50th anniversary year, it is an exciting time to join the New England Aquarium and help us build on our rich 50-year history of scientific research, education and inspiration. Vikki Spruill recently joined New England Aquarium as President and CEO. Vikki brings a wealth of national leadership experience both in philanthropy and marine conservation. We now stand poised to begin a new era, to re-imagine the Aquarium of the future by combining our strengths as an iconic civic institution and community partner for social change and an organization committed to conservation science and advocacy.

We have an exciting opportunity for a Vice President of Animal Care to join us and provide overall leadership for the Aquarium's husbandry and animal care programs (including Fishes and Birds, Mammals, Animal Health, Rescue and Rehabilitation, Husbandry and Sustainability, Environmental Quality, Life Support System Operations, and Diving Operations), and serve as an advocate for animal care across the Aquarium. This role includes developing a vision for ethical animal care within the context of the Aquarium's mission, overseeing collection planning and regulatory compliance, coordinating efforts across program areas, providing oversight for relevant departments, and providing thought leadership for the wider international animal care community. The VP reports to the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating & Financial Officer.


Institutional thought leadership Contributes toward institutional strategic planning, elevating issues related to global trends within the zoo and aquarium community and changes to our collective state-of-the-art understanding of animal cognition, welfare, husbandry and clinical care. Actively participates in relevant initiatives within professional associations (e.g., AZA SAFE).
Model leadership Acts as a model leader for the entire institution, placing the priorities and viability of the institution and its conservation mission above special interests within the Animal Care department.
Departmental vision and leadership Develops a vision for animal care and live exhibits within the context of the Aquarium's mission. Creates an atmosphere of departmental and inter-departmental collaboration, integrity, accountability, and trust.
Strategy and planning Develops, and implements short- and long-term strategies for animal care, exhibitions, and collection planning. Develops, implements and reviews the Aquarium's Institutional Collection Plan, and reviews animal acquisition and transition plans.
General management Provides oversight for departmental goals and objectives, operations, and responsible human resource management, including annual staff performance appraisals, as well as modeling expectations for, and professional development of, the management team.
Program coordination Helps coordinate programs with other departments within the Aquarium, including educational interpretation, research and conservation (Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life), exhibit development, and visitor experience.


Professional standards Sets and maintains highest standards for Aquarium's animal care policies and practices, including husbandry, enrichment, veterinary and preventive care, as well as life support system operation and the management of environmental quality. Establishes an efficient cross-departmental process of collaboration (e.g., between Animal Care, Visitor Services and Facilities) to always ensure excellent animal health throughout the Aquarium.
Advocacy Serves as an advocate for animal welfare across the institution. Sits on the Aquarium's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Budgets Oversees departmental operations and capital improvement budgets, and associated capital project work. Works with Development Department to write grants to support the work of the Animal Care Division.
Health and safety Oversees departmental workplace safety to ensure compliance with state, Federal and institutional health and safety standards. Ensures departmental participation in the Emergency Management Plan and ensures that all safety drills are conducted in a timely manner.
Exhibit development and maintenance Provides husbandry input into exhibit planning and delivery. Ensures that exhibits contribute to institutional mission and visitor experience goals. Ensures exhibits are well maintained in terms of animal care and visitor appeal. Advocates for animal care staff engagement in the visitor experience.
Conservation support Ensures that the animal collection and departmental resources support institutional conservation research objectives and mission goals.
Professional development Ensures that animal care staff are educated in animal husbandry, water quality and water treatment, foundational biology, safety, and animal health care practices, and facilitates their participation in opportunities for professional growth and skill development.
Compliance Ensures compliance with relevant state and Federal regulations concerning animal care and welfare, exhibition, and acquisition. Ensures that all required permits and licenses (e.g. animal care, safety, environmental, controlled substances) are obtained and kept current. Formulates and implements animal management practices and programs that meet or exceed AZA accreditation requirements.
Best practices Maintains knowledge of industry innovations, new techniques, and best practices through participation in meetings, conferences, journals, and regular communication with professional colleagues. Ensures rigorous application of the Institutional Collection Plan.
Other duties Performs other position-related duties, as applicable and/or assigned.


Minimum Training and Experience

8 - 10 years of experience in staff and operations management at a senior level in a relevant field.
5 - 8 years hands-on and/or direct supervisory experience working with aquatic animals.
Bachelor's degree in marine sciences, biology, zoology or related fields.
Master's Degree in related field, or Veterinary Degree desirable.
Driver's License and SCUBA Certification desirable.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Comprehensive knowledge and demonstrated ability in aquarium or zoo exhibit management, and management of live animal collections.
Excellent communication skills.
Strong strategic thinking skills.
Strong leadership, team building and organizational skills, attention to detail and proven ability to handle multiple complex tasks simultaneously.
Strong interpersonal skills with the proven ability to interact positively and successfully with all levels of the institution and community.
Sound professional knowledge of biology and husbandry concepts, with an ability to apply to an aquarium setting.

Knowledge and understanding of:
All facets of aquatic animal care (e.g. disease prevention, exhibit fabrication, life support systems and water chemistry).
A wide range of aquatic animal (vertebrate and invertebrate) taxa.
Advanced knowledge of aquatic life support systems and water quality.

For more information and to apply online please visit

New England Aquarium is committed to diversity in the workplace and is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC.