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The Philadelphia Zoo

Animal Keeper - Primates and Small Mammals

Responsible for daily animal care, including but not limited to: cleaning of enclosures and other areas, preparing diets, feeding, inspecting and observing animals, maintaining exhibits, assisting with veterinary procedures, fabricating and delivering enrichment, assisting with animal training and guest experience programs, and record-keeping. Must be familiar with and able to work all areas within the team, with work assigned as determined by Animal Managers. Acquires and maintains functional knowledge about collection, Zoo policies and procedures, and facilities. Works in cooperation with Animal Managers, Lead Keepers and Assistant Keepers to achieve high-quality facility and operational standards. Interacts with guests routinely and through enhanced programs. Reports to Animal Managers.


1.Animal well-being

Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Cleans/disinfects animal enclosures and other animal-related areas in accordance with Zoo standards/policies and other identified standards of sanitation (e.g. USDA, AZA).

  2. Within and around exhibits and other animal enclosures, maintains plants and maintains furnishings/features such as but not limited to perches, rocks, logs, nest-boxes/dens, pools, moats, etc. through replacement, installation or cleaning.

  3. Prepares, distributes and records consumption of animal food in accordance with policies and procedures.

  4. Implements approved behavioral enrichment and behavioral management programs.

  5. Orders, receives, stores, moves and inventories food and other supplied related to the nutrition program.

  6. In areas where live food items are stocked, provides daily care and sanitary maintenance of colonies.

  7. Implements species-appropriate variation in presentation of diet in accordance with enrichment plans.

  8. Maintains physical environment of exhibits and other animal-related areas to meet animal physical and psychological needs.

  9. Assists in the capture, crating and transfer of animals and participates in shipping and receiving of specimens as needed.

  10. Conducts regular observation of animals for health and social and reproductive behavior.

  11. Works with venomous reptiles (Herp and Bird team).

  12. May make recommendations and provide input regarding design of Zoo exhibits and facilities and participate in installation/construction of exhibits and materials.


Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Implements and maintains treatment plans, quarantine and other preventive health programs, and zoonotic disease transmission prevention programs as prescribed by veterinary staff and animal managers.

  2. Acts as administrator of animal medications and ensures med sheets are in compliance.

  3. Assists in pest control.

  4. Identifies and removes toxic plants commonly found on Zoo grounds.

3.Guest experience

Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Prepares exhibits and buildings to meet established opening times. Reports deviations from standard schedule.

  2. Interacts routinely and positively with visitors and other Zoo constituents about the Zoo and animals in their care.

  3. Participates in Zoo-related education, membership and public programs including, but not limited to, facility tours, feeding demonstrations, keeper talks, etc.; may collaborate with curatorial and education staff to develop such programs.

  4. Uses information provided through memos, meetings, etc. to keep informed of zoo activities relevant to visitors.

4.Facility maintenance

Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Inspects exhibits and facilities, daily or per established procedures, and takes necessary action to assure that they are secure, clean, well-lit and properly heated and ventilated; promptly reports situations outside the control of keepers to Animal Managers.

  2. Maintains cleanliness and organization of indoor and outdoor storage areas and other areas adjacent to animal facilities, as assigned.

  3. Makes minor, routine and emergency repairs necessary to animal management and exhibition. For major repairs, completes necessary work orders.

  4. May act as temporary supervision of contractors and maintenance staff working within animal areas.

  5. Maintains working knowledge of life support and other equipment in facility.

  6. Assists in ordering, receiving, storing, moving and inventory of supplies related to the care and maintenance of the Zoo collection and facilities.


Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Maintains current knowledge of Zoo, departmental, and area policies and procedures relevant to daily activities and emergencies.

  2. Adheres to all safety protocols and area SOPs.

  3. Is responsible for security of animals and facilities; promptly reports potential safety hazards affecting animals or humans to the appropriate parties (e.g. Lead Keeper, curator, Maintenance, Security).

  4. Assists in emergency situations.

6.Record keeping/Communication

Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. As per established protocols, enters information relating to changes in the collection, significant behavior or behavioral changes, breeding, diet, fecal output and quality, veterinary care, etc. on daily keeper reports and in animal record.

  2. Completes other written materials as requested, including ADT forms, husbandry surveys, etc.

  3. Through daily logs and/or other established mechanisms, communicates additional information important to other keepers working in the same building/team.

  4. Provides information that may affect the health or well being of the animal collection to the appropriate supervisor, veterinarian, or nutritionist in an expedient manner.

  5. Maintains organization of and accessibility to records (animal, facility, maintenance).

7.Animal and related knowledge

Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. Continues to upgrade knowledge of animal species in assigned area(s), including natural history, husbandry, enrichment, and individual information, through use of on-site materials and formal and informal training programs and opportunities.

  2. May participate in career development opportunities and course work or continuing education programs.

  3. May assist in research programs as assigned. May initiate and implement research projects under direction of curatorial staff.


Job duties include but are not limited to:

  1. As appropriate to specific role and knowledge, provides training and instruction to apprentice keepers and others as assigned in all aspects of animal care and facility operation.

  2. Performs related work as assigned.



  1. One year experience with exotic animals in an AZA-accredited zoological park or equivalent plus a bachelor's degree in one of the life sciences. Additional appropriate experience will be considered as a substitute for a bachelor’s degree.

  2. Demonstrated knowledge of the exhibition and husbandry of exotic animals in the area. Demonstrated motivation and initiative in expanding knowledge of husbandry, exhibition and management of zoo specimens.

  3. Demonstrated knowledge of the hazards of working with zoo specimens and of safety precautions and security measures related to zoo specimens.

  4. Demonstrated interest in sharing information with visitors and other Zoo constituents on animal collection and the Zoo. Public speaking skills required.

  5. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective and productive working relationships with fellow workers.

  6. Ability to clearly and accurately present oral and written information.

  7. Competency in Microsoft Office suite and general computer proficiency.

  8. Ability to perform work in accordance with policies and procedures and to adapt to change.

  9. Ability to stay well informed about the Zoo, its regulations, policies, operations, history, etc.

  10. Ability to make, communicate and implement reasoned decisions as appropriate.

  11. Professional appearance and manner.

  12. Reptile keeper positions: must demonstrate competence working with venomous reptiles by completing the Philadelphia Zoo's Venomous Reptile Handling Training Program and by demonstrating knowledge of the written protocol established for venomous snakebite emergencies within 12 months after start date.


  1. Availability to work schedule as assigned, including weekends and before/after normal hours.




  1. Successful completion of a medical screening, drug test and Mantoux tuberculin test prior to beginning work.

  2. Capable of performing strenuous and/or heavy physical labor.

  3. Able to safely move and transport up to 50 pounds.

  4. Able to work from heights or in confined spaces.

  5. Ability to work outside in all weather conditions.

  6. Ability to work around plants and animals.

  7. Ability to receive a rabies vaccine and awareness of possible exposure to other infectious and parasitic diseases which may be present in the animal collection.

  8. Ability to remain in a stationary position for long periods of time.

  9. Ability to ascend, descend and work from stairs and ladders, move under low objects.

  10. Ability to use and handle hooks, tongs, catch poles, nets and other animal handling equipment.

  11. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.

  12. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate in person as well as through radios, phones and computers.

  13. Ability to drive Zoo vehicles.

  14. Able to deal with possible exposure to dust, potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species, and potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and hazardous chemicals and/or drugs. Use of protective clothing or equipment may be required for some tasks, including but not limited to, goggles, masks, gloves, braces, hats, gowns, boots, etc. Work in specific areas may require ability to use other protective gear (e.g. respirators).

  15. Have received or be willing to receive a complete Covid vaccination series OR able to obtain a medical or religious exemption.

We are fully committed to building a workplace that values differences. We strongly encourage all persons to apply, including people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

How to Apply

Interested applicants can apply directly on our website,

The Philadelphia Zoo
Philadelphia , PA 19104

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