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Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa is a non-profit organization and home to more than 2,800 animals representing nearly 240 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, and is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The mission of the Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research and recreation.

Assistant Supervisor of Carnivores/Pinnipeds

It is an exciting time to work at the Blank Park Zoo as many projects are in the works.  A new Lion center with two exhibits, a renovated tiger center with three exhibits and new holding and life support system for Pinnipeds will be constructed over the next few years.
Current animals in area:(*represents current or future breeding group)
  • Amur Tiger*
  • African Lion*
  • California Sea Lion
  • Harbor Seal*
  • White-handed Gibbon
  • Ring-tailed Lemur
  • Magellanic Penguin*


To manage day-to-day operations of a specific area of the animal care department. Supervise personnel and assure adherence to established zoo protocols and practices. Focus on communication within and outside the department. 


The following duties are normal for this position.  These are not to be construed as exclusive or all inclusive.  Other duties may be required and assigned.

  • Assists with the supervision of all aspects of animal and exhibit care for species encompassed in the area.
  • Contributes ideas, knowledge and best practices when establishing animal care protocols, procedures and routines.
  • Collaborates with the Area Supervisors to accomplish the goals of the animal care department.
  • Assists with oversight of the animal care, training program, and enrichment protocols are followed by and satisfactorily completed by all animal keepers/seasonal staff/interns in their area of responsibility.
  • Communicates health concerns with the Area Supervisor and attends veterinary meetings as needed.
  • Provides feedback and observations in regard to staff development and training.
  • Ensures compliance with the Zoo’s Safety program including OSHA requirements, maintenance of safety equipment and MSDS binders.
  • Undertakes a leadership role on the zoo’s safety committee with a focus on animal safety and keeper safety.
  • Develops a safety checklist to be used in the Carnivore & Pinniped team as well as other animal care teams.
  • Develops an evaluation tool to regularly assess the exhibits including maintenance issues, aesthetics, and safety.
  • If appropriate, could act as Escape Coordinator and shoot team member.
  • Assists with the design and maintenance of landscapes in and outside of animal exhibits.
  • Provides input to animal keeper routines and makes adjustments as staffing levels demand.
  • Involved in professional networking, public relations, media contacts, public speaking and assistance in development and fundraising activities.
  • Fosters relationships with other zoo professionals, institutions, and organizations.
  • Other duties as assigned by Area Supervisor and Chief Animal Officer.


Direct reports: Animal keepers, seasonal/temporary keeper staff, interns, and volunteers.


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 essential functions.

  1. Previous work experience in animal-related field.
  2. Ability to handle a flexible workload with a variety of assignments.
  3. Must be able to operate independently, exercise initiative, and demonstrate a capacity for detail and follow-up.
  4. Must be able to maintain work hours that will serve the needs of the Foundation


Ability to communicate effectively with all ages of visitors and staff.


Ability to understand budgets, timelines, and staffing schedules  


Ability to understand and write employee evaluations, set priorities, use goal setting for self and staff, be able to collaborate and prioritize regular work and projects


All normal computer business skills required (Microsoft Office – Word/Excel/PowerPoint)


Ability to grow and advance staff, understanding of modern animal care standards especially as they relate to enrichment, animal restraint, diet preparation, safety, and behavioral management. The ability to research all applicable topics.


Iowa motor vehicle license


 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 essential functions.

Ability to bend, twist, lift >50 pounds, etc. to perform animal care, horticulture, and maintenance tasks.


Ability to function in all types of weather.

Experience Required

Completion of four years of college and two years of experience in zoological animal care OR any equivalent combination in which education and experience are interchangeable at the rate of one year of education for one year of experience. College degree and supervisory experience preferred.

Further Comments

Blank Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer and give employment and promotional consideration without regard to race, color, sex, religion, age, disability, disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, and any other protected class as required by local, state, or federal law.


We seek applicants for employment who are dedicated, hardworking and seek fulfilling employment. In return Blank Park Zoo offers competitive income, benefits, and an excellent working environment.

How to Apply

Please complete the Blank Park Zoo on-line application and attach a cover letter and resume.

Click here for online application.

Blank Park Zoo
7401 SW 9th St
Des Moines, IA 50315
Phone: 5152854722

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