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Animal Care Special Events Keeper

Nashville Zoo
Nashville, United States Posted: June 22, 2024

Nashville Zoo is dedicated to inspiring a culture of understanding and discovery of our natural world through conservation, innovation, and leadership. With a diverse collection of animals and a commitment to wildlife preservation, we provide engaging experiences for visitors of all ages.

  • Under the general supervision of the Animal Care Events Supervisor, ACE keepers perform a wide range of functions within the Mammal Department.
  • Their primary responsibilities include husbandry of assigned species (this may change daily) as well as maintaining and cleaning animal exhibits, yards, night enclosures, and contiguous areas.
  • Staffing for late night events is required for the keepers on this team, you may also be asked to assist with training for husbandry behaviors, providing enrichment, and other husbandry related tasks.
  • Additional duties may include performing light exhibit construction, operating zoo vehicles, and maintaining integrity of the existing landscape.
  • This employee will also be responsible for educating the public through keeper talks, animal encounters, meet and greets, and other impromptu educational programs as well as providing a clean and safe atmosphere for families to enjoy the Nashville Zoo. It is an important responsibility for this team to have a huge effect on the guest experience here in Nashville. The keeper in this area will need to have a wide variety of animal experience working with birds, primates, carnivores, hoofstock, domestics, ectotherms, and ambassador animals. Finally this keeper will need to be flexible, working week days, weekends, early mornings, and late night shifts. Schedules often change due to the summer or winter seasons, special events, and late night events.
Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Provides care (prepares diets for, feeds and cleans) for animals and maintains habitats, related structures, and surrounding non-public areas.
  • Perform daily observation of animals to identify normal and abnormal behaviors related to husbandry/health issues; coordinate with senior staff on animal training programs to facilitate husbandry behaviors.
  • Communicate questions or concerns regarding medical/health issues of specimens in collection to supervisor. Assist with treatment as directed, including administering medication.
  • Provides behavioral and psychological enrichment for animals.
  • Communicate with visitors as needed for educational (delivers public talks/demos) and behavioral/safety purposes.
  • Maintains landscaping and grounds for and around habitats.
  • Services and maintains tools, equipment and facilities to ensure safe use (includes opening and closing of facilities).
  • Follows all safety rules and regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Work closely with volunteers and other zoo staff.
  • Documents observations and information on animal health, behavior, diet, enrichment, and facilities for department records.
  • Assists with veterinary procedures if needed. Performs basic health care procedures as assigned.
  • Knowledge of safety practices, animal care, and handling exotic & domestic animals.
  • Knowledge of animal diet preparation, general biology, and behavior.
  • Ability to receive, understand, and carry out verbal and written instruction, direction, and assignments.
  • Ability to perform physical work activities in varying weather conditions.
  • Ability to communicate and cooperate with employees and to deal with the public in an effective and positive manner.
  • Ability to work without direct supervision.
  • Ability to write and present professional presentations.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with the public and comfortable with public speaking.
Education/ Experience:
  • High School Diploma or equivalent.
  • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in biology, Zoology, Environmental Education, or related field desired.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of 1 year of full-time, paid experience with either birds, ectotherms, carnivores, primates, hoofstock, domestic species, and/or ambassador animals.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience of working with a variety of animal species in the following areas:
  • 1+ year(s) of comprehensive animal experience
  • Enhancement of guest experience
  • Advanced operant conditioning
  • Capture and restraint
  • Observing animal behavior
  • Understanding animal behavior and group dynamics in diverse species
Physical Responsibilities:
  • Ability to work indoors in temperatures of 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round in high humidity and outdoors in temperatures ranging from below 20 to above 90 degrees Fahrenheit regularly.
  • Stand, sit, or walk for an extended period or for an entire work shift. Applicants are required to have the ability to bend, stoop and extend oneself etc., as required for performing assigned tasks. 
  • Move, lift, carry, push, pull, and place objects weighing less than or equal to 50 pounds without assistance.
Work Schedule:
  • Flexibility required: week days, weekends, early mornings, late night shifts. Schedules often change due to the summer or winter seasons and special events.
  • Flexibility: Position may require flexibility in working hours to accommodate special events, emergencies, or animal care needs.
  • Must have flexibility to be available to work weekends.
  • Nashville Zoo offers a comprehensive benefits package to full-time employees, including medical, dental, and vision coverage, Employee Assistance Programs, a 401(k) plan with company match, paid time off, sick leave, long-term disability coverage, park discounts, and membership benefits.
Pre-employment requirements:
  • Nashville Zoo is an EEO Institution and a Drug Free Workplace.
  • At-will employment
  • Candidates for this position are required to submit to a criminal background check and pass a drug test.
  • Candidates for this position are subject to yearly Tuberculosis Screenings.
  • Due to the safety of our animal collection, candidates joining our Behavioral Husbandry Department must be full vaccinated against COVID-19.

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