Zoos Hiring

Job board dedicated to the zoo industry

Zoo Curator of Operations

Orange County Parks
Santa Ana, United States Posted: April 28, 2024

In addition to performance-based merit increases, this position is scheduled to receive salary range increases on the following dates:

Effective June 28, 2024 – 4.25% increase

Effective June 27, 2025 – 4.00% increase   

Salary may be negotiable within the range listed above, based on position requirements and successful candidate's qualifications, subject to appropriate authorization.  

  • This recruitment is being held to establish an open eligible list to fill current and future Curator vacancies within the County of Orange.
  • The eligible list established may also be used to fill similar and lower level classifications throughout the County of Orange.
  • Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply immediately, as the recruitment will close on
  • Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 11:59 PM (PT).
  • The County of Orange is a regional service provider and planning agency whose core businesses include public safety, public health, environmental protection, regional planning, public assistance, social services and aviation.
  • OC Community Resources is a multi-faceted department comprised of OC Animal Care, OC Community Services, OC Housing & Homeless Services, OC Parks, and OC Public Libraries.
  • The OC Zoo is located inside Irvine Regional Park in the city of Orange.
  • The Zoo's focus is on animals and plants native to the southwestern United States.
  • Animals on exhibit include black bears, mountain lions, a bald eagle, foxes, a red-tailed hawk, great horned owls, porcupines, coyotes, turkey vultures, and venomous and non-venomous reptiles.
  • The zoo also features a barnyard area with domestic goats, jacob sheep, and rabbits.
  • OC Parks has an exciting full time regular opportunity for a Zoo Curator at the Orange County Zoo located in the Irvine Regional Park.
  • The Zoo Curator is a key member of the OC Zoo team and is entrusted and relied upon for staff development and animal health and welfare.
  • The Zoo Curator of Operations duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Supervise day-to-day OC Zoo operations
  • Under the direction of a licensed Veterinarian, responsible for the Zoo's veterinary equipment inventory, medication, and drugs
  • Assist Zoo Manager in the development and implementation of operational plans, activities, policies and procedures
  • Direct, supervise, and evaluate the performance of full-time OC Zoo staff and other staff as assigned
  • Supervise activities regarding animal capture/restraint, and receiving/shipping of animals
  • Responsible for the inventory and ordering of the various Zoo animal food required
  • Responsible for the Zoo's animal records and medical record keeping
  • Responsible for the Zoo's vector and rodent control program
  • Supervise and assign the Zoo's animal care department and adopt-a-park volunteers
  • Responsible for the maintenance management matrix (CMMS)
  • Implement and oversee animal training and enrichment programs
  • Supervise the responsibility of all animal keeper staff including performance evaluations, conflict resolution and progressive discipline
  • Other duties as assigned include: filling in for absent Animal Keepers, administering medications, cleaning exhibits, preparing diets, restraining animals, minor maintenance and landscaping in all environmental conditions
  • In addition to the minimum qualifications the ideal candidate will possess two (2) years of supervisory or management experience in a zoo facility or related field.
  • A bachelor's degree in an animal related science is highly desirable, but not required.
  • The ideal candidate's application will also demonstrate extensive experience, knowledge, and/or ability in the following core competencies:
Technical Expertise | Zoo Management
  • Bachelor's degree or higher in zoology, biology, or closely related field
  • Experience working with ZIMS record keeping program
  • Understand the principles and practices involved in operating a zoo facility
  • Knowledge of the varieties, habits, diets, capture, and restraint of mammals, birds, and reptiles commonly found in zoos
  • Knowledge of various diseases affecting zoo animals and the appropriate methods and techniques for disease prevention and control 
  • Experience with proper handling and restraint of zoo animals
  • Propose and prepare contracts for feed and veterinary services
  • Collaborate with veterinary staff to ensure the health and welfare of animals
  • Maintain comprehensive records pertaining to the keeping and care of zoo animals and zoo operations
  • Computer knowledge/experience in MS Office applications
  • Technical Knowledge | Zoo Experience & Safety Practices
  • Experience with animal behaviors, animal husbandry training, and operant conditioning
  • Plan and coordinate the care, diet, treatment and record maintenance of animals
  • Knowledge of detecting illness, injury or other disorders in zoo animals
  • Maintain the animal exhibits, building equipment, and mechanical systems
  • Assist in the development of the Zoo's animal collection
  • Report and correct animal maintenance issues or potential hazards
  • Follow the Zoo's safety standards, rules and regulations
  • Perform safe practices while working around the animals at all times, including daily and during capture, restraint, and animal transport
  • Ensure continuous public and staff safety within the Zoo grounds
  • Perform safe practices with the operation of vehicles and tools
Leadership & Supervision
  • Plan, organize, evaluate, and direct the activities of animal keepers and volunteers
  • Prepare accurate and timely employee performance evaluations
  • Supervise the volunteer program, recruitment, training, screening, and placement of volunteers
  • Supervise the cleaning, disinfecting, and repair of animal enclosures and service areas
  • Create training programs and evaluate their effectiveness
  • Provide training in animal husbandry, capture & restraint techniques, observation and animal diets
Customer Service & Oral Communication 
  • Follow chain of command and effectively communicate with Supervisors, Volunteers, Co-Workers, and the General Public on a daily basis
  • Take and implement direction from the Zoo Manager
  • Follow instructions from the Veterinarian regarding any animal related illnesses or injuries and communicate back with updates
  • Prepare daily and monthly records, logs, and animal reports as assigned.
  • Maintain and submit volunteer records, hours and reports
  • Stay current of federal, state, local, and international laws concerning animal management and "under the direction of the Zoo Manager" implement them
  • Deal professionally with any visitor issues concerning the general public
  • Please click here to view the minimum qualifications for Zoo Curator.
  • Human Resource Services (HRS) screens all application materials for minimum and/or desirable qualifications.
  • After screening, applicants who meet the minimum and/or desirable qualifications will be referred to the next step in the recruitment process.
  • All applicants will be notified via email of their status in the process.
Recorded Structured Oral Interview | rSOI (Weighted 100%) 
  • The rSOI is a timed oral interview conducted virtually through an online vendor.
  • Applicants will be asked a series of structured questions designed to elicit the applicant's qualifications for the job.
  • All applicant responses will be video recorded so that they can be evaluated against pre-determined criteria by a panel of job knowledge experts.
  • Only the most successful candidates will be placed on the eligible list.
  • Based on the Department's needs, the selection procedures above may be modified.
  • Candidates will be notified of any changes in the selection procedures.
Eligible List
  • Once the assessment has been completed, HRS will establish an eligible list of candidates.
  • Candidates placed on the eligible list may be referred to selection interview to be considered for present and future vacancies.
Veterans Employment Preference
  • The County is committed to providing a mechanism to give preferential consideration in the employment process to veterans and their eligible spouses and will provide eligible participants the opportunity to receive interviews in the selection process for employment and paid internship openings.
  • Please click here (Download PDF reader) to review the policy.   

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