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Animal Science Manager – Curator of Wellness

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

Zoo Miami is currently seeking an exceptional individual to lead our (newly created) Animal Wellness teams. This position reports directly to the Assistant Zoo Director and is responsible for all aspects of management, planning, execution, and evaluation of the zoo’s Wellbeing, Enrichment and Behavior (WEB) team, Zoo Nutritionist, and Animal Nutrition team – collectively known as the Wellness team. 

  • We are searching for a team-oriented candidate that will be collaborative, engaging, and passionate in leading and developing the zoo’s Wellness team 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 oversee the WEB team, Animal Nutrition team, and the Zoo Nutritionist.
Responsibilities/duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Manages overall animal wellness in accordance with Zoo Miami policies, local and federal regulations, and current AZA standards.
  • Participates in the decision-making process involving animal health, wellbeing and behavior to provide a stimulating, healthy environment for the collection within the parameters set by the Assistant Zoo Director, Chief of Animal Care, and the veterinary team.
  • Oversees the team that maintains detailed and accurate research, collects data, and observes animals to provide critical analysis of animal management, facility design, and training and enrichment in an effort to ensure the highest possible levels of animal wellbeing. 
  • Works with other departments to develop and implement strategies that will create the best guest experience through animal wellbeing and visibility.
  • 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 Animal Care curators 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
  • Responsible for animal collection nutrition in conjunction with the Animal Nutrition manager as well as the Zoo Nutritionist.
  • Trains, coaches, mentors, and evaluates area staff by providing written and oral constructive criticism and positive feedback to staff 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 in Animal Behavior, Zoology, Biology or a related field.
  • Three years of animal training experience in a zoological setting or related industry is required.
  • Additional education may substitute for the required experience.
  • Preferred Qualifications:
  • Advanced degree in zoology or a related field and experience with managing leaders in wellbeing, enrichment, behavior, and/or animal nutrition is highly preferred.
  • A minimum of five (5) years in a management and/or program development and implementation role at an AZA facility.
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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