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Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo

Senior Elephant Keeper

This is a Senior level position in the Animal Care, Conservation and Research Department. This position is a leadership position with the Elephant Barn team responsible for the daily management of 1.3 African elephants. A Senior Animal Keeper must be an experienced keeper in the field with experience in the areas of animal care/management and supervision of paid staff and unpaid volunteers/interns. Work ranges from the physical tasks associated with feeding and maintenance of the animals’ living areas to more analytical tasks of planning, record keeping and communication. The Senior Animal Keeper is expected to have or develop the appropriate level of knowledge of the natural history and captive wildlife management under their care to insure the best possible physical and psychological well-being of the animals in his/her care. The Senior Animal Keeper is expected to be able to use the tools of animal observation, enrichment, training and other management methods to ensure the best possible psychological well-being of the animals in their care. S/he is expected to help implement Department/Zoo priorities as well as demonstrate the initiative and expertise to regularly find ways to make improvements, which may include Departmental administrative tasks. S/he is expected to guide and support junior staff and volunteers as appropriate. The Senior Animal Keeper takes direction from the Elephant Managers and Department Director regarding daily operations as appropriate. S/he must also be able to represent the Zoo in a variety of public settings including press interviews, instructional classes, behind the scenes tours, and casual communication with Zoo guests. The Senior Keeper is expected to be active as a department leader and can be expected to cover department function and emergency response coordination in the absence of the Manager or Department Director.  Other string duties and special projects can be assigned as needed.

Experience Required

1. At least 3 years full time paid experience in the care of captive wildlife in the zoo field, large mammal/elephant experience strongly preferred. Please specify on resume volunteer hours vs. paid hours. 2. Experience in a leadership and/or management role both with paid staff and unpaid volunteers/interns 3. Good physical condition; able to lift a minimum of 50 lbs. (i.e. feed sack) and move a minimum of 120lbs.(i.e. hay bale) 4. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record 5. Willingness to work outside normal business hours including weekends and holidays 6. Good written and verbal communications skills 7. Knowledge of the habits and hazards of working with wild animals; willingness to work with some physical risk while observing proper safety precautions EXPERIENCE AND QUALITIES PREFERRED 1. Experience caring for elephants in a captive environment and a strong knowledge of elephant natural history 2. Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology or a related field 3. Extensive knowledge and experience in behavioral training theory and practical application


Comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, life insurance and 403B retirement benefits; two weeks of vacation and ten paid holidays annually


SALARY AND BENEFITS: $18.86/hour, commensurate with experience.

How to Apply

Submit resume, 3 professional references, including one from a supervisor, and cover letter accepted via email only Send to: Gina Kinzley Co-Elephant Manager Email:

Oakland Zoo
9777 Golf Links Rd, PO Box 5238 Oakland
Oakland, CA 94605
Phone: 5106329525

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