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CZS/Brookfield Zoo

Zookeeper, Wild Encounters / Animal Ambassador / Hamill Family Play Zoo

The Chicago Zoological Society is a leading conservation organization and has an exciting, fast-paced work environment and a family friendly atmosphere. We are very customer focused, as we host over 2 million guests to Brookfield Zoo each year. We are committed to conservation in the broadest sense, and we take PRIDE in every aspect of our operation. Our employees enjoy a unique work environment in a beautiful park-like setting based on respect, openness, cooperation, and involvement. Employees are proud to work at Brookfield Zoo for the Chicago Zoological Society and are committed to our important conservation mission. Our dedicated staff has a true sense of purpose and a strong commitment to animals and conservation. 
In July 2001, Chicago Zoological Society embarked on creating a revolutionary zoo experience for families.   The result is Hamill Family Play Zoo, an interactive play adventure filled with animals, plants, and people that engages children and families helping to develop caring attitudes towards the natural world.   The Play Zoo lets children touch animals, paint murals, plant gardens, discover insects and so much more.   With approximately 300 individual animals representing 58 species, children also have an opportunity to connect with a variety of animals in a unique setting.   
In July 2015, Wild Encounters opened and our Animal Ambassador program began!   More than 70 individual animal ambassadors, representing nearly 40 species, occupy the holding areas, specifically dedicated to reptiles, birds, and small mammals. There is also an outdoor bird mew and an area for larger animals with adjacent outdoor access. Species in the Animal Ambassador program include Wallabies, Sloth, Tamandua, Serval, Savannah Cat, Binturong, Llama, Reindeer, Prehensile-tailed Porcupine, African Crested Porcupine, Tawny frogmouth, and Birds of Prey.  In addition, there is walk-through aviary experience with over 500 parakeets guests can feed.

As a Zookeeper in the Wild Encounters/Animal Ambassador/Hamill Family Play Zoo areas, you will provide general care for animals and performs related work of maintaining buildings, grounds, and interpretives in assigned area. As a Zookeeper, you will also inform, assist, and direct guests as necessary.

The successful candidate will be expected to observe assigned animals closely, routinely, and objectively report to supervisor on their behavior, health, and welfare. Keep animal records as assigned. Prepare and distribute food as directed. Clean animal enclosures, pools, and service areas. Study specific reference materials about animals in assigned area. Read other zoological and husbandry texts as assigned. Observe 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. Demonstrate knowledge of and implement Society-wide and area emergency procedures as directed.  Perform routines of assigned areas and specialized procedures as directed.

Monitor guests to insure animal and human safety and protection of Society property. Communicate with and assist guests. Take initiative to facilitate guests’ appreciation of animals and enjoyment of their visit. Other related duties as assigned.

Experience Required

The requirements for this position include a Bachelor's degree in relevant biological field or equivalent combination of training and/or experience required. Animal care facility, farm, kennel, or equivalent animal experience required. Experience with native North American animals preferred. Strong operant conditioning skills a plus. Must possess an understanding of practical principles of animal behavior and the ability to work with live animals safely. Ability to perceive and act upon relevant changes in animal behaviors and conditions. Knowledge of natural history, zoology, or animal husbandry preferred. Must be capable of dealing with emergencies calmly and efficiently. Must learn and integrate information, knowledge, and direction quickly. Ability to work in a fast pace and ever-changing work group preferred. Good decision-making skills. Must be alert and make sound independent judgments. Must have or acquire general knowledge about the Society, gain an understanding of the Society’s mission, and become familiar with and follow Society policies and procedures. Must develop proficiency in routines of assigned areas and specialized procedures as directed. Must demonstrate the ability to accurately perform job duties. Strong public speaking skills preferred; experience and enjoyment with public speaking skills and public interaction preferred. Good interpersonal skills. The ability to interact in a courteous and professional manner. Successful candidate will be able to work effectively with children and families. Must be reliable. Valid driver’s license required. Must be able to read, write, and speak the English language fluently. Spanish fluency a plus, but not required.

Further Comments

This is a full-time position with rotating shifts, including weekends, holidays, and evenings. The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


This pays $23.02 per hour per union contract.

How to Apply

If interested in being considered for this opportunity, please visit the CZS Career Center to obtain more details about the position and to apply by submitting your profile.  Please visit our website at  Please look for requisition number 2155BR.

CZS/Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513
Phone: 7086888400

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