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Houston Zoo

Zookeeper, Primates

Our Purpose: The Houston Zoo connects communities with animals, inspiring action to save wildlife. We take pride in supporting efforts that save wildlife from extinction by working to implement comprehensive conservation strategies and developing partnerships to increase knowledge and support in communities. The Houston Zoo focuses on saving wildlife through reducing threats that face species in the wild. This includes action to reduce plastic pollution and paper use, promote sustainable seafood and sustainable palm oil, recycle electronics, and address pollinator decline. We also protect the counterparts of zoo animals, like lions, sharks, cranes and toads in the wild through partnerships with other global wildlife-saving organizations. Every member of our staff makes this possible by ensuring extraordinary animal care and guaranteeing the zoo’s operations contribute to protecting animals in the wild. Our staff strengthens the zoo, making it possible to protect 20% of the lion population in Africa, save sea turtles through the elimination of plastic bottle sales, among other wildlife successes. By joining the Houston Zoo team, you save animals in the wild!

This position is ideal for an experience Primates Zookeeper that has working experience being responsible at supporting the day-to-day operations associated with the husbandry of the animals and the maintenance of animal exhibits within the specified area.


  • Carries out all aspects of the daily care of assigned animals including cleaning, feeding, exhibit maintenance, general upkeep of support facilities.
  • Maintains clean and organized exhibits, equipment, and keeper areas.
  • Maintains water quality through filtration, balance of chemical elements, and sanitation methods for aquatic or semi-aquatic animal species.
  • Maintains live exhibit plantings to enhance exhibit aesthetics and provide a comfortable environment for animals; eliminates weeds and toxic plants from animal enclosures.
  • In conjunction with the Zoo’s pest control officer, may assist in pest control through the use of exclusion or traps.
  • Prepares and feeds appropriate diets as per established feeding practices and diet sheets.
  • Administers prescribed medications, supplements, or treatments under the guidance of the veterinary and supervisory staff.
  • Records and reports any abnormal animal health or behavioral issues to the supervisor.
  • Maintains daily reports, logs, research or veterinary records, as appropriate and according to established guidelines; requires basic skills with Microsoft Office software applications.
  • Understands and applies a practical understanding of operant conditioning as it relates to the daily management of species under his/her care.
  • Understands and applies the basic principles of animal enrichment as part of the daily management of species under his/her care.
  • Identifies any potential maintenance or safety issues and reports them to the supervisor.
  • Participates in keeper chats, tours, animal presentations or demonstrations, and/or other public interactions as requested by the Supervisor.
  • Assists with department research projects as directed by the supervisor or curator and provides support to other Zoo projects as needed.
  • May oversee work activities and/or provide training for interns, seasonal workers, or volunteers.
  • May participate in conservation, AZA, or other industry activities as approved by the supervisor.
  • Exhibits good teamwork and communication skills both within the home team and when working with other teams or departments.
  • May be required to safely operate a motor vehicle.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Two-year or four-year degree in one of the natural sciences or a closely related discipline is preferred.


  • A certificate of completion from an acceptable animal care program of not less than 30 semester hours is preferred.

SUPERVISION:  This position does not directly supervise any zoo staff but may serve as a lead person for special projects or for interns or volunteers, as assigned by the supervisor.

PHYSICAL EFFORT:  This position involves considerable physical exertion such as climbing, reaching, assuming awkward positions, and lifting and/or moving of heavy objects (up to 50 pounds) on a regular basis.

WORK ENVIRONMENT:  There are routine exposures to heat, humidity, insects, cold, inclement weather, and air pollution.  The position may involve exposure to chemical substances used as cleaning agents, exposure to animals and disease organisms, and physical trauma of a minor nature.  The work schedule for this position may include week-ends and holidays.  Annual tuberculosis testing and vaccination for rabies or other zoonotic diseases may be required.

PHYSICAL SKILL:  This position requires the ability to make closely coordinated hand/eye movements within fine tolerances; the ability to make rapid closely coordinated hand/eye movements on a patterned response space within fine tolerances; the ability to make coordinated hand/eye movements within fine tolerances with large equipment as an extension of the worker.

PUBLIC CONTACT:  This position requires regular contact with guests and a strong appreciation for customer service as a basic responsibility of this role.


The Houston Zoo is made up of many moving parts with over 6,000 permanent residents (our animals) for whom we provide housing, meals, medical care and, yes, even education! There are over 2 million guests each year who come to experience our incredible variety of animals and ecosystems, as well as attend special private and public events and entertainment. Our dedicated staff works around the clock to ensure that the Zoo is always running smoothly for the safety and well-being of our residents and guests. We strive to ensure the protection of all the counterparts of the animals we have at the Zoo and in the wild.

Join the Houston Zoo and become a part of an organization that is focused on the preservation of wildlife and their habitats by combining conservation with education and promotion of sustainable livelihoods in the local communities.  

Experience Required

 One year of experience in animal care in a zoo setting or under the direction of a licensed veterinarian is required, which may be gained through internships, volunteer experience, or employment.  Extensive domestic animal experience may qualify for substitution for exotic animal management experience.  Specific training and work experience in other settings, such as aquaculture, schools, nature centers, agricultural operations, or conservation centers may be considered on a case-by-case basis as fulfillment for the experience requirements.  Starting salary will be a function of the levels of experience and relevant post-high school education.

Further Comments

Houston Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer

How to Apply E-mail resume and completed application to

Houston Zoo
Houston, TX 77030

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