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Oakland Zoo

Animal Keeper, Elephants

The Elephant Keeper is responsible for the physical health and psychological well-being of the animals directly under his/her care.  Work ranges from the physical tasks associated with feeding and maintenance of living areas to more analytical tasks of planning, record keeping, and communication.  The Elephant Keeper is expected to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the natural history of the species, to conduct ongoing assessment of their physical and psycho-social needs, and to design and implement steps to address these needs. The Elephant Keeper is expected to be able to use the tools of animal observation, enrichment, training and other management methods to ensure the best possible psychological well-being of the animals in their care. S/he is expected to implement Department/Zoo priorities as well as demonstrate the initiative and expertise to regularly find ways to make improvements. S/he is expected to guide and support junior staff and volunteers as appropriate. The Elephant Keeper takes direction from the Senior Keeper, Lead Keeper and/or the Zoological Manager regarding daily operations as appropriate. S/he must also be able to represent the Zoo in a variety of public settings including press interviews, instructional classes and casual communication with Zoo guests.


  1. Minimum of one year full time or 2,080 hours paid experience in the care of captive wildlife in the zoo field, large mammal/elephant experience strongly preferred. Please specify paid hours on resume.
  2. Good physical condition; able to lift a minimum of 50 lbs. (i.e. feed sack) and move a minimum of 120lbs.(i.e. hay bale); ability to walk long distances on uneven terrain in variable environmental conditions (e.g., steep, muddy, etc)
  3. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record
  4. Willingness to work outside normal business hours including weekends and holidays
  5. Good written and verbal communications skills
  6. Knowledge of the habits and hazards of working with wild, dangerous animals; willingness to work with some physical risk while observing proper safety precautions

Experience Required

1. Working knowledge of elephants/large mammals in a protected contact training program 2. Knowledge and experience in behavioral training theory and practical application 3. Ability to inspire guests in casual (e.g., one on one) and formal (i.e., programs) venues to take action for conservation 4. Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology or a related field

Further Comments

Candidates not exceeding minimum requirements will not receive a response. Applicants selected for candidacy are required to attend an on-site working interview.


Comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, life insurance and 403B retirement benefits; two weeks of vacation and ten paid holidays annually.


$20.00/hour, commensurate with experience. Comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental,

How to Apply

Submit resume, cover letter, and 3 professional references to:             

Gina Kinzley, Elephant Manager

accepted via email only

Oakland Zoo
PO BOX 5238, 9777 Golf Links Rd
Oakland, CA 94505
Phone: 5106329525

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