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Oakland Zoo

Senior Herpetology/Invertebrate Keeper

A Supervising Primary Animal Keeper is a Senior Keeper-level position, responsible for the daily management of the string animals and facilities.  This includes reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates as well as exhibit plants, naturalistic habitats, life support systems and water quality.  They help coordinate the string staff that includes relief, floating, and apprentice keepers as well as interns and volunteers. A Senior Animal Keeper must be an experienced keeper in the field with experience in the areas of animal care/management, management of paid staff and unpaid volunteers/interns, along with leadership training/conflict management.  Work ranges from the physical tasks associated with feeding and maintenance of the animals’ living areas to more analytical tasks of planning, record keeping and communication. The Senior Animal Keeper is expected to have or develop the appropriate level of knowledge of the natural history and captive wildlife management under their care to insure the best possible physical and psychological well-being of the animals in their care. The Senior Animal 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 welfare of the animals in their care. They are expected to implement Department/Zoo priorities as well as demonstrate the initiative and expertise to regularly find ways to make improvements. They are expected to guide and support junior staff and volunteers as appropriate. The Senior Animal Keeper takes direction from the Zoological Manager and Department Director regarding daily operations as appropriate. They 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.  The Senior Keeper is expected to be active as a department leader and can be expected to cover department function and emergency response coordination in the absence of Zoological Managers or Department Director.  Other string duties and special projects can be assigned as needed.
Job Requirements
  1. At least three years full time professional experience in the care of reptiles and amphibians at a zoological institution.
  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)
  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 animals; willingness to work with some physical risk while observing proper safety precautions
Experience and Qualities Preferred
  1. Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology or a related field.
  2. Knowledge and experience in behavioral training theory and practical application
  3. Experience with invertebrates
  4. Experience with life support systems including water quality
  5. Experience with set up and maintenance of naturalistic habitats for reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates as well as general trouble shooting in regards to exhibit challenges.

Experience Required

1. At least three years full time professional experience in the care of reptiles and amphibians at a zoological institution

Further Comments

Experience with invertebrates preferred but not necessary


Comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and life insurance; two weeks of vacation and eleven paid holidays annually


$22.46 - $31.45/hour, pay commensurate with experience

How to Apply

Submit resume, cover letter, and 3 professional references via email only to:  

Adam Fink, Zoological Manager:           

Oakland Zoo
9777 Golf Links Rd.
Oakland, CA 94605
Phone: 5106329525

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