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Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Director of Conservation Science

The Director of Conservation Science is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing the conservation programs of Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Working with the Chief Mission Officer, the Director will create, execute, and evaluate a strategic plan for the Zoos Conservation Science. This position will work both internally and externally with conservation partners to amplify and deepen the impact of the Zoos work in conservation science.

Our comprehensive compensation package includes Medical/Dental/Vision, Employee Assistance Program, 401k, 10 Paid Holidays, Paid Sick and Paid Vacation time on an accrued basis. This is an exempt position with a minimum pay of $86,976. Offers will be based on the successful candidate's experience.

Essential Functions

  • Directs the conservation science efforts supported and directed by Fresno Chaffee Zoo, including both local and global projects.
  • Oversees the Zoos Conservation Science budget, working with the Zoos Conservation Science Committee to strategically increase conservation impact worldwide.
  • Works with the Zoos animal care team to highlight, recognize, and prioritize ex-situ research opportunities that align with the Zoos conservation strategy.
  • Working with the Chief Mission Officer and Chief Veterinary Officer, directs, develops, and (when appropriate) publishes research related to conservation, sustainability, and animal care at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
  • Effectively communicates project and program results through professional organizations and scientific publications, staff training, presentations, and external media.
  • Works closely with external partners to advance conservation science, engage community stakeholders, and help cultivate the Zoos conservation brand.
  • Coordinates with government agencies, NGOs, universities, and colleges in planning and implementing conservation science, educational programs, and projects.
  • Works independently and with the Zoos development team to proactively identify funding opportunities, write grant proposals, and solicit funding from foundations, organizations, and government agencies to assist in financing programs and projects, research, and data collection.
  • Plans, facilitates, coordinates, and leads local field conservation efforts that engage staff and communities on behalf of Fresno Chaffee Zoo.
  • Oversees community groups, volunteers, and interns, helping them advance science knowledge and career goals while increasing the impact of our conservation efforts.
  • Updates and enhances knowledge by continuing education for professional growth; attends relevant conferences, seminars, and certification programs.
  • Engages in other duties as assigned to meet the goals and objectives of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.


Qualifications/Basic Job Requirements

  • Ph.D. preferred, but not required; Masters Degree in relevant discipline (biological science, environmental studies, ecology, conservation or combination of science and management

Education and Experience

  • Field work in biology, bio-science, botany/plant science, earth science, ecology, geology, geography and land management
  • Strong verbal and written English communications skills required. Bilingual (Spanish or Hmong) communication skills a plus.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite is required.
  • Strong planning, analytical and decision-making skills are required, with the ability to work in a dynamic, evolving organization.
  • Demonstrates motivational and problem-solving acumen.
  • Possesses the ability to articulate and inspire support for a vision of the future.

Management Accountabilities

  • Customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgement during the course of the work day. Actively demonstrates leadership through actions, reactions, decisions, and professional demeanor. Practices solution based problem solving and learns from mistakes. Works with the team to find solutions and asks for help when you need it.
  • Reports to meetings/activities fully present, prepared and punctual. Thoughtfully prioritizes needs in order to be respectful of each others time. Respond to emails and other communications in a timely manner. All written communication contains professional and proper language. Demonstrates follow through and is accountable for the management of the team.
  • Willingly engages the team/ Zoo staff and proves to be an inspirational leader. Actively create connections that encourage open and honest communication with all.
  • Remains accessible to the Zoo staff by cell phone. Uses professional courtesy and only call/texts on day off in the event of an emergency.
  • Provides regular performance feedback to reporting staff. Completes timely and appropriate written evaluations that highlight strengths and areas for improvement.

Physical Requirements

These are physical and mental requirements of the position as it is typically performed. Inability to meet one or more of these physical or mental requirements will not automatically disqualify a candidate or employee from the position. Upon request for a reasonable accommodation, the Zoo may be able to adjust or excuse one or more of these requirements, depending on the requirement, the essential functions to which it relates, and the proposed accommodation.


  • Close visual acuity to perform an activity such as preparing and analyzing data and figures, viewing a computer terminal, and extensive reading. Color perception is also required.
  • Ability to receive detailed information through oral communication (in person and via telephone), at normal speaking levels with or without correction.
  • Expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word. The employee must convey detailed or important spoken information to others in individual and small group settings.
  • Hand and finger dexterity sufficient for typing and other administrative tasks.
  • The employee is regularly required to lift and/or carry up to 10 pounds, and occasionally up to 25 pounds.


Work Environment

  • The position functions both indoors and outdoors, with potential exposure to heat, cold, and inclement weather.
  • Occasional local travel may be required.

How to Apply

Fresno Chaffee Zoo
894 W Belmont Ave
Fresno, CA 93728

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