Keeper - San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo - Escondido, CA 92027

San Diego Zoo Global is a conservation organization dedicated to the science of saving endangered species worldwide. San Diego Zoo Global operates three world-class facilities: the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Our organization’s vision - we will lead the fight against extinction.

Help us to make a difference for wildlife and begin your adventure with a career at the San Diego Zoo. Join the dedicated crew who are passionate about what they do and strive to create unforgettable experiences for our guests.


  • Commitment and top notch interpersonal skills to provide great customer service
  • Problem solving skills to identify practical solutions
  • Teamwork skills to work well with others and to be productive member of the team
  • Organizational skills to stay on top of the multitude of multitasking duties without difficulty
Requirements include:
Essential job functions for this position include the day-to-day management of animals in a team setting. Responsibilities to include following proper procedures around feeding, cleaning, training, enriching, observing, documentation, team communication, public interaction, and providing for the general welfare of a wide variety of species in the mammal department of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Specific work location and taxa will be determined based on candidate experience and area need.

Qualifications include: animal husbandry knowledge and background with direct experience working with animals in a zoological setting, a basic understanding of positive reinforcement operant conditioning and animal behavior, experience with common computer systems, and evidence of the ability to work in a team environment. Safety practices around wild animals and guest interactions/public presentations are necessary. Frequent requirements to move moderate to heavy objects and work on uneven terrain with exposure to varying weather conditions, dust, and allergens are components of the position. Selected candidate will also be required to move about on slippery surfaces, handle toxic and/or hazardous materials, and possible exposure to zoonotic diseases. May work from elevated positions and/or in confined or cramped spaces. A degree or equivalent experience in biology or a scientifically related field from a recognized institution and/or experience working in an accredited zoological facility is highly desired. Interested applicants must be available to work any days of the week and any daytime shift with ability to respond to overnight hours during emergencies. This is a full time, approximately 40 hours per week position. A good driving record and a valid driver license is required. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to apply.

One essential function for this position is the ability to drive a SDZ Global vehicle. If you are offered employment, you will be asked to authorize SDZ Global to access your current driving report through the DMV’s Employer Pull Notice Program. Your hiring for this position will be contingent on SDZ Global receiving an acceptable driving report for you. In addition, your continued employment in the position will depend on you maintaining an acceptable driving report from you. You may obtain a list of conditions that disqualify a person from driving an SDZ Global vehicle from a Human Resources Representative.

The Keeper performs all job assignments with a positive attitude that supports San Diego Zoo Global’s mission and vision of saving species worldwide by uniting our expertise in animal care and conservation science with our dedication to inspiring passion for nature and leading the fight against extinction. The Keeper, under general supervision, feeds and provides for the general care and welfare of assigned exhibit animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates or birds). This position reports to a Lead or Supervisor.

This class is distinguished from the Senior Keeper class in that the Keeper works under supervision. The Keeper performs a wide range of semi-routine functions at either the Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This class also consistently demonstrates the desire and ability to engage in positive relationships with internal and external customers.

  • Prepares food and water for exhibit animals
  • Loads and unloads food from trucks
  • Feeds exhibit animals
  • Administers prescribed medication and keeps feeding records
  • Observes assigned animals
  • Reports abnormal conditions to superiors
  • Cleans exhibit areas, pools, animal sleeping areas and service areas
  • Cleans and disinfects utensils, work tools and containers
  • Provides species-appropriate enrichment to assigned animals
  • Maintains appropriate health and behavior records on assigned animals
  • Responds to questions from the public concerning exhibits
  • Provides exhibit security
  • Participates in capturing, incapacitating and moving animals
  • Participates in and supports animal training programs
  • Assists medical staff in treating animals
  • Performs minor or routine maintenance on exhibit enclosures
  • Reports maintenance needs
  • Operates a variety of light and medium equipment
  • Adheres to all SDZG and department policies and practices
  • Practices the GRRREAT Customer Service Standards
Safety: Must be able to safely manage the daily care of non-domesticated wild animals representing multiple dangerous species. This requires the knowledge of and ability to follow SOPs in each animal area.

Attendance: Must be able to routinely work 40 hours per week – excluding periods of approved Annual Leave (AL). An example would be working 5 consecutive days and then off for 2 days. This can be any of the 7 days of the week including Holidays and late shifts year round.

Decision-making: Must have independent and critical thinking ability to respond appropriately to expected and unexpected animal care situations. Must be able to problem solve based on experience and observation and must be able to follow proper procedures.

Flexibility/Adaptability: Must be able to quickly process and respond to novel situations with professionalism and clear judgment. Must be able to accept irregular shift times, last minute schedule changes, variance in workload, and changing of daily tasks. Must be able to respond appropriately to the collection animals’ dynamic social and physical states. Must be able to work at variable locations (Zoo, Safari Park, field, ICR).

Professionalism: Employees are expected to abide by the SDZG Rules of Engagement. Must foster a positive work environment that promotes trust and integrity. Must be able to accept responsibility and be accountable. Must make decisions that support the goals of the organization.

  • Prepares food and water for exhibit animals by cutting, measuring portions and adding nutrient or supplements
  • Observes assigned animals closely with regard to general appearance, diet consumption levels, condition of fecal matter, etc.
  • Provides exhibit security and takes appropriate action to prevent vandalism or maltreatment of animals by the public
  • Provides care to neonates utilizing assisted rearing protocol
  • Cleans exhibit enclosures and contiguous areas which include raking, pulling, and pushing, etc.
  • Performs minor or routine maintenance on exhibit enclosures and reports other maintenance needs
  • May participate in either formal or informal presentations with guests including keeper talks, animal-feeding demonstrations, and behind the scenes tours
  • May maintain plant life within or around exhibit areas
  • May assist in installing, repairing and maintaining irrigation systems in exhibit areas
  • Operates light and medium equipment such as dump trucks, skiploaders, forklifts, water trucks and other vehicles
  • Operates dive gear and related equipment when required
Performs related duties and responsibilities as required.

Education, training and/or experience which would clearly demonstrate the essential functions, knowledge and skills outlined. Examples would be 12 to 16 college credit hours in zoology, animal biology or animal husbandry; or, one to two years of work experience in a Zoo or similar environment where appropriate knowledge and skills in animal care could be acquired; may also be required to meet the minimum physical and medical conditions of the commercial dive program, includes swimming; valid California driver license.

Knowledge of:
  • Animal behavior
  • Animal biology and zoology
  • Care, feeding and handling of wild animals
  • Safety practices around wild animals
  • Techniques for restraining or capturing wild animals
  • Public Speaking
Ability to:
  • Respond to cautions from co-workers
  • Monitor animal behavior and appearance
  • Operate motorized equipment and vehicles
  • Use computer programs (Word processing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint, and Internet)
  • Communicate and work effectively with others
  • Work in a diverse team environment and motivate others
  • Multi-task and prioritize
  • Understand and follow directions effectively
  • Deal tactfully and courteously with others
  • Adhere to the organization’s policies, procedures and regulations
  • Competently perform the essential functions outlined above
Frequent exposure to close contact with a wide variety of exhibit animals, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates or birds; work in uneven terrain with exposure to varying weather conditions, dust, and allergens; move about on slippery surfaces; handle toxic and/or hazardous materials; and work in confined or cramped spaces.

Must be able to safely lift 50 pounds and push, pull 100 pounds. Must be able to perform repetitive tasks on a daily basis. Examples include moving metal doors using a cable and pulley system, lifting crates, carrying heavy buckets, cutting produce. Must be able to safely work on uneven surfaces and substrates including stairs and hills. Must be able to work from ladders and occasionally harnesses; may also be required to meet the minimum physical and medical conditions to be able to participate in a commercial dive program, to include swimming, SCUBA, tank filling operations exposure to cold.

Location: Collections Husbandry Science - Mammals - San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Duration: - Year round
Positions available: 2
(Union position) Starting hourly wage: $22.87

  • If selected for hire, this position requires an initiation fee and monthly dues to be paid to the union
Deadline to submit application: Thursday, August 22, 2019



All New Hires are subject to passing a drug screen and some employment is contingent upon passing pre-placement testing.

Are you ready to start your adventure and put your Passion for Wildlife to work?
Attention - In the recruitment process, legitimate companies never withdraw fees from candidates. If there are companies that attract interview fees, tests, ticket reservations, etc. it is better to avoid it because there are indications of fraud. If you see something suspicious please contact us: [email protected]
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