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Hoofstock Keeper

Nashville Zoo
Nashville, United States Posted: May 16, 2024

Nashville Zoo is dedicated to inspiring a culture of understanding and discovery of our natural world through conservation, innovation, and leadership. With a diverse collection of animals and a commitment to wildlife preservation, we provide engaging experiences for visitors of all ages.

  • Under general supervision by Hoofstock Area Supervisor, keepers perform a wide range of functions in the Mammal Department at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.
  • Their primary responsibilities include husbandry of assigned collection as well as maintaining and cleaning animal exhibits, yards, night enclosures, and contiguous areas, operant conditioning of collection for husbandry behaviors and providing enrichment.
  • In Addition, the Hoofstock Keeper will also be responsible for educating the public through keeper talks and other impromptu educational sessions as well as providing a clean and safe atmosphere for families to enjoy the Nashville Zoo.
  • The Hoofstock Department collection currently includes Masai giraffe, white rhino, Bairds tapir, okapi, southern pudu, red river hog, yellow backed duiker, springbok, zebra, bontebok, ostrich, eland, and eastern bongo.
  • We are currently designing a 40-acre Africa expansion that will include a multi-acre mixed species savannah exhibit that will more than triple our current collection.
Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Provides care (prepares diets for, feeds and cleans) for animals and maintains habitats, related structures, and surrounding non-public areas.
  • Perform daily observation of animals to identify normal and abnormal behaviors related to husbandry/health issues; coordinate with senior staff on animal training programs to facilitate husbandry behaviors.
  • Communicate questions or concerns regarding medical/health issues of specimens in collection to supervisor. Assist with treatment as directed, including administering medication.
  • Provides behavioral and psychological enrichment for animals.
  • Communicate with visitors as needed for educational (delivers public talks/demos) and behavioral/safety purposes.
  • Maintains landscaping and grounds for and around habitats.
  • Services and maintains tools, equipment and facilities to ensure safe use (includes opening and closing of facilities).
  • Follows all safety rules and regulations, policies and procedures. Attends regular safety meetings.
  • Assists with training for new keepers or seasonal staff as assigned.
  • Documents observations and information on animal health, behavior, diet, enrichment, and facilities for department records.
  • Assists with veterinary procedures if needed. Performs basic health care procedures as assigned.
  • Knowledge of safety practices, animal care, and handling exotic & domestic animals.
  • Knowledge of animal diet preparation, general biology, and behavior.
  • Ability to receive, understand, and carry out verbal and written instruction, direction, and assignments.
  • Ability to perform physical work activities in varying weather conditions.
  • Ability to communicate and cooperate with employees and to deal with the public in an effective and positive manner.
  • Ability to work without direct supervision.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with the public and comfortable with public speaking.
Education/ Experience:
  • High School Diploma or equivalent.
  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in biology, Zoology, Environmental Education, or related field desired.
  • At least four years’ experience in animal husbandry, handling, and training with exotic animals in a professional setting is required.
  • At least two years’ experience working with exotic hoofstock in a zoological setting is required.
Physical Responsibilities:
  • This is an outdoor position; applicants will work outside year-round in inclement weather conditions such as extreme high/low temperatures, snow and rain conditions. 
  • Stand, sit, or walk for an extended period of time or for an entire work shift. Applicants are required to have the ability to bend, stoop and extend oneself etc., as required for performing assigned tasks. 
  • Move, lift, carry, push, pull, and place objects weighing less than or equal to 50 pounds without assistance.
Work Schedule:
  • Full-time position, averaging 40 hours per week.
  • Flexibility: Position may require flexibility in working hours to accommodate special events, emergencies, or animal care needs.
  • Must have flexibility to be available to work weekends.
  • Nashville Zoo offers a comprehensive benefits package to full-time employees, including medical, dental, and vision coverage, Employee Assistance Programs, a 401(k) plan with company match, paid time off, sick leave, long-term disability coverage, park discounts, and membership benefits.
Pre-employment requirements:
  • Nashville Zoo is an EEO Institution and a Drug Free Workplace.
  • At-will employment
  • Candidates for this position are required to submit to a criminal background check and pass a drug test.
  • Candidates for this position are subject to yearly Tuberculosis Screenings.
  • Due to the safety of our animal collection, candidates joining our Mammal Department must be full vaccinated against COVID-19.

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