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Chief of Animal Science (Chief, PROS Division 1)

Zoo Miami
Miami, United States Posted: February 12, 2024

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.
  • Zoo Miami currently has a full-time Chief of Animal Science available. 
  • We are searching for a team-oriented candidate that will be creative, engaging and deliver an exceptional guest experience by creating friendly and positive interactions with all guests and co-workers. 
  • This position reports directly to the Assistant Zoo Director.
  • This position maintains a diverse and dynamic collection of different taxa throughout Zoo Miami Zoo Miami's mission.
Responsibilities/duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Prepares for review the development and annual updates of the Zoo’s Institutional Collection Plan (ICP) based off of Zoo Miami’s strategic direction, animal care and welfare, education and conservation goals while incorporating the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) program.
  • Leads, participates and positively supports cross-functional collaboration amongst all teams and departments to develop and execute an integrated approach to animal care and guest experiences.
  • Facilitates and coordinates all animal acquisitions, transfers and transitions/dispositions in accordance with the ICP, its guiding principles and ensures that all transactions comply with all applicable regulatory requirements and that accurate records are maintained.
  • Coordinates shipments of animals; set up flights to transport animal to and from other zoos /facilities; provides flight information to shipping or receiving zoo/facility; works closely with the Zoo Registrar to ensure appropriate paperwork including ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) and animal transactional paperwork.
  • Interacts with counterparts in other institutions regarding acquisitions and dispositions, breeding, and SSP activities.
  • Supports and assists in Zoo master planning, animal exhibit designs, holding areas, and monitoring of exhibit construction; designs and directs exhibit renovations and improvements in collaboration with in-house construction and maintenance staff.
  • Supports the Animal Science keeper teams and train staff while insuring safe work practices and high husbandry standards.
  • Attends meetings and makes recommendations to management for modifications and improvements in animal care, animal programming and other animal management practices and procedures.
  • Develops, recommends, updates and reviews with the Assistant Zoo Director for approval to implement husbandry protocols; responsible and accountable for implementing, maintaining, ensuring, and reviewing that Keeper Daily Reports and Reports/Records are accurately completed as directed.
  • Participates in AZA programming and professional organizations through collaborative participation in conservation and research, locally, nationally and internationally and disseminating results and information at conferences, presentations and in appropriate publications and journals.
  • Plans and reviews the work of professional, technical and administrative subordinates to ensure fulfillment of goals and objectives while maintaining consistency in the application of performance standards.
  • Assist with the proper care of the various animal taxonomic classes in their assigned area by ensuring zookeepers are following all husbandry protocols, rules, regulations, policies and procedures that are in accordance with AZA, USDA and OSHA standards.
  • Responds to emergency situations and natural disasters such as animal escapes, injuries, wildfires, and hurricanes in accordance to established operating procedures.
  • Makes recommendations regarding hiring, discipline and promotion of subordinates; authorizes leave and overtime; evaluates and rates employee performance.
  • Manages 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.
  • Performs related duties as required.
Experience Required
  • Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor's degree. A minimum of three years of progressively responsible experience in an AZA accredited zoological institution to include supervisory experience is required.
  • Preferred Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of four to five years of progressively responsible experience in an AZA accredited zoological institution is highly preferred.
  • This is a full time (Exempt) position with excellent benefits as an employee of Miami-Dade County.

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