Supervisor - Zookeeper

Zoo, 2070 Zoo Ln, Abilene, Texas, United States of America Req #85
Friday, October 15, 2021


Under general supervision of the Zoo Curator to assist the Zoo Director, Veterinarian, and other personnel in the day-to-day operations of the zoo’s animal collection including overseeing the daily operation, care, and maintenance of the animal collection. 


Supervises full-time and part-time Zookeepers, seasonal employees, and oversees volunteers within animal areas. 


Supervise and train staff in all aspects of animal care including but not limited to feeding, cleaning, health care, enrichment and training of assigned area. Assists with hiring, disciplining, staff scheduling, and the professional development of staff. 

Manage all aspects of basic husbandry and breeding programs for a wide variety of animal taxa. Research, maintain and improve husbandry standards for the animal collection.  

Coordinate with maintenance and horticulture departments to design and maintain animal exhibits, landscaping, and horticulture needs in and outside of animal exhibits.  Ensure the maintenance of Zoo facilities and equipment.

Maintain inventory, order, and distribute supplies.  Identify, develop and submit yearly budget requests and Zoo Curator. Facilitate and coordinate deliveries.

Serve as a member of Emergency and Safety Committee (ESC), responding to emergency situations using proper animal restraint and animal capture techniques, as well as firearms training.

Observe and identify animal behavioral, welfare, and medical issues. Collaborate with zoo veterinarian to identify veterinary needs for assigned collection. Coordinate on health care, participate in medical procedures and necropsies, and administer medications to animals.

Assist in the development, planning and implementation of zoo policies and procedures for staff to assure compliance with USDA, AZA Accreditation and other professional standards and requirements.

Work in conjunction with the Zoo Curator to update and maintain records and reports.  Ensure that Zookeepers implement and record the training and enrichment for the collection animals accurately completing daily reports.  Review and evaluate dietary and environmental enrichment needs for collection based on health and natural histories.

Interact with and educate the general public about the animal collection and conservation, in a positive and professional manner.

Maintain proper recordkeeping for collection animals and information databases including ZIMS and other written and computerized formats.


Participate on AZA committees, as needed and as participation aligns to job related responsibilities.

Perform other job related duties and responsibilities as assigned.


Knowledge of:

AZA code of professional ethics. 

AZA programs, forms and information systems such as ZIMS.

USDA, state and federal laws concerning protected exotics and wildlife.

Principles of supervision and employee motivation.

Husbandry, maintenance, handling and treatment of captive animals including dietary and nutritional requirements, veterinary skills and behavior observation of Reptiles, both venomous and non-venomous, Amphibians, Invertebrates, Fish, Birds and Mammals.

Contemporary exhibit design and construction practices.

Zoonotic diseases and dangers of working with wild animals.

Operate conditioning practices for husbandry purposes.

Hand rearing practices for domestic and captive animals.

The regulations and safety rules established by the City of Abilene and Abilene Zoo.

Skill to:

Clearly and concisely relay information to staff and facilitate consistent communication to management. 

Collaborate with staff in a professional, motivating, and team-oriented manner.

Safely operate small tools and equipment including power tools, incubators, lawn mowers, and line trimmers.

Safely operate a vehicle. 

Perform carpentry and enclosure maintenance. 

Properly capture and restrain collection animals.

Strong observational skills.

Ability to:

Operate computers and use MS-Office programs including Word and Excel.

Multi-task, perform and complete duties in a timely, organized, and prioritized manner. 

Demonstrate leadership in all areas of animal management and staff development.

Self-motivated and perform tasks with limited oversight.

Drive safely and maintain a good driving record.

Understand and carry out verbal and written instructions.

Establish and maintain an effective rapport and communicate with all levels of management, employees, and zoo guests both orally and in writing. 

Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with those contacted in the course of work, both internally and externally.

Follow and embrace the City of Abilene Core Values – Respect, Integrity, Service Above Self, and Excellence in All We Do.

Lead and manage a team in a manner that accomplishes the Division’s mission and treats team members with dignity, courtesy, and respect.

Experience and Training Guidelines:

Any combination equivalent to experience and training to provide the required knowledge, skills, and abilities may be qualifying.  Knowledge, skills, and abilities may be obtained through:


Five (5) years of experience working in a zoological institution is required and preferably two (2) years of lead worker experience.


A Bachelor’s degree in a life science field is required or an equivalent combination of education, training, and/or experience.

License or Certificate:

A valid Texas driver’s license, the ability to obtain one within ten (10) days of employment, or a military waiver is required.

Special Requirements:

With or without accommodation, ability to lift up to 75 pounds.

Ability to sit, stand, walk, run, kneel, crouch, stoop, squat, crawl, and climb.

Must display sufficient field of vision and auditory acuity to be aware of animals or vehicles approaching from the rear. 

Exposure to cold, heat, outdoors, chemicals and ability to travel to different sites.

Ability to respond appropriately to emergency crisis situations.

Venomous reptile/Large Dangerous reptile handling experience in taxa such as Elapidae, Viperidae, Heloderma, Coloubridae (rearfanged) large Constrictors and Crocodylians.  

Training in proper venomous first aid and procedures required.

Must be able to work evening, holidays, and weekends.

Must have the ability to respond to emergency situations 24 hours/day, 7 days per week, and 365 days per year.

Attend AZA and professional development courses. 

Participation in USDA and AZA inspections and in professional organizations and/or conferences.

Must learn to operate fire arms as a member of the Zoo's Emergency and Safety Committee.

Other details

  • Pay Type Salary
  • Min Hiring Rate $44,749.00
  • Max Hiring Rate $54,115.00
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Location on Google Maps
  • Zoo, 2070 Zoo Ln, Abilene, Texas, United States of America