Zoological Manager of Animal Programs

Organization: Birmingham Zoo, Inc. (AZA Member)
Location: Birmingham, AL, Country
Job or Internship: Job

Birmingham Zoo, Inc.

Position Description

Position: Zoological Manager of Animal Programs

Reports to: Education Curator


The Animal Programs Department is responsible for designing and implementing educational programs that utilize Programs Animals in our interpretive programming (Wildlife Shows, zoo events, outreach programs, educational programs for schools, media appearances, animal greeters for special events, etc.). Additionally, this department works closely with other departments to develop educational messages regarding exhibit animals.


This Zoo Manager (ZM) works closely with their departmental Curator and is tasked with supervising staff and providing technical lead in the care of animals in the assigned area. These activities will assist in presenting to the public an environment that is educational, entertaining and serves to further the mission of Birmingham Zoo, Inc.

The Programs ZM coordinates the interpretive and animal portions of all presentations involving Programs Animals. The Programs ZM works closely with the Education Manager to develop interpretive content that is in line with the Zoo’s educational goals. The Programs ZM also works with other ZM’s that use exhibit animals for interpretive purposes to develop and deliver quality interpretive programs to the public.


• Supervise and train the animal Keepers in the approved protocols of the assigned area.

• Makes recommendations regarding changes to Zoo policy or procedure to ensure continuous improvement.

• Provide recommendations for professional development of assigned staff with respect to animal husbandry, education and conservation programs.

• Input animal data into the computer system to ensure current data is available to all zoo staff members regarding assigned animals.

• Clean and maintain animal exhibits, including the use of chemical agents and special tools to assure the health and safety of the animals.

• Evaluate and prepare diets and consult with the Curator and Animal Health Center staff regarding the condition of the animal, weather and temperature influence, and any other special consideration relating to the species or individual animal.

• Assumes a lead role in the observation of assigned animals with respect to general activity, interactions with other animals, fecal ouput and reproductive behavior.

• Responsible for capturing, crating and transferring animals using appropriate restraint and handling techniques that ensure maximum safety of the animals and staff.

• Communicate problems or concerns as it relates to the collection, staff or public to the Curator or members of senior staff.

• Interact with Zoo visitors concerning Zoo operations, education and conservation.

• Follow established protocols unless directed by a supervisor to deviate from said protocols.

• Coordinates training of the use of program animals with the Volunteers and staff of the Education Department.

• Trains and directs all keeper positions assigned to their area.

• Helps manage the department in the Curator’s absence. This includes making sure that the department is properly staffed; that all facilities and animals are in good order, and that any problems are reported to the staff member in charge.

• Other duties as assigned.


• High School Diploma or GED required; college degree in an applicable field is preferred.

• Minimum three years’ experience as a Keeper; supervisory keeper experience is preferred.

• Successful experience in training a variety of animal species.

• Excellent public speaking skills.

• Must be goal-oriented, highly motivated, and able to multi-task.

• Must possess excellent leadership, interpersonal, organizational, oral and written communication skills.

• Understanding and appreciation for BZI’s mission.


The following physical demands are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee should expect:

• Use of hands, fingers, tools and/or controls.

• Frequent requirements to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms, stoop, kneel, bend, crawl, crouch, talk and hear.

• Routine requirements to lift and/or move up objects weighing up to 50 pounds.

• Frequent walking for long distances.

• Exposure to wet surfaces.

• Depending on assignment, exposure to the elements can be expected.


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential duties and functions of this position.


The ZM position is impacted by a wide variety of hazardous exposures:

• The ZM will have to deal with the unpredictability of wild animals

• The care and husbandry of animals, some of whom are dangerous

• The proper use and understanding of cleaning agents

Specific training and procedures will be provided designed to maintain safety of people as the highest priority of the zoo, followed by the safety of the animal collection.

The use and understanding of a variety of personal safety equipment is mandatory, where indicated. The ZM assists the Curator in making sure that all staff are trained on the proper use of safety equipment.

ZM’s, as with any employee of the zoo, are required to be familiar with the Zoo’s safety policies as outlined in the Employee Handbook and are responsible for reporting any injury to the First Aid department.


Application deadline is 5:00 p.m. CST on April 30, 2013. Applicants are instructed to electronically submit a letter of intent, resume and application to:

Phil Broder

Curator of Education

Birmingham Zoo, Inc.

2630 Cahaba Road

Birmingham, AL 35223


The application is located at http://www.birminghamzoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Employment-Application.pdf. It may be faxed to 205.879.9426 or scanned and submitted electronically.