Keeper, Marine Mammals

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.

Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. Common bottlenose dolphins captivate audiences in Brookfield Zoo’s daily Dolphins in Action in the Seven Seas Dolphinarium and Pinniped Point is home to California Sea Lions, Gray Seal, and Harbor Seal.

The Marine Mammal 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, Marine Mammals 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 Marine Mammal Keeper must 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. At least 6 months of paid work experience working with marine mammals is required; proficiency with operant conditioning principles and techniques highly preferred. 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 presentation skills, using operant conditioning in interactions with the animals is highly desirable. 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. For Marine Mammal keeper positions, SCUBA certification is highly preferred; SCUBA certification is required within one year of employment. This is a full-time position with rotating shifts, including weekends, holidays, and evenings.

The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer – Minorities / Women / Veterans / Disabled.

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 560BR.