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Lead Keeper-Cold Water Birds

Organization: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (AZA Member)
Location: Omaha, NE, United States
Job or Internship: Job

This position is responsible for basic animal care, including environmental enrichment, general maintenance of exhibits, and observation of the animals in assigned area. Additional duties include guest interaction through Keeper Presentations and Behind the Scenes Tours. This position will also participate in animal procedures and operant conditioning. This position may also coordinate the duties of Animal Keepers/Aquarists and Senior Keepers/Aquarists in assigned area. This position is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for self, fellow employees, guests and animal collection. The staff at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo strives to foster an environment of open communication and collaboration concerning, but not limited to the following discussion points: research, observations, behavior management, husbandry, diets, training, and the acquisition and disposition of species. There may be taxa specific duties that include knowledge of life support, water chemistry, incubation techniques, etc. This position is directly responsible to the Area Supervisor and in the absence of the Area Supervisor assumes those duties and responsibilities and answers directly to the Curator.



• Responsible for maintaining all duties assigned to Animal Keeper/Aquarist and Senior Keeper/Aquarist level positions.

• Plan and conduct animal procedures including translocations, immobilizations, operant conditioning and introductions as directed by the Area Supervisor or Curator.

• Responsible for interdivisional and intradepartmental projects and communications.

• Provide timely reports to Area Supervisor regarding any animal health or husbandry issues or concerns.


• Perform daily and other scheduled general cleaning and maintenance of enclosures and assigned areas including integrated pest management awareness.

• Develop protocols for exhibit maintenance both for animal and staff safety and animal display that make areas run more smoothly and efficiently.

• Assist supervisor and Curator in the development of new exhibits as well as in monitoring the construction/remodeling of exhibits. This can include collection planning.

• Under the direction of the supervisor, plan, schedule and conduct division projects, maintenance and periodic activities and organize fellow keepers to complete such projects.

• Determine exhibit and staff tool needs and be responsible for acquiring the necessary items with Supervisor’s approval.

• Be aware of and follow formal protocols as documented and contribute to the development and updating of these directives for the respective area as directed.


• Demonstrate correct usage of the zoo’s radio system.

• Demonstrate knowledge of and participate in zoo wide safety programs including safety drills.

• Demonstrate specific knowledge of area specific safety protocols. i.e. two-keeper rule, animal containment protocol and public safety and building evacuation.

• Demonstrate familiarity with animal escape procedures and re-capture.

• Demonstrate knowledge of fire safety to include alarms and alarm panels, area specific fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers and building evacuation.

• Demonstrate a familiarity with all park evacuation processes including, buildings, rides, conveyance and parking lot.


• Know basic biology, natural history, and husbandry of all specimens maintained and unique husbandry requirements.

• Have a basic understanding of the zoo’s history and it’s forward progress so that guests can be informed and excited about upcoming projects.

• Communicate biological conservation material to guests and participate in delivery of education programs and tours.

• Demonstrate consistent professional guest interaction and education skills including performing keeper presentations, and touring visiting professionals through assigned areas.

• Conduct Behind the Scenes Tours as needed or requested by the supervisor.

• Conduct research on new animal acquisitions or further investigate current collection, define improvement ideas for existing exhibits, and develop protocols on husbandry including information on natural history as well as specific animal history.

• Train Animal keepers/Aquarists, students, and interns, as directed by the Supervisor.


• Minimum of 5 years experience at an AZA accredited institution. Related experience and demonstrated expertise at a non-accredited AZA facility may be considered, at the discretion of the General Curator

• Must consistently receive favorable annual evaluations regarding all aspects of job performance.

• Possess effective verbal and written communication skills.

If a keeper is hired into this grade, he/she will have eighteen months to complete the above requirements in order to maintain this position. Failure to complete the above requirements may result in a re-classification of position.


• High school diploma or equivalent. Associates Science degree in Zoo Technology or a four-year degree in zoology or related field is desirable.

• Previous experience in an accredited AZA zoological park is required.

• Possession of and the ability to maintain a valid Driver’s License and the ability to operate a motorized vehicle.


• The employee is regularly required to stand, walk, stoop, kneel, and crouch. Employee must regularly lift and/or move 50 lbs.

• The employee will be exposed frequently to outside, potentially adverse, weather conditions.

• Must be able to traverse zoo grounds on foot.

• Must be able to bend, lift, rake and sweep without difficulty.

• Employee will be regularly exposed to water, chemicals, loud noises, dust, dander, hay, etc.

• Must possess visual acuity appropriate for animal care and general safety practices.


• Employee may be required to work after hours, weekends, holidays, and evenings as needed for zoo special events.

• Perform additional duties and/or assume other responsibilities as delegated by Supervisor or Curator.

To apply please visit our website at

Applications accepted through 02/08/2012