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Assistant Lead Keeper, McCormick Bird House

Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago, United States Posted: May 02, 2024

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at: lpzoo.org

  • Under general supervision, participates in all aspects of animal care and maintenance of species in McCormick Bird House such as: Kagu, Lesser Green Broadbill, Inca Terns, Helmeted Curassow, and American Avocet. 
  • Assists in oversight of daily operation of keeper staff and may assume some of the responsibilities of the Lead Keeper in his/her absence. 
  • Responsible for meeting quality and quantity standards for assigned area.
  • Provides daily care to animals and their enclosures. 
  • Including, but not limited to cleaning, feeding, watering, grooming (i.e., domestic animals), observing, animal training and enrichment, record keeping and maintaining exhibits. 
  • Tasks may include heavy manual and skilled work such as moving and manipulating heavy food items, hoses, bales of hay, equipment and crated animals.
  • Cleans and maintains animal exhibits including use of chemical agents and special tools which are used to ensure the health and safety of the animals as well as the proper presentation to the public
  • Advances zoo mission through participation in conservation programs - assists in development and delivery of educational programs, formally through Learning Department, and informally through interaction with zoo guests; conducts tours for guests, staffs and volunteers; may participate in research projects.
  • Assists in the organization of work and staff to ensure smooth operations.
  • Assists in assignment of work to keeper staff and scheduling of staff to ensure adequate staffing.
  • Assists in the development of a consciousness for the need for teamwork to attain department objectives.
  • Assists in the direction of personnel in performing operations according to safe, sound operating principles and zoo policies and procedures.
  • Applies zoo employee relations’ policies in all dealings with staff.
  • Assists in the maintenance of excellence in exhibit display including furnishing, modifying and performing minor repairs and upkeep as appropriate.
  • Orients and trains staff assigned to work locations. 
  • Prepares and presents training to assigned staff.
  • Anticipates and determines causes of delays in daily operations and takes appropriate action to meet deadlines, engaging department managers if necessary.
  • Assists in ensuring established policies, rules and regulations, and procedures are followed.
  • May be asked to provide input as appropriate in the preparation of performance appraisals.
  • Assists in the coordination of animal training to insure consistency in the training process, tracking of progress, and makes suggestions for improvement.
  • Prepares and distributes animal diets as determined by senior animal management staff.  Humanely euthanizes live feed items.
  • Under supervision, administers therapeutics as prescribed by the veterinarian.
  • Monitors health of animals on a daily basis by observing eating habits, general activity, behavior and appearance, interaction with others, etc. 
  • Reports abnormal behavior and problems to area supervisor without delay.  Prepares detailed written daily reports for supervisor.
  • Makes recommendations regarding diet change, habitat redesign and related matters and takes steps to accomplish same.
  • Monitors the condition of habitats, equipment and facilities and initiates work orders requests and emergency repairs as needed. 
  • Maintains clean and safe work environment.
  • Maintains an inventory of equipment and supplies. 
  • May assist in maintenance of files and records for the department.
  • Adheres to established animal handling and related safety guidelines. 
  • Participates in established animal escape drills and procedures.  Under supervision, captures, restrains, and transports animals.                     
  • May be assigned jobs that require coordination with other zoo departments.
  • May substitute for Lead Keeper in his/her absence.
  • May serve on the Safety Committee or other zoo committees.
  • May have direct responsibility for a specialized aspect of assigned animal collection.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of general husbandry practices and methods.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of materials, methods, tools and equipment used in cleaning operations.
  • Strong knowledge of animal behavior and natural history; common knowledge of environmental enrichment and animal training practices; biology and related subjects.
  • Strong knowledge of animal behavior as an indication of general health, reproductive potential and well-being.
  • Strong knowledge of occupational hazards involved and the safe work practices to employ while in proximity of potentially dangerous animals
  • Strong skill in making thorough observations and documenting observations.
  • Good personal leadership and communication abilities.  Ability to provide leadership in the assigned area with respect to conflict resolution. interpersonal communications, and with a team-oriented work approach
  • Ability to keep comprehensive and accurate records according to established procedures.
  • Ability to both give and follow oral and written directions effectively. 
  • Ability to organize tasks and time to ensure timely completion of all projects
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated good judgment.
  • Ability to work in any of the assigned animal areas fulfilling all requirements of the title.  
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in analyzing animal behavior problems or emergency situations, and to respond with appropriate action.
  • Ability to work with and be comfortable around potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species.
  • Ability to work with potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and toxic chemicals and/or drugs.
  • Ability to interact courteously, respectfully and productively with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, zoo visitors and general public. 
  • Graduation from a high school or the equivalent (GED) is required. 
  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in Biological Sciences (i.e. Biology, Zoology, Ecology) or a closely related discipline is preferred. 
  • Previous experience performing animal care activities in a zoo, aquarium or like institution is required. 
  • Experience in designated taxonomic area is preferred. 
  • Experience and proficiency in animal training using operant conditioning techniques is preferred.
  • A comparable combination of education, experience or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skills, and ability required may qualify an individual.
  • Ability to remain on feet for long periods of time.
  • Ability to regularly perform a variety of physical tasks that include but are not limited to climbing, bending, stooping, kneeling, twisting, reaching, crawling.
  • Physical strength, including ability to frequently move up to fifty (50) pounds
  • Ability to work in small, confined spaces.
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions.
  • Ability to wear requisite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that may include rubber/latex gloves, steel-toed boots/shoes, face shields, eye goggles.
  • No allergy related to plants or animals that may interfere with the ability to work.
  • No impairment of sight, smell, hearing, touch balance and ability of movement that might interfere with ability to work.
  • Ability to maintain immune response to exposure to infectious and parasitic diseases.
  • Available to work all necessary hours, including weekends, holidays, special events and all shifts.   
  • Available to attend training sessions and conferences as needed.
  • A valid driver’s license with a good driving record is preferred. 
  • Proof of negative TB test and COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Salary $31.83/hour
  • Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. 
  • We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people. 
  • For Wildlife.
  • For All.
  • $31.83/hr

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