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San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Animal Keeper-Regular, Full Time -Hoofstock

This position is subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

The San Francisco Zoological Society (“Society”) is a non-profit institution that manages and raises funds for San Francisco Zoo and Gardens (“Zoo”).  The Society’s mission, supra, is summarized as the 3 c’s: to connect our visitors with wildlife so that they care about nature and ultimately conserve it.  The Society’s leadership team is comprised of a President & Executive Director as well as a professional team of Senior Managers. The Society endeavors to meet or exceed the standards of its industry peers, including those established by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (“AZA”). For over 25 years, the Society has been continuously accredited by the AZA.

SUMMARY: The Society believes its mission is best achieved by caring for animals at the Zoo.  To that end, the Society employs animal care professionals, including but not limited to veterinary staff, animal behaviorists, animal managers and curators, nutritionists, scientists and animal care givers. The latter is referred to as an “Animal Keeper,” and under general supervision by Zoo management, an Animal Keeper has responsibility for the care, welfare and safety of an animal(s) and the animal’s habitat or exhibit. In addition, an Animal Keeper is expected to further the Society’s mission of the 3 c’s by providing information to the Zoo visitor. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES: Specifically, an Animal Keeper “performs all aspects of animal care including upkeep of exhibits and adjacent areas, minor and emergency repairs to exhibits, designing and building displays and exhibit changes, conducting tours, public speaking, coordinating volunteers. “ See Agreement between the Society and Teamsters Local 856 for the period of January 1, 2021-December 31, 2022.

To provide better clarity to the above language, the following duties and responsibilities are included:

  1. Cleans and maintains enclosures, cages, stalls, moats, barns, pools, yards, roads and related areas; removes animal excrement and food remnants; rakes sand and leaves; sweeps and hoses down area as necessary.
  2. Observes behavior of animals on both a day-to-day and long-term basis; notes any unusual behavior, signs of illness or injury, change in appetite, start of breeding cycle, or lack of compatibility with group members and reports same to his or her supervisor. If the supervisor is not available, observations may be reported to other members of animal management team or the animal hospital. At times, the Animal Keeper may need to assist in administering medication or other treatments for illness or injury as directed.
  3. Answers questions or gives information regarding animals, Zoo operations, and Zoo exhibits to the visiting public; observes the public to prevent malicious acts, which could result in harm to the public, or Zoo animals or loss of Zoo property.  At times, an Animal Keeper may need to maintain crowd control when animals are loose or being moved.
  4. Assists in the crating and uncrating of animals; catches and restrains as necessary; and may assist in transfer between locations.
  5. Designs and builds displays within existing enclosures; assists with the planning and care of landscaped areas within or near enclosures; makes minor and emergency repairs to Zoo equipment and facilities; assists maintenance personnel in repair or maintenance work.
  6. Interacts with Zoo visitors and staff courteously and offers proper attention at all times.
  7. Drives vehicles on or off Zoo grounds, particularly in the instance of care of animals off Zoo grounds, transporting animals to or from another locale, and in emergency situations.
  8. Possesses knowledge of an animal’s dietary needs as well as facilitates an animal’s consumption of food developed by other zoo departments. May need to occasionally assist with food preparation, especially near or at animal exhibit. Maintains food storage at or near an animal exhibit in a manner consistent with state, local, federal and AZA requirements.
  9. Collaborates with other Zoo departments to maintain the highest level of animal care and, to that end, may occasionally need to attend training sessions hosted by other Zoo departments.
  10. May need to engage in other duties related to the care of a Zoo animal as directed by Zoo management.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:  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. 

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS:  The Society encourages bilingual candidates to apply.

EDUCATION: High school diploma or general education degree (GED).

EXPERIENCE: One-year paid experience working with ranch, farm, or exotic animals. A degree from an institution offering specialized animal management programs with a hands-on component or an internship working with animals may meet this qualification.  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.  Ability to work in a team environment and be a team player.  Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form. For certain species or dangerous animals, special and/or additional requirements may be necessary for the safety of employee, animal and/or member of the public.


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. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand and walk.  The employee frequently is required to reach with hands and arms and talk or hear.  The employee is occasionally required to climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.  The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 80 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. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to outside weather conditions.  The employee is occasionally exposed to moving mechanical parts.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently exposed to potentially hazardous animals. May involve exposure to possible serious accidents or injury and to very disagreeable working conditions in handling dangerous or sick animals or raw sewage and other refuse.

Bilingual candidates are encouraged to apply.  EOE.

ApplicationPlease apply via our web site at:

Please attach a cover letter with your resume.








How to Apply

Please apply via our web site at:

Please attach a cover letter with your resume.

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
1 Zoo Rd.
San Francisco, CA 94132

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