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Nutrition Specialist

Dallas Zoo
Fort Worth, United States Posted: June 11, 2024

This is an entry-level position in Animal Health and Welfare, following established protocols to provide outstanding nutritional support for all species. These duties include preparing, receiving, inspecting, storing, and issuing food and dietary supplements.  The Nutrition Specialist also provides support for operant conditioning, husbandry programs and environmental enrichment while working collaboratively to improve animal care. This position also conducts educational presentations and tours for zoo guests. 

  • Prepare, receive, inspect, store and issue food and dietary supplements to ensure animal health, safety, and welfare, staff and public safety as set forth by AZA, USDA, and DZM to include:
  • Prepare and deliver food to animal buildings and habitats as scheduled
  • Receive, inspect and store items delivered to the Animal Nutrition Center; report suspect food and unusable items to Supervisor immediately.
  • Follow protocols and operating procedures to maintain a high level of sanitation and food safety.
  • Clean food prep areas and equipment, maintaining a high level of sanitation, conducting pest control activities and reporting any mechanical defects that would endanger the zoo staff, and/or guests;
  • Support the highest standards of animal welfare and wellness by providing items for environmental enrichment and training sessions;
  • Conduct weekly inventory as assigned.
  • Participate in browse procurement and distribution as assigned
  • Assist in preparation and maintenance of diet records,
  • Maintain diet station books as assigned
  • Perform general maintenance and repair of Animal Nutrition Center and Education Garden: painting, weeding and harvesting vegetables and herbs;
  • Interact positively and professionally with animal care and veterinary staff and volunteers;
  • Actively encourage interest in wildlife through positive interaction with zoo guests via educational presentations or tours focused on animals nutrition;
  • Collaborate with other zoo personnel as needed to meet the zoo’s mission.
  • This can include, but is not limited to, assisting and participating in media events, special tours, and public relations projects;
  • Participate in and support zoo-wide initiatives, committees, and work groups;
  • Understand and support Dallas Zoo’s Strategic and Master Plans and departmental collection plans;
  • Study specific reference materials pertinent to food handling, storage and sanitation, animal nutrition and feeding behavior as assigned;
  • Follow all safety protocols and understand the Nutrition Department's role in emergency procedures, responding to emergencies as required;
  • Be able to supervise and train volunteers and interns within department as needed;
  • Assist with the beautification of our park by removing trash and debris whenever you see
  • Assist with and raise awareness for AZA SAFE programs;
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in an animal science, biology, culinary science, nutrition or related science field OR an Associate’s degree in an animal science, biology, culinary arts or related science field plus one year of paid experience is required;
  • Must have knowledge of animal care and basic husbandry skills or proper food handling techniques, and at least one year preferred of animal care experience or food handling;
  • Must be a flexible, efficient, self-motivated team player, and solution-oriented: finding creative solutions to complex challenges;
  • Must have knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Word and Excel;
  • Must be detail oriented with solid observational skills;
  • Must be able to establish and maintain an effective rapport with all levels of management, employees, interns, volunteers, and zoo guests;
  • Must be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, following instructions and documenting appropriately;
  • Ability to represent the Zoo in a professional manner at all times;
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in emergency situations and to respond with appropriate action;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationship with management, other employees & zoo guests;
  • Must be able to walk, stand, sit, kneel, stoop, crawl, twist, reach above head, pull, bend, climb stairs and ladders and carry up to 50 lbs, occasionally up to 75 lbs with assistance;
  • Must be able to work holidays and weekends, both regular and irregular hours as required;
  • Regular, reliable and punctual attendance is an essential function of this position;
  • Must be able to actively work outdoors in hot or inclement weather;
  • Successful candidates must complete pre-employment drug screening, background check and TB test;
  • Must have a valid driver’s license to operate zoo vehicles and reliable transportation. 
  • The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by personnel assigned to this job and is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all duties to be assigned.

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