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Assistant Curator – Bird Section

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
San Francisco, United States Posted: February 09, 2024

The San Francisco Zoological Society (“Society”) is a non-profit institution that manages and raises funds for San Francisco Zoo and Gardens (“Zoo”).  The Society’s mission, supra, is summarized as the 3 c’s: to connect our visitors with wildlife so that they care about nature and ultimately conserve it.  The Society’s leadership team is comprised of a CEO as well as a professional team of Senior Managers. The Society endeavors to meet or exceed the standards of its industry peers, including those established by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (“AZA”). For over 25 years, the Society has been continuously accredited by the AZA.

  • Upholds the Society’s mission and core values (Respect, Professionalism, Resiliency, Efficiency and Equality) and other policies/procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook and elsewhere.
  • Under the general supervision of the Curator, provides direct supervision of assigned Animal Keepers.
  • Duties include coordinating the activities of a section of the Zoo, facilitating the work of the Animal Keepers by ensuring that the keepers have the necessary tools, equipment and supplies;
  • responsible for administrative functions such as scheduling, timekeeping,
  • evaluations and progressive discipline. Orders, receives and distributes materials, supplies and food stuffs;
  • and facilitates animal care operations within a section of the Zoo;
  • reviews, develops and/or revises standard operating procedures or other reports; conducts or coordinates safety training.
Knowledge, Abilities and Skills:
  • Requires extensive knowledge of the care and feeding of zoo animals, animal behavior and hazards of working with zoo animals; zoo rules, policies and procedures; includes knowledge of animal diseases and methods of preventing the spread of contagious disease, and principles of biology and zoology.
  • Ability to perform heavy work including working safely and effectively with dangerous or exotic mammals, birds, reptiles and working effectively with Zoo employees as needed; keep operational records; prepare reports; deal courteously and effectively with the public.
  • Must be able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Experience with a variety of bird species is essential, experience with penguins, psittacines, ratites, waterfowl, reptiles and amphibians is preferred, including hand rearing and incubation.
  • This position requires a minimum of 5 years of progressive animal husbandry experience in an AZA institution working with birds. 
  • The ideal candidate will be familiar with breeding (including assist rearing and hand rearing), animal transport, animal introductions, AZA accreditation standards and USDA requirements.
  • Supervises the work of Animal Keepers as assigned; coordinates and monitors sectional operations such as maintenance and repair activities, exhibit design, safety training, writing and updating Standard Operating Procedures and other assigned tasks.
  • Responsible for administrative functions including scheduling, timekeeping, repair work orders and the ordering, receipt and distribution of materials, supplies and food stuffs.
  • Implements, develops and/or revises standard operating procedures or other reports; conducts or coordinates safety training;
  • Inspects assigned section to ensure proper care, maintenance and safety of animals, their quarters and facilities; attempts to resolve problems which arise in regard to food, maintenance and safety.
  • Under direction of the respective Curator, completes Annual Performance Evaluations for all assigned subordinate staff including identification of performance objectives and identification of needed training.
  • Administers progressive discipline program consulting with department management and Human Resources.
  • Maintains or reviews necessary records of logs relating to animal observation and daily operations, as required; submits or reviews routine or emergency repair or maintenance requests; may prepare other reports for incidents such as industrial injury, accident or vandalism.
  • May assist other Zoo personnel on special assignments or projects relating to zoo operations such as reviewing, developing and planning upgrades of sections or sectional operations.
  • Upon request, prepares written proposals to management staff regarding exhibit modifications and/or renovations, nutrition, propagation programs, disease prevention and safety; may prepare reports containing background information resulting from the compilation of surveys or literature searches.
  • May be required to perform the duties of an animal keeper on an as-needed basis.
  • May be required to do public presentations for Zoo guests and VIP tours.
  • Assists marketing and development staff in promoting the Zoo's public image and attaining the Zoo's public relations and community service objectives.
  • Assists the Curator in maintaining contacts with individuals and organizations involved in promoting worldwide conservation ethics and goals.
  • Performs other duties as required and assigned.
  • A.   Represents management and demonstrates a commitment to the Zoo’s mission statement and its’ values.
  • B.   Performs duties in a service-oriented manner.
  • C.   Recognizes the needs of others and treats others with respect and dignity.
  • D.   Maintains good work habits and adheres to the employee handbook and all policies and procedures.
  • E.   Demonstrates a commitment to maintaining a work environment free from discrimination and sexual harassment and supports the Office’s commitment to equal employment opportunities.
  • F.   Demonstrates a commitment to workplace safety and works with Safety Officer as needed.
  • G.   Demonstrates good presentation skills in dealing with the public, Zoo Board and internal and external stakeholders.
  • Directly supervises employees, interns, and volunteers. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies, applicable laws, and relevant labor laws. 
  • Responsibilities may include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems; ensuring compliance with contracted obligations.
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.
  • The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • Minimum three years paid experience in animal husbandry and captive animal management. 
  • Supervisory and curatorial experience in a major zoological institution preferred. 
  • Significant lead experience may substitute for supervisory and curatorial experience.
  • Degree in zoology, biology, wildlife management, or related field preferred. 
  • Experience equivalent to education will be considered.
  • The San Francisco Zoo encourages bilingual candidates to apply.
  • Experience with various avian taxa preferred; penguins and psittacine experience desired.
  • Experience with artificial incubation techniques, avian propagation and husbandry.
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear. 
  • The employee frequently is required to stand and walk. 
  • The employee is occasionally required to sit. 
  • The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 80 pounds.
  • The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to outside weather conditions. 
  • The employee is occasionally exposed to moving mechanical parts. 
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently exposed to potentially hazardous animals.
Salary Range:
  • $67,000-$72,000

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