Area Keeper Supervisor

Organization: Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (AZA Member)
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States
Job or Internship: Job

General Statement of Duties

The Area Keeper Supervisor is responsible for the general daily care of the animal collection and day-to-day supervision of Zookeepers and Interns. Area Supervisors are responsible for quality control in animal care and exhibition, including animal husbandry, and general maintenance of animal exhibits, buildings and holding areas.

About the Great Plains Zoo, Sioux Falls, SD

The Great Plains Zoo is a dynamic, growing organization in Sioux Falls, SD. Sioux Falls is consistently listed by major magazines as a "Top City" to start a small business, do business or to raise a family, noted for a high quality of life and low cost of living. With a city population of 150,000 and a metro area of 220,000, Sioux Falls offers the amenities of a major city, along with a close connection to nature, outstanding parks and school systems, and a true Midwestern ethos of kindness.

The Great Plains Zoo has experienced stable, yet impressive growth over the last seven years, doubling its attendance to more than 251,000 guests/year; doubling its animal collection to over 1,000 animals, including tigers, giraffes, a wide array of primates, penguins, cheetahs and other high-profile animals; tripling memberships to around 23,000 members of the Zoo; teaching more than 46,000 kids in unique educational settings and becoming a key player with zoos nationally in breeding 18 Endangered Species. The 45-acre Zoo also is home to a one-in-the-world Natural History museum, with a mounted animal collection from six continents.


Maintains an enthusiastic, self-reliant and self-starting approach to job responsibilities and accountability. Strives to anticipate workload and initiate proper acceptable direction for the completion of work with a minimum of instruction.

Supervises the general daily care of the animal collection ensuring that exhibits and holding areas are maintained in a cleaned and presentable manner at all times.

Observes the animal collection for any signs of illness, general lethargy, injury and dietary problems. Reports any problems to the Director of Animal Programs (DAP).

Assists the DAP and/or Veterinarian in routine animal examinations and assists with any prescribed treatments.

Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with fellow employees and the general public.

Supervises and coordinates public programs such as keeper talks and animal enrichment days.

Supervises and coordinates enrichment and operant conditioning programs and ensures that the programs and facilities meet USDA and AZA standards.

Is the frontline conduit for communication from the management team to the keeper staff, and vice-versa.

Ensures proper standards of animal care are maintained.

Maintains daily reports, medical records, enrichment logs and other records as needed in assigned areas.

Performs basic restraint, crating/uncrating and transport of animals as required.

Responsible for scheduling of the Animal Care Staff, Interns and Volunteers.

Maintains an up-to-date and thorough professional knowledge of all species under his or her care.

Responsible for monitoring and maintaining equipment and feed supplies.

Assists in the purchase of supplies.

Supervises the Zookeepers and Interns in assigned areas.

Must be able to shoot rifles, shotguns and capture dart guns as required and / or directed to assist in the animal escape and recovery plan.

Must be able to follow written and oral instructions.

Must be able to climb ladders/stairs, lift crates/animals and / or equipment weighing 70 lbs, operate mowers, handle fires hoses, operate weed eaters, hay elevators, motorized carts, tractors, dump truck, pickup truck, load and operate wheel barrows loaded up to 150 lbs., be agile and flexible to maneuver in and around the animals within exhibits, corrals and holding areas.

Must have the ability to operate various sizes of animal squeeze cages for medical purposes.

Other duties as assigned by the DAP.

Health and Safety

Maintain current tetanus vaccination (5 years) and willing to be TB tested annually.

Must be able to lift and carry up to 70 lbs.


The Area Supervisor reports directly to the Director of Animal Programs. The Area Supervisor is a working supervisor-level position and supervises the day-to-day activities of Zookeepers and Interns in the assigned areas.

Education, Experience and Qualifications

Requires a high school degree or GED certification. Prefer a college degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related degree. Must have at least 3 years of experience in animal care, preferably in an AZA accredited facility. Must be able to work weekends, holidays and evenings as required. Must maintain a valid driver’s license.


Should be proficient on computers to administer appropriate programs for inventories and record keeping systems. Requires strong communication and organizational skills.

Applicants should submit resume, cover letter and application (available at

To: Director of Animal Programs

Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History

805 S Kiwanis Ave

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

or to