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Herpetology Keeper

Zoo Knoxville
Knoxville, United States Posted: June 22, 2024

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Zoo Knoxville is part of the largest conservation movement on the planet. Zoo Knoxville is home to approximately 1400 animals representing more than 180 species.  Driven by our mission to inspire action for wildlife and wild places, we serve more than 500,000 annual visitors, provide educational outreach to tens of thousands of students, and directly support global species conservation. At its core, Zoo Knoxville values animal care and wellbeing and strives to provide a fun and educational environment that is inclusive and welcoming for all. 

  • This is a Keeper position that reports directly to the area Lead Keeper.
  • The Keeper is responsible for a wide variety of tasks involving the husbandry of the area species, the daily upkeep of staff and guest areas, and interpretation with zoo guests.
  • The individual must be able to carry out the position's duties as described below and comply with Zoo Knoxville policies and procedures as they appear in the Employee Handbook and departmental protocols. 
  • The essential functions of this position include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • As a member of the Animal Care Team, exemplify Zoo Knoxville’s core values, demonstrate a commitment to growth for oneself; and provide the highest level of wellbeing for animals.
  • Provide all aspects of daily husbandry for assigned animals in the department, following the departmental protocols and procedures.
  • Observe animals in the department daily for reproductive behavior, abnormal behavior, compatibility issues, or potential health problems, reporting these to the supervisor.
  • Prepare, distribute, and keep records of animal enrichment as outlined by enrichment protocols.
  • Train animals using positive reinforcement techniques, as directed by supervisor.
  • Maintain daily reports, logs, research, medical and reproductive records and work orders.
  • Assist the zoo clinic staff by administering medications as prescribed and participating in medical procedures as requested.
  • Be knowledgeable of natural history, conservation status, care and well-being practices relevant to the assigned area.
  • Collaborate with other departments to promote the zoo’s mission by participating in keeper chats, area tours and media events.  
  • Under supervisor’s guidance, maintain the upkeep of all department facilities including animal enclosures, staff spaces and guest areas while following safety protocols. In the event of an immediate safety risk, ensure guest, staff and animal safety first, then report the issue for resolution.
  • Assist supervisor in the training of new staff, volunteers and interns with regards to animal routines, husbandry, and facility maintenance, when requested.
  • Assume any leadership duties in the absence of the supervisor, when requested.
  • Participate in professional training and development opportunities provided, as directed by supervisor.
  • Serve on various zoo committees as approved by supervisor.
  • Any other duties as requested by supervisor.
  • High school diploma or equivalent is required.
  • Six months to one year of experience working with animals in some capacity is preferred.  Examples include working with animals at veterinary clinics, pet stores, on farms, or as an intern or volunteer at a zoo.
  • Must be physically able to work in extreme temperatures (both inside and outside) and inclement weather conditions; walking an average of 10 miles per day; standing 90% of the time; lifting and carrying up to 60 pounds a distance of 25 feet; performing tasks in an environment that requires repeatedly stooping, bending, climbing, while working in secured animal enclosures and service areas.
  • Must be physically able and willing to safely work around animals that are delicate, large, unpredictable and/or potentially dangerous.
  • Negative Tuberculosis test required for employment.  If working with elephants or primates, an annual TB test is also required.
  • Don’t meet every requirement? At Z
  • Knoxville we are dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may be just the right candidate for this or other roles.
  • As an employee of Zoo Knoxville, you must possess English communication skills as well as the ability to communicate using a 2-way radio, email and telephone. 
  • The position hours vary depending on business needs and will require weekend and some holiday shifts.
  • Depending on the specific tasks, this position will require you to work in close proximity of exotic and domestic animals and must be aware that there are dangers inherent in working under those conditions.
  • Zoo Knoxville is committed to maintaining a drug free workplace and as such each employee must pass a pre-employment drug screen.
  • $15.00 Hourly

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