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Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium of Metro Parks Tacoma

Staff Biologist- Asian Forest Sanctuary

Apply by 10/16/2022 at

Metro Parks Tacoma (MPT) is a CAPRA-accredited and AZA-accredited, independent park district that leads efforts to build a healthy, sustainable community.  Metro Parks Tacoma is located in Tacoma, Washington. The system is comprised of many different park facilities that offer residents a variety of recreational opportunities. From waterfront access to local neighborhood parks to large regional facilities and attractions, the MPT system is both a local community asset and regional destination.
These eight core values will guide future decisions, business and operations, and the manner in which MPT treats staff, customers and the community:
 •Innovation    •Excellence     •Equity    •Inclusiveness    •Sustainability   •Accountability  •Safety  •Fun

Under the direction of a General or assigned Curator and the assigned  Assistant Curator, perform a variety of skilled duties involved in the care, observation, maintenance, propagation and management of assigned animal species and the presentation of such species to the general public in an educational and attractive manner.

The Staff Biologist performs a variety of specialized work including behavioral enrichment training and observation, animal health care, documentation of behavior and activity and related duties involved in providing overall care to an assigned animal group at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.

In the performance of their respective tasks and duties all employees are expected to conform to the following:

  • Perform quality work within deadlines with or without direct supervision.
  • Interact professionally with other employees, customers and suppliers.
  • Work effectively as a team contributor on all assignments.
  • Work independently while understanding the necessity for communicating and coordinating work efforts with other employees and organizations.
  • Observe applicable safety requirements, use safety equipment provided, implement appropriate safety practices at all times and report immediately any unsafe working conditions or hazards.

Observe animal species on assigned schedule to determine physical and behavioral health and well being; check animals for abnormalities and report condition to appropriate Curator or veterinarian.  Provide behavioral training as appropriate and directed for animals assigned to incumbent's care.

Clean animal exhibits and holding areas to assure the health of animals and the presentation of the species in an attractive environment; remove animal fecal and other material on a regular basis.

Prepare, store and distribute food according to established amounts, types and diets; monitor feeding habits and report any changes or abnormalities; monitor food levels to assure sufficient quantities.  Prepare and administer medications, food supplements and vitamins.

Perform routine maintenance and minor repair of animal exhibits and related systems; prepare new exhibits and input regarding exhibit design and renovation to facilitate cleaning, enhance viewing and improve living conditions for the animals.

Provide appropriate enrichment to animals in assigned areas of responsibility.

Communicate with the public regarding animals and related matters; answer questions and assure proper presentation of animals in various formats.

Maintain records and reports regarding assigned species including animal condition reports; conduct research regarding animal species as needed; prepare daily reports, health reports and other reports specific to the assigned area.

Maintain water quality to keep aquatic animals in a healthy condition as assigned

Perform behavioral observations; patrol assigned areas of the Zoo or Trek and visually check on animals; perform or arrange for corrective action if problems arise.

Move and remove animal species to different areas or exhibits as determined by proper care, feeding and safety methods.

Provide work direction and assist in training volunteers and part-time animal care personnel as assigned; attend staff meetings, educational conferences and seminars as needed.

Communicate with the General Curator, assigned Curator and Assistant Curator regarding needed supplies, problems regarding exhibits, animal health or public safety issues or concerns.  Communicate with veterinarians regarding animal health matters; provide assistance in catching or restraining animals in accordance with established safety procedures to administer health care.

Provide input regarding the collecting, purchase, transfer, propagation or trading of animal species as needed.  Conduct and/or participate in conservation programs to assist in the propagation, education, enforcement and other activities related to long-term conservation of assigned species.

Assure the safety of animals, employees and the visiting public from injury or mishap.

Other duties as required.

**Please note: The Asian Forest Sanctuary staff are NOT responsible for the care of the elephant or clouded leopards.

Three years of experience involving the care and husbandry of animals in a zoo, aquarium, theme park or related environment, preferably in an AZA accredited facility, required. Bachelor's degree in biology, zoology or related field preferred.  Equivalent education and experience including related volunteer and intern experience considered.

• Valid Washington driver's license.
• Obtain a valid First Aid and CPR Card within the probationary period.
• Obtain and maintain a valid scuba diving certification when assigned to the aquarium.


This position is a represented position with the International Union of Operating Engineers.   

40 hours per week and may include weekends and holidays.

Indoor and outdoor environment.
Adverse weather conditions.
Cold water while interacting with mammals.

Lifting and carrying heavy objects or animals weighing up to 50 pounds.
Pushing.  Climbing. Walking.
Kneeling and crouching to work with and feed animals.
Dexterity of hands and fingers to operate specialized equipment and tools.

Exposure to potentially dangerous and sick animals.
Exposure to animal fecal matter.
Chemicals, fumes, odors, poor ventilation and noise.
Contact with dissatisfied visitors.

• Principles of animal husbandry including animal behavior, care, maintenance and management.
• Animal species natural history and biology.
• Applicable local, State, federal and AZA regulations.
• Scientific research methods.
• Safe and proper handling of animals.
• Requirements of maintaining exhibits in a safe, clean and orderly condition.
• Proper methods of storing equipment, materials and supplies.
• AZA Conservation and Science programs.
• Operant conditioning techniques.

• Work in close contact with potentially dangerous animals.
• Operate and maintain a variety of related tools, equipment and machinery.
• Provide work direction to others as assigned.
• Observe animals for physical and behavioral health.
• Perform various animal husbandry duties for assigned species including cleaning, feeding, collection, maintenance and management of animals.
• Perform work to assure the safety of animals, employees and the visiting public.
• Interpret rules and regulations.
• Perform emergency first aid and CPR as needed and according to established guidelines.
• Communicate clearly verbally and in writing.
• Assess and evaluate situations effectively.
• Exert optimal effort in successfully completing tasks.
• Take initiative with minimal supervision.
• Extract and record data and carry out calculations accurately.
• Set up and operate equipment that can require selection from options or different settings.
• Manage time efficiently and effectively through scheduling and prioritizing.
• Work within and contribute to the effectiveness of a team, respecting differences.
• Report for work regularly and on time.

All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability or any other merit factor. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.
MPT employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
MPT is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource (253) 305-1089 or
 Employment is subject to a national background check.


Experience Required

Three years of experience involving the care and husbandry of animals in a zoo, aquarium, theme park or related environment, preferably in an AZA accredited facility, required. Bachelor's degree in biology, zoology or related field preferred. Equivalent education and experience including related volunteer and intern experience considered.


$23.38 - $32.38 Hourly

How to Apply

Apply at

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium of Metro Parks Tacoma
Tacoma, WA

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