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Tulsa Zoo Management Inc

Zookeeper - Herps/Aquatics

Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc.


Position Title: Zookeeper

Reports To: Zoological Curator/Manager/Supervisor or Veterinarian

FLSA Status: Hourly, Non-Exempt

All positions with Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. are classified as 'Safety-Sensitive.'

(All candidates for employment with Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. must pass a pre-placement drug screening prior to beginning work)


Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. (TZMI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of “Connecting, Caring, Advocating for Wildlife, People, and Wild Places.” A dynamic group of passionate individuals brings the zoo to life each day, 365 days per year, caring for animals, greeting guests, educating the public and managing the facilities.  Each member of the team is integral to the success of the zoo as a key asset in the City of Tulsa and the Northeast Oklahoma region, delivering recreational opportunities, providing unplugged family time and conserving animal species for future generations.


This zookeeping positions is in Herps & Aquatics.  The ideal candidate will have a strong working knowledge of reptile and amphibian natural history and husbandry. Experience with venomous snakes preferred. Candidates with this experience will be favored. 


Position Summary:

This position is responsible for the daily care, maintenance and observation of assigned animal collection and associated facilities.  Will be involved with exhibit maintenance, diet preparation, conservation breeding programs, veterinary procedures, animal training and enrichment, addressing guests and education programs.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Other duties may be assigned in keeping with the mission of Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. (TZMI)

  • Daily cleaning of animal exhibits, service areas and holding units utilizing various tools, instruments, disinfectants; with the ability to do so safely.
  • Diet preparation, feeding:  restock, inventory, order feed supplies as needed and as prescribed.  Maintains food preparation areas and equipment.
  • General maintenance of exhibits, service areas and holding units such as: fence repair, decoration, mister systems, automatic drinkers, shade cloth, filling holes etc.
  • Maintains exhibits and holding units to ensure animal, keeper and visitor safety, and in good appearance for public viewing at all times.
  • Designs and constructs exhibits/holding units by cutting and moving branches to plant or secure them to walls with dirt, cement, wire, nails; installs nest boxes and barrels, attaches burlap to cage walls to provide privacy; maintains plants in exhibits.
  • Captures and restrains animals for shipping/loading or routine/non-routine medical procedures; captures animals by hand, net, catch pole, or by corralling them under direction of supervisor.
  • Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals (i.e. large ungulates, carnivores, venomous animals).
  • As assigned, assists Animal Health Department with medical treatments such as prescribed medication/treatments, weighing/measuring, surgery, restraint/capture and euthanasia of animals.
  • Daily observation of animal collection for injury, illness, aggression, stress, breeding activity, diet intake and fecal consistency.
  • Maintains accurate records of daily observations of animal collection containing information regarding behavior, intake, fecal output, breeding behavior, aggression, behavioral enrichment, capture/restraint, prescribed medical treatments in-house moves and acquisitions/de-acquisitions.
  • Monitors life support systems including but not limited to water filtration, ozone generators, HVAC and backup generators as needed.
  • Identifies and communicates situations for repair and maintenance for the safety of animals, visitors and staff as well as overall upkeep of the facilities.
  • In conjunction with the Curator of Behavioral Husbandry and Animal Care Supervisors/Managers/Curators/Veterinarians, works with animal collection on a one-to-one basis such as crate training, practicing commands, clicker training, and orientating animals to new enclosures.
  • Applies appropriate techniques and opportunities for enrichment of the animal collections.
  • Under direction of Curator, Zoological Manager and/or Zoological Supervisor, devises and implements breeding protocols, diet revisions, exhibit designs and maintenance.
  • Researches the animal collection; researches scientific journals, observes and recognizes a variety of courtship behaviors; creates environments that induce breeding.
  • Monitors incubation process of eggs; records weight and size, sets eggs in containers of correct substrate/H20 ratio, monitors temperature and humidity, candles eggs to determine fertility and assists egg hatching or removes dead neonate from egg.
  • Assists in acquisition/de-acquisition of animal collection by crate training, crating of animal, loading, transportation and shipment.
  • Trains, assists and oversees work of volunteers/interns and ensure their safety while performing these duties.
  • Recognizes signs of pest infestation in animal areas and combat pests/nuisance wildlife as directed.
  • Maintains area compliance with all local, state, federal and international regulations and standards are met (USDA, AZA, etc)
  • Attends and participates in staff meetings to discuss the needs of the animal collection and animal staff, resolve problems and learn of new procedures and policies.
  • Participates in visitor education programs, formal and informal animal presentations and outreach programs, scheduled keeper talks and provide accurate information to the public.
  • Maintain necessary certifications as required (SCUBA, AZA Elephant Management, Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) etc.)
  • Maintain necessary testing/vaccinations as required (TB, rabies, etc.).
  • Responds to emergency calls after normal operating hours.


Supervisory Responsibilities:                                        

This position currently has no supervisory responsibilities.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:


Excellence and Continuous Improvement

  • Works hard consistently and enthusiastically, steadfastly pushing for greater results
  • Resolves problems and initiates action in an expedient manner
  • Makes suggestions, offers solutions and thinks outside the box
  • Demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement both personally and professionally
  • Deals courteously and effectively with the public at all times



  • Accepts accountability for personal performance and behavior
  • Admits and takes responsibility for correcting mistakes
  • Keeps confidences
  • Represents collective interests over personal gains



  • Able to establish and maintain effective and professional working relations with coworkers
  • Demonstrates willingness to be a team player
  • Relates well to all kinds of people, building rapport with diplomacy and tact
  • Shows empathy and respect towards the diverse ideas and beliefs of others


Stewardship and Conservation

  • Demonstrates good stewardship in use of time, money and materials
  • Respects, maintains and optimizes the use of zoo equipment and resources
  • Actively participates in conservation efforts, whether internal or external
  • Thinks ahead with actions that would affect the proper preservation and protection of animals, plants and natural ecosystems
  • Serves as an ambassador for the zoo and its mission



  • Uses humor is a positive and constructive way
  • Promotes the organization having a positive, unique and memorable impact on guests and fellow employees


Safety and Security

  • Adheres to all safety regulations and policies and maintains a safe and productive workplace for animals, guests and fellow employees
  • Reports potentially unsafe conditions



  • Displays original thinking and creativity
  • Meets challenges with resourcefulness
  • Generates suggestions for improving work
  • Develops innovative approaches and ideas



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Education and/or Experience

Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Zoology, Animal Science, Environmental Resources, Wildlife Management or a related field from college or university; six months of exotic animal experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience. Generally, one year of full time exotic animal experience will translate to one year of college.  


Language Skills                                                    

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and correspondence. Ability to speak effectively before groups of customers, employees of TZMI and the general public.


Mathematical Skills

Ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide using whole numbers, common fractions and decimals. Ability to perform these operations using units of American money.


Computer Skills

Microsoft Word; Microsoft Excel; International Species Information Systems (ISIS) a plus; Internet Browser(s)- Explorer, Chrome, Safari, etc.


Other Skills, Abilities or Qualifications

Must possess a valid driver’s license and be insurable on TZMI’s insurance carrier. Ability to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays. Use of any/all of the following: automatic and standard transmission vehicles, rake, shovel,  wheel barrow, pallet jack, catch pole, capture nets, snake hook, small hand held and power tools (hammer, screwdriver, drill, wire cutters etc.), scale, garden hose. General knowledge of zoo animal husbandry and observational skills. Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals. Must be capable of emergency response handling to avoid injury to self, others, and animal. Good observational skills. Must have strong interpersonal and communications skills. Maintain good time management to perform responsibilities showing productivity. Actively seek ways to streamline processes; open to new ideas and approaches, initiative, planning and organization; flexible and adaptable; follow instructions; seeks additional training and development.


Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


This position requires substantial standing; substantial walking, moderate sitting; substantial reaching with hands and arms; substantial climbing or balancing; substantial stooping, kneeling, crouching or crawling; substantial talking or hearing; moderate lifting up to 60 pounds.


Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


This work environment involves minimal working near moving mechanical parts; substantial work in outdoor weather conditions; substantial work with moderate noise level. May involve substantial work in a wet or humid environment.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please follow this link.

Tulsa Zoo Management Inc
6421 E 36th St N
Tulsa, OK 74115
Phone: 918-669-6601
Fax: 918-524-9631

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