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Assistant Curator of Animal Care (Zoological Supervisor 2)

Zoo Miami
Miami, United States Posted: June 28, 2024

Zoo Miami is currently hiring a full-time Zoological Supervisor 2 (Assistant Curator of Animal Care). This position will oversee a team that cares for a dynamic collection of exotic animals. Zoo Miami’s animal residents are managed in a proactive setting with the philosophy of utilizing a choice-based, behaviorally progressive approach through positive reinforcement and behavior-based enrichment. This role also includes assigned curatorial duties, supervising, and providing overall daily care, animal behavior efforts, maintenance and inspection of habitats, holding areas, and related public areas to ensure animal safety, health and wellbeing, staff safety, and public safety through standard operating procedures for animal care as set forth by AZA, USDA, and Zoo Miami. This position is expected to serve in a direct animal care role overseeing the day-to-day operation of all assigned areas as well as supporting the Animal Care management team in all curatorial, supervisory, and collection management responsibilities.

  • We are searching for a team-oriented candidate that will foster a positive team environment and help grow the next generation of highly skilled animal care professionals.
  • This position requires someone that will be approachable, engaging, and passionate in leading and developing the Zoo’s renewed focus on operant conditioning, guest engagement, as well as helping the zoo develop a new culture of animal care staff.
  • The candidate should be capable of creating friendly and positive interactions with animals, guests, and co-workers.
  • This position reports directly to the Animal Care curator. 
Responsibilities/duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Ensures that the health and safety for Zoo Miami’s resident animals are maintained at a high level with a strong emphasis on operant conditioning and daily wellbeing.
  • Supervises and conducts animal operant conditioning/behavioral sessions, conditions new behaviors, and coaches’ staff on maintaining and conditioning new behaviors in coordination with Animal Wellness team; approves and presents animal operant conditioning/behavior and enrichment plans; supervises and authorizes enrichment materials and projects as approved by Animal Care curator.
  • These duties may include interacting with and training the animal residents both on and off the habitat, performing voluntary medical behaviors, and basic husbandry care, shifting animals and any needed daily maintenance and cleaning and planning/delivery of behavior-based enrichment.
  • Ensures staff is performing daily wellbeing assessments of animals to check for changes in behavior, diet, sickness, reproductive status, etc.
  • Coordinates and authorizes research and conservation initiatives of best practices in animal management and reproduction; assists in the performance of specialized animal care, including supervising and participating in the rendering of medical care in collaboration with veterinary staff; administers medication, coordinates, prepares and observes animal introductions, approves daily written and electronic reports (ZIMS) and ensures team members are communicating and recording any changes in behavior, diet, sickness, reproductive status, etc. to the Animal Care management and Animal Health staff as appropriate.
  • Ensures that staff prepares/delivers diets as directed by the Zoo Nutritionist; ensures food preparation area is clean, disinfected and properly sanitized as set forth by AZA, USDA, and Zoo Miami.
  • Supervises the coordination of special projects to be performed in their area, such as research and educational projects.
  • Approves guest engagement and/or staff performing impromptu guest interactions and delivers fun, interactive guest engagement through public keeper talks, tours, and/or impromptu interactions on the public walkway.
  • Oversees all new hire and existing Animal Care staff training in their area; carries out instructions of Animal Care management pertaining to or involving animals in their area.
  • Oversees the training and internship/volunteer liaison and curriculum.
  • Participates in hiring process and makes recommendations regarding hiring and disciplinary actions of subordinates; evaluates and rates employee performance schedules daily work routines; authorizes leave and revises work schedules as needed; completes payroll entries for team.
  • Submits work orders for approval; prepares requisitions for equipment and supplies for approval; assists in animal acquisition; performs minor maintenance and repairs on enclosures, equipment, and exhibit furnishings; serves as the lead for exhibit design and construction/maintenance for projects; assists with compiling necessary material supply lists.
  • Ensures team members are responsible for lock inspections, lubrication, and primary security of containment areas; makes recommendations for plantings suitable for animal browse and enrichment; ensures appropriate substrate levels for habitats and holding areas.               
  • 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
Experience Required
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree.
  • Two years of experience in the management and care of a specific taxa, to include supervisory experience, is required. Additional experience with specific taxa may substitute for the required education on a year-for-year basis.
  • Must possess a Driver's License. Must be able to work days, nights, holidays, and weekends on a varied work schedule.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related field and five years of experience managing animals in operant conditioning programs, extensive knowledge of behavior-based enrichment application, and supervising and training staff in the daily animal care 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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