Lead Keeper

Organization: Lehigh Valley Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Schnecksville, PA, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Job Title: Lead Keeper

Reports To: General Curator

Summary: Performs tasks associated with the husbandry and maintenance of domestic and native and exotic wild animals in an education- and conservation-oriented zoological park. To provide effective team leadership for animal care staff, supervising keepers, interns and volunteers while performing daily keeper tasks. Will occasionally be involved in conservation and AZA programs. Expected to provide exceptional visitor service.


•Clean exhibits, holding pens and zoo grounds.

•Prepare established diets and feed animals.

•Observe, evaluate and report animal behavior and conditions on a daily basis.

•Maintain exhibits, animal areas and associated fixtures and grounds.

•Report maintenance needs.

•Demonstrate knowledge of the use of hand tools, power tools and equipment.

•Demonstrate knowledge of and implement zoo-wide and area emergency procedures.

•Perform routine animal handling.

•Assist the veterinary staff in capture and restraint, administration of prescribed medications and procedures as necessary.

•Coordinate health and other medical procedures with the veterinary department.

•Implement behavioral enrichment for the collection.

•Interact with zoo visitors through animal presentations, scheduled and informal keeper talks to create a positive guest experience.

•Participate in the interview, education and evaluation process of keepers, interns and volunteers.

•Ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

•Submit work orders for repairs and maintenance of facilities.

•Must be able to maintain good working relationships with staff at all levels, internal and external to Animal Programs.

•Inspect animal and related facilities, create to do lists and prioritize list with the General Curator on a weekly basis.

•Must be knowledgeable in the management of captive populations including related AZA conservation programs.

•Must be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently.

•Must be proficient in learning and integrating information, knowledge, and direction quickly, and completing tasks as needed.

•Good decision-making skills. Ability to integrate and apply knowledge and prior experiences to affect or implement changes and make sound independent judgments where appropriate.

Must demonstrate proficiency in perceiving and acting upon relevant changes in animal behaviors and conditions.

•Excellent written and verbal communication, team building, and people management skills are required.

•Assign routine and non-routine tasks.

•Assume zoological leadership role in the absence f the General Curator.

•Keep the General Curator informed on all relevant issues on a daily basis.

•Perform other duties as assigned by the animal management team.


•B.S. degree in zoology, biology, wildlife management or related field and a minimum of five years previous experience with captive animals in a zoological facility. Previous supervisory experience preferred. May consider an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience which provides the requisite knowledge, skills, and ability for the job.

•Strong animal handling skills.

•Possess a wide knowledge of natural history and animal husbandry.

•Experience with venomous animals a plus or willingness to learn such.

•Good interpersonal skills with the ability and desire to work as a lead team member of the Animal Care department.

•Must be able to maintain good working relationships with staff at all levels, internal and external to Animal Programs.

•Good physical strength and endurance. Able to lift and manipulate grain bags, hay bales, equipment and crated animals.

•Willingness to learn necessary skills and safely use power tools and equipment.

•Able to follow written and oral direction, exercise good judgment, and apply safety precautions applicable to the work.

•Knowledge of operant conditioning techniques.

•Ability and willingness to work in all climatic conditions.

•Possess valid driver’s license.

•Willing to work weekends, holidays, and occasional after-hour assignments.

Please send resume and cover latter to:

Richard Rosevear

General Curator

Lehigh Valley Zoo

P.O. Box 519

Schnecksville, PA 18078

Or email: rrosevear@lvzoo.org