Supervisor - Zookeeper

Zoo, 2070 Zoo Ln, Abilene, Texas, United States of America Req #909
Tuesday, February 20, 2024


Under the general supervision of the Zoo Curator, you will have the opportunity to assist in the day-to-day operations of the zoo’s ambassador animal collection, including overseeing the daily operation, care, and maintenance of the animal collection in their specific sections. Employees have access to controlled substances in the performance of their job duties. Therefore, employees are required to not have any previous felony convictions related to a controlled substance.


Supervises full-time and part-time seasonal Zookeepers and oversees volunteers within animal areas.


Supervise and train staff in all aspects of animal care including, but not limited to feeding, cleaning, health care, enrichment and training of the assigned area.

Manage hiring, disciplining, staff scheduling, and the professional development of staff in their area.

Manage all aspects of basic husbandry and breeding programs for a wide variety of animal taxa. Research, maintain and improve husbandry standards for the animal collection.

Coordinate with maintenance and horticulture departments to design and maintain animal exhibits, landscaping, and horticulture needs in and outside of animal exhibits. Ensure the maintenance of Zoo facilities and equipment.

Maintain inventory, order, and distribute supplies. Identify, develop and submit yearly budget requests and Zoo Curators. Facilitate and coordinate deliveries.

Serve as a member of Emergency and Safety Committee (ESC), responding to emergency situations using proper animal restraint and animal capture techniques, as well as firearms training.

Observe and identify animal behavioral, welfare, and medical issues. Collaborate with zoo veterinarians to identify veterinary needs for assigned collections. Coordinate on health care, participate in medical procedures and necropsies, and administer medications to animals.

Assist in the development, planning and implementation of zoo policies and procedures for staff to assure compliance with USDA, AZA Accreditation and other professional standards and requirements.

Work in conjunction with the General Curator to update and maintain records and reports. Ensure that Zookeepers implement and record the training and enrichment for the collection animals accurately completing daily reports. Review and evaluate dietary and environmental enrichment needs for collection based on health and natural histories.

Interact with and educate the general public about animal collection and conservation, in a positive and professional manner.

Maintain proper recordkeeping for collection animals and information databases including ZIMS and other written and computerized formats.

Operate a City vehicle and/or motorized equipment (gators and golf carts).


Participate on AZA committees, as needed and as participation aligns to job related responsibilities.

Perform other job related duties and responsibilities as assigned.


Knowledge of:

AZA code of professional ethics, programs, forms and information systems such as ZIMS.

USDA, state and federal laws concerning protected exotics and wildlife.

Principles of supervision and employee motivation.

Husbandry, maintenance, handling and treatment of captive animals including dietary and nutritional requirements, veterinary skills and behavior observation of Reptiles, both venomous and non-venomous, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Fish, Birds and Mammals.

Contemporary exhibit design and construction practices.

Zoonotic diseases and dangers of working with wild animals.

Operate conditioning practices for husbandry purposes.

Hand rearing practices for domestic and captive animals.

The regulations and safety rules established by the City of Abilene and Abilene Zoo.

Skill to:

Clearly and concisely relay information to staff and facilitate consistent communication to management.

Collaborate with staff in a professional, motivating, and team-oriented manner.

Safely operate small tools and equipment including power tools, incubators, lawn mowers, and line trimmers.

Safely operate a vehicle.

Perform carpentry and enclosure maintenance.

Properly capture and restrain collection animals.

Strong observational skills.

Ability to:

Operate computers and use MS-Office programs including Word and Excel.

Multi-task, perform and complete duties in a timely, organized, and prioritized manner.

Demonstrate leadership in all areas of animal management and staff development.

Self-motivated and perform tasks with limited oversight.

Drive safely and maintain a good driving record.

Understand and carry out verbal and written instructions.

Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with those contacted in the course of work, both internally and externally.

Follow and embrace the City of Abilene Core Values – Respect, Integrity, Service Above Self, and Excellence in All We Do.

Lead and manage a team in a manner that accomplishes the Division’s mission and treats team members with dignity, courtesy, and respect.

Experience and Training Guidelines:

For positions with more than one level, all listed requirements at the lower levels are required at the higher levels. Any combination equivalent to experience and training to provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities may be qualifying.  Knowledge, skills, and abilities may be obtained through:


Five (5) years of experience working in a zoological institution is required. 

Two (2) years of lead worker experience is preferred.


A Bachelor’s degree in a life science field is preferred.

License or Certificate:

A valid Texas driver’s license, the ability to obtain one within ninety (90) days of employment, or a military waiver is required.    

Special Requirements:

In accordance with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), employees are required to not have any previous felony convictions related to a controlled substance.

Attend AZA and professional development courses.

Must display sufficient field of vision and auditory acuity to be aware of animals or vehicles approaching from the rear.

Exposure to cold, heat, outdoors, chemicals and ability to travel to different sites.

Venomous reptile/Large Dangerous reptile handling experience in taxa such as Elapidae, Viperidae, Heloderma, Coloubridae (rear fanged) large Constrictors and Crocodilians.

Training in proper venomous first aid and procedures preferred.

Must be able to work evenings, holidays, and weekends.

Must have the ability to respond to emergency situations 24 hours/day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year.

Participation in USDA and AZA inspections and in professional organizations and/or conferences.

Must learn to operate fire arms as a member of the Zoo's Emergency and Safety Committee.

Essential duties require the following physical skills and work environment:

With or without accommodation, the “X” indicates the overall strength demand of the position during a typical workday:

    ___    Sedentary – lifting of no more than 10 pounds
    ___    Light – lifting no more than 20 pounds; carrying up to 10 pounds
    ___    Medium – lifting no more than 50 pounds; carrying up to 25 pounds
    _X_    Heavy – lifting no more than 100 pounds; carrying up to 50 pounds
    ___    Very Heavy – team lifting over 100 pounds; carrying more than 50 pounds

Physical Demand Codes:  The following describes whether or not the position is expected to exert the physical demands listed during a typical workday as well as the overall frequency of the task:

Codes for how often:
N     =    No
E    =    Extensive (100 – 70% of the time)
M    =    Moderate (60 – 30% of the time)
I    =    Infrequent (20 – 10% of the time)
A    =    Almost Never (<10% of the time)

Code / Task
_M_    Standing
_I__    Sitting
_M_    Walking
_M_    Lifting
_M_    Carrying
_M_    Pushing/Pulling
_M_    Overhead Work
_M_    Fine Dexterity
_M_    Kneeling
_M_    Crouching
_M_    Crawling
_M_    Bending
_M_    Twisting
_M_    Climbing
_M_    Balancing
_E_    Vision
_E_    Hearing
_E_    Talking
_I__    Other:   _Running and Jumping_


Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
Location on Google Maps
  • Zoo, 2070 Zoo Ln, Abilene, Texas, United States of America