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General Curator - Full-Time

Saint Louis Zoo
St. Louis, United States Posted: March 12, 2024

The world renowned Saint Louis Zoo is and AZA accredited institution dedicated to saving species and bringing people and wildlife together. Home to over 16,000 animals, many of which are endangered. Entry is free every day for everyone, an important part of our commitment to people and animals – always. Learn more at: https://stlzoo.org/

About St. Louis, Mo:
  • From Explore St. Louis: “Urban explorer, outdoor adventurer, aficionado of family fun – no matter your travel persona, you’ll find plenty to do in St. Louis.
  • The city is brimming with free, world-class attractions and boasts an arts-and-culture scene that’s second to none.
  • Plus, fans of fresh air will be surprised and delighted by our flourishing public parks, miles of trails and exhilarating waterways.
  • Sprinkle in a bit of our secret sauce – the warmth and hospitality of the residents – and you’ll discover that St. Louis dishes up undeniably epic travel experiences.
  • Don’t take our word for it, though. Come and see for yourself.” Learn more at https://explorestlouis.com/
Position Summary:
  • The Saint Louis Zoo is looking for a positive leader to serve as General Curator who supervises
  • the Zoo’s team of Curators (including: Carnivores/Sea Lion, Primates/Great Apes, Birds/Penguins, Herps/Aquatics, Ungulates/Elephants, Invertebrates, Destination Discovery, Animal Management Services (Registrar team)) and the Dive Safety Officer.
  • The General Curator oversees the day to day activities of the Saint Louis Zoo’s animal population under the guidance and direction provided by the Vice President of Animal Care.
  • Individual is responsible for development and implementation of the Institutional Collection Plan, and all the daily decisions that affect the care of the animals, including animal care operations, staffing and facilities maintenance.
  • Duties include direct supervision of all the taxonomic curators and dive safety officer.
  • The General Curator is responsible for prioritization of staffing and resources to provide consistent world-class animal care to all taxa at the Saint Louis Zoo, with attention to maintaining the best modern zoological standards of animal care, welfare, training and enrichment, sustainability of populations, safety, exhibitry and modern practices for records and information management specific to animal records.
  • This position also supports the conservation efforts conducted by the Zoo’s animal care team and partner departments.
  • Candidates should demonstrate a leadership style that fosters an atmosphere of inclusion, teamwork, and safety, and promotes the Zoo’s core values (Community, Creativity, Openness, Integrity, and Life-Work Balance).
  • Ability to collaborate is a must, such as working closely with the veterinary, research, education and other zoo teams to provide the best animal welfare and contribute to conservation efforts. 
  • Should show experience in and be committed to assessing and improving animal well-being, through training, enrichment, social management, professional development and other approaches.
  • In addition, this leadership position plays an important role in the Saint Louis Zoo’s goal to create a memorable guest experience and to connect our community with our mission, animal care and conservation work.
  • Oversees all aspects of the day-to-day management of the Animal Care staffing, animal care and facility’s needs.
  • Develops and updates an Institutional Collection Plan (ICP) as per AZA standards.
  • Oversees consistency in care of animals across taxonomic groups incorporating animal care sciences, welfare, behavioral training, enrichment and other disciplines as they develop.
  • Oversees day to day staffing and personnel needs of the various animal care areas of the Saint Louis Zoo, including curator coverage and animal care expectations and their animal care staffing needs.
  • Collaboratively establishes performance planning objectives and supervision of all curators, and performs performance evaluations.
  • Oversees consistency in hiring practices, staff training and management for all areas in the animal care team, following established institutional policies and culture.
  • Collaborates with and supports the WildCare Park Director and WildCare Park General Curator to develop joint Institutional Collection and Management Plans that incorporate common strategic planning directives.
  • Works collaboratively with area curators to provide insight on construction, habitat and facility design and maintenance of modern zoological practices in animal keeping and husbandry, under the philosophies established by the Director of the Saint Louis Zoo and the Vice President of Animal Care.
  • Oversees interactions and grows collaboration between animal care and other areas of the zoo directly involved in the care and wellbeing of the zoo’s animals, including but not limited to veterinary medicine, nutrition, welfare and behavioral sciences, and reproductive sciences, facilities maintenance, etc.
  • Oversees institutional diver safety program through direct supervision of the Dive Safety Officer, Dive Control Board and appropriate, current standards regulating diver safety operations.
  • Collaboratively works with the Animal Health Department and taxonomic curators to review animal care and veterinary morbidity and mortality reports and evaluate trends affecting animal operations, and develop solutions to proactively maintain animal welfare and sustainability of populations. 
  • Oversees consistent implementation of record keeping policies, as per established standards of care across all animal areas, and in direct supervision of the Zoo’s registrars and information management program.
  • In collaboration with the Safety and Risk Management Department, oversee all animal care safety initiatives, including coordination or assignments for performing zone inspections, safety drills, safety audits and ongoing review of best practices and modern zoological practices, and oversight of the zoo’s dive program.
  • Works collaboratively to create opportunities for career development and advancement of staff, including mentoring of existing staff and well as the deliberate creation of career and educational pipelines that can lead to careers in modern zoo management in underrepresented groups and in support of DEAI initiatives across the Zoo.
  • Collaboratively manages the operational budget for all the area curators and prioritizes requests.
  • Actively participates in the zoo’s conservation efforts and initiatives, through direct work with managed populations, sustainability of animal populations under human care, and involvement in the Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute, the Institute of Conservation Medicine and other joint initiatives (such as the Harris World Ecology Center and the Living Earth Collaborative).
  • Participates in AZA Animal Management Programs and provides service to the larger AZA and conservation community.
  • Facilitates and ensures compliance with all policies, practices and standards mandated by AZA, USDA and pertinent regulatory agencies.
  • Represents the Saint Louis Zoo as requested for media, public relations and marketing events.
  • Works collaboratively to support visitor engagement experiences and revenue-generating opportunities for connecting guests with animals, based on policies established by the Vice President of Animal Ccare and the Saint Louis Zoo Director.
  • Supports and participates in donor cultivation, recognition and fund-raising initiatives of the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Commitment to the Zoo’s Three Keys (Animals Always, People Matter, and Operational Excellence) and Core Values (Community, Creativity, Openness, Integrity, and Life-Work Balance and growing a positive culture at the Saint Louis Zoo.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Zoology, Animal Science or some related field strongly preferred. Advanced degree in a related field preferred.
  • Must have a minimum of 5-8 years of full-time experience in a zoological park or wildlife setting managing a large and diverse animal collection and a multi-disciplined animal care team.
  • Candidates must possess a high level of emotional intelligence and demonstrate a proven history of building cooperative relationships across all organization functions and levels.
  • Competitive applicants must be able to share a clear vison for attracting, developing, and retaining high-functioning engaged team members.
  • A working familiarity with AZA animal population management programs (SAFE, SSP, TAG, PMC, etc.). Leadership service as a studbook keeper, SSP coordinator, or Taxon Advisory Group committee member a plus.
  • Demonstration of a high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to work as a positive team member.
  • Must have a working knowledge of AZA Accreditation Standards and USDA Animal Welfare Standards.
  • A working knowledge of animal diseases and methods of preventing the spread of contagious disease
  • Proficient in ZIMS software and experience maintaining records and preparing reports
  • Habitat design and construction experience/planning a plus.
  • General Curator must strive to decrease our environmental footprint to serve as models to our community to do the same through education and leading by example and by supporting the Zoo’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.
  • Must be passionate about conservation and supporting research and willing to prioritize up to a quarter of their time to conservation efforts of wild carnivores through our Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute.
  • Performs duties in a service-oriented manner.
  • Recognizes the needs of others and treats others with respect and dignity.
  • Maintains good work habits and adheres to the employee handbook and all policies and procedures, and holds others accountable and up to the same standards.
  • Deal courteously and effectively with public and ensure all staff help to fulfill the guest promise.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to maintaining a work environment free from discrimination, bullying and harassment of any kind and supports the Zoo’s commitment to equal employment opportunities.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to workplace safety at all times.
  • Demonstrates comfort in public speaking, good presentation skills when working with the Zoo team, our public/community, Zoo Governance and other internal and external stakeholders.
  • All successful candidates for this position will be required to submit to a criminal background check.
  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform some of the essential functions of this job.
  • The employee frequently is required to stand, sit and walk for long periods, climb stairs, and navigate animal areas with uneven surfaces.
  • The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 25 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds.

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