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Animal Science Manager – Curator of Animal Care

Zoo Miami
Miami, United States Posted: May 20, 2024

Summary: Zoo Miami is currently seeking an exceptional individual to lead one of our Animal Care teams. This position reports directly to the Chief of Animal Care (General Curator) and is responsible for all aspects of management, planning, execution, and evaluation of the area’s animal collection.  We are searching for a team-oriented candidate that will be collaborative, engaging, and passionate in leading and developing the zoo’s animal collection as well as helping guide the Animal Care team to become leaders in the field. This position is responsible for developing the assigned staff, who care for multiple taxonomic classes, by ensuring the highest safety standards possible for the animals, the employees, and the guests.

Responsibilities/duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Manages overall animal care including acquisitions, dispositions, transportation, and breeding recommendations in accordance with Zoo Miami policies, local and federal regulations, and current AZA standards.
  • Participates in the decision-making process involving animal health, well-being and behavior to provide a stimulating, healthy environment for the collection within the parameters set by the Chief of Animal Science, Curator of Animal Wellness, the veterinary team, and the Zoo Nutritionist.
  • Maintains detailed and accurate records of all area animals and provides regular activity reports to the Chief of Animal Science. Educates and engages guests and provide exemplary guest service experiences to all zoo guests through various keeper talks, animal presentations, and behind-the-scenes tours. Works with other departments to develop and implement strategies that will create the best guest experience.
  • Evaluates area-specific programs for quality and effectiveness, program design and delivery, educational impact and outcomes, and participant satisfaction.
  • Responsible for overseeing all aspects of animal management, operant conditioning, and enrichment protocols, rules, regulations, policies and procedures, ensuring Zoo Miami is in compliance with AZA, USDA and OSHA standards.
  • Highly proficient in positive reinforcement operant conditioning theory, technique, and implementation with a wide range of species.
  • Works in conjunction with Curator of Wellness and Behavior Specialists to promote the highest level of operant conditioning for Zoo Miami’s animal collection.
  • Supports an integrative animal behavior program that maintains industry leading animal welfare, care, and husbandry; observes, analyzes, and critiques animal management practices, enrichment, and operant conditioning efforts.
  • Oversees the design of fun, interpretive programs, presentations, and activities that enhances the guest experience; implement positive, professional programs and activities and informal, interactive learning opportunities for zoo guests of all ages.
  • Works with other departments to develop and implement strategies that will create the best guest experience.
  • Responsible for animal collection management; develops, recommends, reviews, updates and has the authority to implement approved husbandry protocols and area SOPs; responsible and accountable for implementing, maintaining, ensuring, and reviewing that Keeper Daily Reports and Area Reports/Records are accurately completed as directed.
  • Serve as the on-duty supervisor for the Animal Care department on a rotating basis.
  • Responds to emergency situations and natural disasters such as animal escapes, injuries, wildfires, and hurricanes in accordance to established operating procedures.
  • Performs related work as required which may include completing tests, attending meetings, workshops, etc.; eligible to serve and/or represent Zoo Miami in the following capacities:
  • AZA Animal Program Leader
  • Taxonomy Advisory Group (TAG)
  • Animal Care/Management conferences
  • Species Survival Plan    
  • Volunteer to participate on Dangerous Animal Response Team
  • Trains, coaches, mentors, and evaluates area staff by providing written and oral constructive criticism and positive feedback to keepers and area management. Works in collaboration with management staff to develop and implement training and coaching strategies that improve communication among internal staff.
  • Makes recommendations regarding hiring, discipline, and promotion of subordinates; authorizes leave and overtime; evaluates and rates employee performance.
  • The successful candidate will have the ability to manage multiple and complex responsibilities at the same time; be timely and reliable in attendance and performance; and have the ability to work well with all levels of staff, volunteers, vendors and guests.
Experience Required
Minimum Qualifications:
  • Bachelor's degree.
  • A minimum of two to four years of progressively responsible experience in the management and care of non-domestic animals to include experience with multiple taxonomic classes and supervisory experience is required.
  • Additional experience may substitute for the required education on a year-for-year basis.
  • Preferred Qualifications: Experience with managing a behavior focused animal collection, including Class I/dangerous animals.
  • A minimum of five (5) years in a management and/or program development and implementation role at an AZA facility. Bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related field is highly preferred.
Further Comments
  • Now is a great time to join our family and be a part of Zoo Miami’s dynamic future as we strive to “To Inspire people through engaging experiences to preserve nature in South Florida and across the globe”.
  • Zoo Miami is focused on five key commitments: Conservation, Our Team, Our Animals, Our Guests, and Our Community through our core values of Welcoming, Caring, Fun, Collaborative and Dedicated. Zoo Miami is proud to be active in many global wildlife and environmental conservation initiatives and is involved in over 36 projects taking place on six continents.
  • The largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida, Zoo Miami is the only tropical zoo in the continental United States, occupying almost 750 acres (340 developed), the Zoo is home to approximately 2,500 animals representing nearly 400 different species.
  • This is a full-time position with excellent benefits as an employee of Miami-Dade County.

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