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San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

Wildlife Care Specialist (Birds) - Temporary - San Diego Zoo Safari Park


The Wildlife Care Specialist will support San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s mission of saving species worldwide by providing for the general care and welfare of assigned exhibit animals. The Keeper will provide information and answer visitor questions regarding the animals. The Keeper performs a wide range of semi-routine functions at either the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This class also consistently demonstrates the desire and ability to engage in positive relationships with internal and external customers. This position reports to a Lead or Supervisor.



• Prepare food and water for exhibit animals

• Load and unload food from trucks

• Feed exhibit animals

• Administer prescribed medication and keep feeding records

• Observe assigned animals

• Report abnormal conditions to superiors

• Clean exhibit areas, pools, animal sleeping areas and service areas

• Clean and disinfects utensils, work tools and containers

• Provides species-appropriate enrichment to assigned animals

• Maintain appropriate health and behavior records on assigned animals

• Respond to questions from the public concerning exhibits

• Provide exhibit security

• Participate in capturing, incapacitating and moving animals

• Participate in and supports animal training programs

• Assist medical staff in treating animals

• Perform minor or routine maintenance on exhibit enclosures

• Report maintenance needs

• Operate a variety of light and medium equipment

• Adhere to all SDZWA and department policies and practices

• Practice the GRRREAT Customer Service Standards 

Safety: Must be able to safely manage the daily care of non-domesticated wild animals representing multiple dangerous species. This requires the knowledge of and ability to follow SOPs in each animal area.  

Decision-making: Must have independent and critical thinking ability to respond appropriately to expected and unexpected animal care situations. Must be able to problem solve based on experience and observation and must be able to follow proper procedures. 

Flexibility/Adaptability: Must be able to quickly process and respond to novel situations with professionalism and clear judgment. Must be able to accept irregular shift times, last minute schedule changes, variance in workload, and changing of daily tasks. Must be able to respond appropriately to the collection animals’ dynamic social and physical states. Must be able to work at variable locations (Zoo, Safari Park, field, ICR). 

Professionalism: Employees are expected to abide by the SDZWA Rules of Engagement. Must foster a positive work environment that promotes trust and integrity. Must be able to accept responsibility and be accountable. Must make decisions that support the goals of the organization. 


Animal husbandry knowledge and background with direct experience working with animals in a zoological setting, a basic understanding of positive reinforcement operant conditioning and animal behavior, experience with common computer systems, and evidence of the ability to work in a team environment. Safety practices around wild animals and guest interactions/public presentations are necessary. Frequent requirements to move moderate to heavy objects and work on uneven terrain with exposure to varying weather conditions, dust, and allergens are components of the position. Selected candidate will also be required to move about on slippery surfaces, handle toxic and/or hazardous materials, and possible exposure to zoonotic diseases. May work from elevated positions and/or in confined or cramped spaces. 


Education, training and/or experience which would clearly demonstrate the essential functions, knowledge and skills outlined. A degree or equivalent experience in biology or a scientifically related field from a recognized institution and/or experience working in an accredited zoological facility is highly desired. Examples would be 12 to 16 college credit hours in zoology, animal biology or animal husbandry; or, one to two years of work experience in a Zoo or similar environment where appropriate knowledge and skills in animal care could be acquired. Interested applicants must be available to work any days of the week and any daytime shift with ability to respond to overnight hours during emergencies. This is a full time, approximately 40 hours per week position. A good driving record and a valid driver license is required. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to apply. 



     • Animal behavior

     • Animal biology and zoology

     • Care, feeding and handling of wild animals

     • Safety practices around wild animals

     • Techniques for restraining or capturing wild animals

     • Public Speaking
    • Respond to cautions from co-workers

     • Monitor animal behavior and appearance

     • Operate motorized equipment and vehicles

     • Use computer programs (Word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and 

     • Communicate and work effectively with others

     • Work in a diverse team environment and motivate others

     • Multi-task and prioritize

     • Understand and follow directions effectively

     • Deal tactfully and courteously with others

     • Adhere to the organization’s policies, procedures and regulations

     • Competently perform the essential functions outlined above




  • Free admission to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Family Passes
  • Complimentary Tickets
  • Local and In-House Discounts


  • Location: San Diego Zoo Safari Park – Bird Department
  • Duration: Temporary (6 months)  
  • Union Position: Starting hourly wage $23.34
  • *If selected, there are union fees and dues to be paid to the Union
  • Candidates must be available for an interview if contacted. Full job description may be requested at that time.




At San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, we thrive on celebrating our differences. Diversity is vital for the benefit of our employees, our guests, our community, and our wildlife.

SDZWA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. SDZWA will consider all qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, marital status, parental status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

If you require a reasonable accommodation to complete an application, please email your request to and provide the job title and location to which you are applying. 

Join our team and build a career protecting wildlife around the globe with your passion for wildlife!



How to Apply

Apply directly through SDZWA website:

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
2920 Zoo Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 6192311515

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