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Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Headkeeper, North America

Responsible for the animal management and exhibit/grounds maintenance for assigned team(s); scheduling, training and training coordination for assigned team(s); and, leadership for seasonal team members, interns, volunteers and zooschool students assigned to the region. 


  • Under the direction of the Assistant Curator, responsible for animal management and exhibit maintenance for assigned team(s) including but not limited to animal health, animal enrichment, and habitat issues (e.g. work orders).
  • Under the direction of the Assistant Curator, responsible for generating and executing work schedules, coordinating training initiatives, and delivering on-the-job training to region staff as assigned.
  • Under the direction of the Assistant Curator, assumes leadership reasonability for seasonal staff, interns, volunteers and zooschool students assigned to region including but not limited to selection, scheduling, evaluation, training, daily work direction and informing management of problems.
  • Under the direction of the Assistant Curator, maintains accurate up-to-date records on region’s animal population (e.g. daily, monthly).
  • Provides leadership on individual projects as assigned by the Assistant Curator.
  • Provides care of the region’s living collection, including but not limited to food preparation, feeding, monitoring diets, watering, bathing, enrichment, observing medical and behavioral changes and behavioral stimulation, and may direct and provide medical treatment as prescribed by Zoo Veterinarian.
  • Cleans and maintains region’s animal exhibit areas, performs basic horticulture work within exhibit, and disinfects animal enclosures.
  • Performs minor maintenance, water quality testing, water changes, filter maintenance and other work related to aquatic systems.
  • Utilizes chemical supply products and follows standardized usage guidelines and safety information as set by the Material Data Sheets.
  • Assures the safety of self, animals, co-workers and visitors by observing safety guidelines when working with animals, equipment and vehicles.
  • Provides educational information about animals by interacting with the public, conducting tours and workshops, attending docent meetings, composing articles for zoo publications and conducting volunteer trainings.
  • Provides input to Assistant Curator on all aspects (e.g. safety, animal husbandry) of assigned areas.
  • Participates in training and operant conditioning programs and follows standardized reporting mechanisms.
  • Attends departmental meetings and participates in developmental seminars and workshops as required.
  • Establishes and maintains contacts with other zookeepers outside of the Columbus Zoo, field researchers and other specialists
  • Participates in cross-training activities as directed.
  • Constantly strives to further the mission of the organization and avidly supports the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Zoombezi Bay, Safari Golf Club and The Wilds.
  • Implements sustainable practices in daily tasks whenever possible.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Experience Required

High school diploma or equivalent required. Bachelor’s degree in zoology, animal science, biology or related field required. Four years of relevant zookeeping experience may be substituted for degree. 12 months of successfully performing duties as a Zookeeper 4 preferred. Ability to perform strenuous physical work required. Ability to efficiently manage time and work without direct supervision. Ability to develop and deliver informational presentations to small, medium or large groups required. One to five years of leadership and/or supervisory experience preferred. Ability to successfully perform zookeeper duties within a diverse animal collection preferred. Successful animal husbandry experience in working with mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and avian preferred. Experience in the maintenance of aquariums, aquatic life support systems, and use of water quality testing equipment preferred. Ability to successfully lead and motivate a team. C.P.R./First Aid certification required. S.C.U.B.A. certification required (if assigned duties include diving). Ability to pass Dive Program annual swim test required (if assigned duties include diving). Ability to pass Dive Program physical exam required (if assigned duties include diving). Remain current and follows all diving related institutional safety protocols as assigned. Ability to communicate well both verbally and in writing required. Ability to plan and organize work in an efficient and cost-effective manner and without direct supervision required. Ability to provide excellent guest service by positively interacting with guests and upholding the Make it G.R.E.A.T. standards required. Ability to develop and maintain cooperative working relationships with all Zoo team members and contacts regarding company business required. Ability to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays required. Ability to adhere to standard operating procedures including but not limited to safety protocols required. Possession of a valid Ohio motor vehicle operator’s license and a good driving record required, as well as ability to operate standard shift vehicles required. Proof of negative TB screening prior to placement and annually thereafter required. Ability to adhere to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s drug-free workplace policy including but not limited to pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion and follow-up treatment required. Ability to successfully complete a criminal history background check annually required.


$30.29 per hour

How to Apply

Apply online at: 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
9990 Riverside Dr., Box 400
Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 6146453400
Fax: 6147243599

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@Columbus Zoo

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