Zoo Nutritionist

Organization: Denver Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Denver, CO, Country
Job or Internship: Job

At Denver Zoo, our mission is to secure a better world for animals through human understanding. We are a respected leader in animal care and exhibition, conservation programs, scientific study, environmental education and public service.


This position advances the mission of Denver Zoo and the nutrition program through strong director- level leadership. The successful candidate will be responsible for management of nutrition for the zoo’s animal population. This includes the formulation and management of diets, nutritional records, tracking diets and diet changes, implementation of a diet review process and development of a nutrition based research program. The position, and associated direct reports, will report to the Vice President of Veterinary Medicine. The zoo nutritionist will partner with the veterinary team, as well as the animal care department in maintaining the health and well-being of Denver Zoo’s animal collection, with a specific role in understanding the effect and impact of diet on these animals. An active presence in the community and strengthening alliances with relevant partners is expected. Strong communication and presentation skills, verbally and written, are required.

Essential Functions:

•Serves as direct supervisor for all commissary staff, directing, supervising, and coordinating the daily operations of Denver Zoo’s animal commissary.

•Supervises diet preparation, food product ordering, and evaluation of food products.

•Provides ongoing feedback regarding levels of performance within the team. Initiates and recommends disciplinary action for employees as necessary. Responds to grievances within or involving assigned area.

•Provides nutritional direction for the animal collection in collaboration with veterinary and animal care staff; this includes maintaining department procedural manuals, as well as monitoring diet consumption, diet formulation and implementation.

•Evaluates and designs diets for each species in Denver Zoo’s animal collection in order to meet nutritional and physiological needs that balance nutritional objectives with husbandry and behavioral objectives.

•Is directly responsible and accountable for approving all diets and changes to diets. Makes diet adjustments as required to ensure nutrition, health and husbandry objectives are being met.

•Responsible for developing and implementing food quality control programs and remaining current on pertinent regulations and standards to ensure safe storage and management of dietary items for the zoo collection, including those that are dried, frozen and refrigerated.

•Work cooperatively with the animal care, veterinary medicine and horticultural departments to develop and implement a comprehensive browse program.

•Develop diets for new animal acquisitions, including review of quarantine animal arrival diet information and recommending steps for transition to Denver Zoo diet.

•Provides innovative solutions and direction for the animal nutrition program while remaining in compliance with AZA and USDA standards.

•In cooperation with the VP of Veterinary Medicine and the Animal Care department, prepares and manages the annual budget for Denver Zoo animal diets, nutritional analysis, and nutritional research.

•Keeps current on dietary ingredient regulations and issued related to current and pending animal welfare issues.

•Ensures excellent communication and cooperation within the commissary team, and between the commissary and other departments within Denver Zoo.

•Motivates, teaches, and encourages a positive working and learning environment for the nutrition and commissary team.

•Implements area and zoo-wide safety standards and works with area staff to develop procedures that ensure compliance.

•Participates in Denver Zoo initiatives by serving on committees, conducting research, and/or participating in conservation programs.

•Develops a robust, compelling, scientifically-valid nutritional research program that advances practical knowledge of nutrition for Denver Zoo and for other institutions housing captive wildlife.

•Participates in multi-institutional programs that advance nutrition and welfare for captive wildlife, including species survival programs, taxon advisory groups, and conservation initiatives.

•Represents Denver Zoo at national and international meetings such as the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, Nutritional Advisory Group, Comparative Nutritional Society, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, or other professional organizations.

•Serves on Denver Zoo’s Animal Welfare Committee.

Additional Responsibilities:

•As member of the senior staff, works occasional weekends, holidays and evenings, as needed.

•Performs various tasks as assigned.


•Graduate degree in nutrition or a related field is required, with PhD preferred.

•At least two years of experience working with nutritional issues in captive wildlife.

•Research experience with evidence of peer-reviewed publication.

•Demonstrable leadership and supervisory abilities.

•Excellent oral and written presentation skills.

•Ability to communicate and integrate between multiple different departments.

•Competency in computer skills, including word processor, spread sheets, Internet and networks, as well as nutritional analysis software.

Please apply through our website at www.denverzoo.org

Denver Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer