Assistant Animal Keeper--Birds

Organization: Lincoln Park Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Chicago, IL, United States
Job or Internship: Job


Under close supervision, participates in all aspects of daily animal care and maintenance of particular exhibits.


Provides daily care to animals and their enclosures. Including, but not limited to cleaning, feeding, watering, securing, grooming (i.e., domestic animals), observing, animal training and enrichment, record keeping and maintaining exhibits

Tasks may include heavy manual and skilled work such as moving and manipulating heavy food items, hoses, bales of hay, equipment and crated animals

Participates in required lectures, seminars and workshops as part of their apprenticeship

Advances zoo mission through participation in conservation programs - assists in development and delivery of educational programs formally through Education Department, and informally through interaction with zoo guests; assists with tours for guests, staffs and volunteers; may assist in research projects

Cleans and maintains animal exhibits including use of chemical agents and special tools which are used to ensure the health and safety of the animals as well as the proper presentation to the public

Maintains animal exhibits for less dangerous species under the supervision and discretion of the lead keeper. Exhibits housing more dangerous animals will not be maintained until the later stages of the probationary period

Under close supervision, maintains excellence in exhibit display including furnishing, modifying and performing minor repairs and upkeep as appropriate.

With supervision, prepares and distributes animal diets as determined by senior animal management staff. Humanely dispatches live feed items

Shifts and manually restrains animals other than common domestics or exotics used in handling programs under close supervision and in the immediate presence of a qualified animal keeper during the initial 2 months of the apprenticeship

Under close supervision, administers therapeutics as prescribed by the veterinarian

Monitors health of animals on a daily basis by observing eating habits, general activity, behavior and appearance, interaction with others, etc. Reports abnormal behavior and problems to area supervisor without delay. Assists with the preparation of detailed written daily reports for supervisor

Monitors the condition of habitats, equipment and facilities and initiates work orders requests and emergency repairs as needed

Maintains clean and safe work environment

Maintains an inventory of equipment and supplies

Adheres to established animal handling and related safety guidelines. Participates in established animal escape drills and procedures. Under supervision, captures, restrains, and transports animals

May be assigned jobs that require coordination with other zoo departments

Orients and trains staff assigned to work locations


May have direct responsibility for a specialized aspect of assigned animal collection.

Other duties as assigned to maintain efficient and quality zoo operations

Work necessary hours as requested including all shifts, weekends, holidays, and special events


Knowledge of general husbandry practices and methods

Knowledge of animal behavior and natural history; common environmental enrichment and animal training practices; biology and related subjects

Knowledge of animal behavior as an indication of general health, reproductive potential and well being

Knowledge of occupational hazards involved and the safe work practices to employ while in proximity of potentially dangerous animals

Knowledge of materials, methods, tools and equipment used in cleaning operations

Skill in making thorough observations and documenting observations

Ability to keep comprehensive and accurate records according to established procedures

Ability to both give and follow oral and written directions effectively

Ability to organize tasks and time to ensure timely completion of all projects

Strong oral and written communication skills

Ability to work in any of the assigned animal areas fulfilling all requirements of the title

Ability to exercise sound judgment in analyzing animal behavior problems or emergency situations, and to respond with appropriate action

Ability to work with and be comfortable around potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species

Ability to work with potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and toxic chemicals and/or drugs

Ability to interact courteously, respectfully and productively with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, zoo visitors and general public


Graduation from a high school or the equivalent (GED) is required. Graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in Biological Sciences (i.e. Biology, Zoology, Ecology) or a closely related discipline is preferred.


Previous experience performing animal care activities in a zoo, aquarium or like institution is desirable. Experience in designated taxonomic area preferred.

Note: A comparable combination of education, experience or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skills, and ability required may qualify an individual.


Ability to remain on feet for long periods of time

Ability to regularly perform a variety of physical tasks that include but are not limited to climbing, bending, stooping, kneeling, twisting, reaching, crawling

Physical strength, including ability to frequently move up to fifty (50) pounds

Ability to work in small, confined spaces

Ability to work in all weather conditions

Ability to wear requisite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that may include rubber/latex gloves, steel-toed boots/shoes, face shields, eye goggles

No allergy related to plants or animals that may interfere with the ability to work

No impairment of sight, smell, hearing, touch balance and ability of movement that might interfere with ability to work

Ability to maintain immune response to exposure to infectious and parasitic diseases


Available to work all necessary hours, including weekends, holidays, special events and all shifts.

A valid driver’s license with a good driving record is preferred