Keeper, Aquatics #1198

Organization: Chicago Zoological Society - Brookfield Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Brookfield, IL, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. We have pioneered the field of conservation psychology, the study of how people connect with animals and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo is known throughout the world as a leader in animal welfare and conservation, this venerable institution also serves as a potent economic engine, top tourism attraction, and award-winning educational institution.

CZS has nearly tripled our reptile and aquatics areas in size in the last five years and opportunity remains for increasing our collection size and focus as programs grow and continue to develop. We have started expanding our local herp/aquatic conservation projects which include species such as mud and Blanding’s turtles, alligator snapping turtles, fine-lined skinks, and Massasauga rattlesnakes; we have added over 600 animals and 40 species in the last two years; we have expanded the displays by over 30% in the past two years; and we plan on adding an additional 15-20% in the next few years. Our exhibits range from 10 gallon invertebrate exhibits to a 60,000 gallon pacific coast exhibit, and we are expanding with smaller exhibits ranging from 10 to 800 gallons. Existing space is available to continue to expand off-exhibit breeding programs as well, including our sea horse and coral collections which, through controlling growth, we are now supplying to other institutions. Our Sting Ray Bay includes a touch tank and one of our strongest educational opportunities for the community in which we live and work.

We are looking for a dynamic person who is ready for the challenge that expansion brings, a great team player, and someone excited and motivated for learning and developing. This Aquatics Keeper contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society, under direction of area supervisors, by providing general care for animals and performing related work of maintaining buildings, grounds, and interpretives in assigned area. Inform, assist, and direct visitors as necessary. Perform routine duties with minimal supervision and new duties with detailed direction.

The Keeper, Aquatics is responsible for providing general care for animals and performing related work in assigned area, under the direction of area supervisors, including ordering, preparing, and distributing food as directed. The ability to work in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment is preferred as we work very closely in our teams. Keepers will perform routine duties with minimal supervision and new duties with detailed direction. Other responsibilities include: observe assigned animals closely, routinely, and objectively report to supervisor on their behavior, health, and welfare; and keep animal records as assigned. Keepers observe the condition of assigned area(s), animal enclosures, and equipment; monitor and clean public space(s), plants, and interpretives as assigned; report maintenance needs; perform minor maintenance tasks as assigned; clean animal enclosures, pools, and service areas as assigned; and perform area routines proficiently. Keepers monitor visitors to insure animal and human safety and protection of park property; and communicate with and assist guests as they take initiative to facilitate guests’ appreciation of animals and enjoyment of their visit. Other responsibilities include the ability to demonstrate the knowledge of and to implement society-wide and area emergency procedures as directed. Our Aquatics Keeper ms also have the ability to train and direct interns, seasonal keepers, keeper aides, and volunteers as assigned.

The requirements for this position include a Bachelor's degree in a relevant biological field or the equivalent combination of training and experience, required. Successful completion of Assistant Keeper probationary period or equivalent combination of training and/or experience in a zoo or aquarium is required. A minimum of 2 years of experience working with fish, aquatic invertebrates, and corals in a captive setting is preferred. Experience building and maintaining small aquatics systems is preferred as is a strong understanding of water quality parameters. Must possess an understanding of practical principles of animal behavior and the ability to work with live animals safely; demonstrate the ability to increase knowledge of natural history, zoology, and general animal husbandry of the species and individual animals in area(s) of experience; be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently; learn and integrate information, knowledge, and direction quickly, and complete tasks as needed. Good decision-making skills and ability to be alert and make sound, independent judgments is necessary. Ability to perceive and act upon relevant changes in animal behaviors and conditions is also necessary.

Solid interpersonal skills are required and strong public speaking skills along with experience with public speaking and public interaction are preferred. Keepers must possess a general knowledge of Chicago Zoological Society, or must acquire general knowledge, gain an understanding of the Society’s mission, and become familiar with and follow policies and procedures; must demonstrate the ability to develop proficiency, in performing assigned routines and specialized procedures as directed; must possess a record of consistency and accuracy in performing job duties. A demonstrated ability to take initiative in identifying and solving problems, recommending ideas and viable suggestions to improve operations; the ability to work with minimal supervision; and a demonstrated ability to train, educate, and direct the basic work of seasonal employees and interns are required. Must be reliable.

Valid driver’s license required for Illinois residents within 90 days of hire; valid out-of-state license required for out-of-state residents. Spanish fluency is a plus, but not required. This is a full-time position with rotating shifts, including weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Keeper: $22.92/hour per union contract.

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer - M/F/V/D.

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center at to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile to position #1198.