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Zoo Keeper I (#MGAH04)
$32,712.00 Yearly Min / $40,890.00 Yearly Mid / $49,068.00 Yearly Max


Zoo Keeper II (#MGAH05)
$37,207.00 Yearly Min / $46,509.00 Yearly Mid / $55,811.00 Yearly Max


Assistant Zoo Manager (#MGAH06)
$42,320.00 Yearly Min / $52,900.00 Yearly Mid / $63,480.00 Yearly Max


Zoo Manager (#MGAH07)
$48,136.00 Yearly Min / $60,170.00 Yearly Mid / $72,204.00 Yearly Max


Zoo Director (#MGAH08)
$58,392.00 Yearly Min / $72,990.00 Yearly Mid / $87,588.00 Yearly Max




Description of Occupational Work

This class series uses five levels of work in the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Sciences occupational group, Agriculture and Animal Services occupational series and describes work in maintaining a zoo including the animals, exhibits, grounds and facilities in accordance with the standards set forth by an accrediting organization such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as stated in Delaware Code Title 3 section 3.0 definition of a ‘zoo’.  Incumbents in this class series have a working knowledge of and care for a broad variety of over 50 animal species.

Note: The career ladder incorporates the Zoo Keeper I and Zoo Keeper II; therefore, all positions allocated into the Zoo Keeper career ladder are classified at the II level (highest level in the career ladder).  The Zoo Keeper I level is to provide entry for hiring new employees into the class series but does not preclude hiring new employees at higher levels.  To implement the career ladder, current employees are assigned to the level for which they meet job requirements and promotional standards.  Employees may be promoted through the career ladder in accordance with promotional standards for those levels assigned to an agency.  The promotional standards, a selection document under separate cover, set forth the criteria that identify, measure and verify successful performance at each level.  Advancement of employees through the career ladder is dependent on an agency/department's operational needs and distribution of work.  

The Assistant Zoo Manager, Zoo Manager and Zoo Director, although not part of the career ladder, provides competitive opportunity for movement of employees.  

Essential Functions

Essential functions are fundamental, core functions common to all positions in the class series and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class.  Since class specifications are descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents can complete job duties of similar kind not specifically listed here.

  • Cares for, feeds and handles wild/exotic animals.

  • Performs work in compliance with Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. 

  • Observes the medical and behavioral condition of animals and reports conditions; and observes or assists with medical procedures.  

  • Administers medications orally and through subcutaneous and intramuscular injections.

  • Ensures clean and maintained animal exhibits. and facilities. 

  • Ensures appropriate grounds and equipment maintenance.

  • Responds to visitor questions and educates visitors about the care and handling of animals including keeper talks and other public education presentations. 

  • Ensures physical safety of zoo and guests.

  • Writes articles on animals for publications and social media.

  • Uses computer software and/or automated information systems to track animal behavior, diets, medical data and other information on animals.

  • Collects and shares animal management data, presents academic papers and maintains and compiles records and reports.

  • Performs special projects for the zoo.

Levels of Work

Zoo Keeper I

This is the entry level of zoo keeper work which includes feeding and providing for the general care and welfare of zoo animals, cleaning and maintaining exhibit enclosures and zoo facilities, maintaining gardens and grounds and ensuring habitat safety and security.  Employees at this level perform routine work in support of a zoo in compliance with all AZA, USDA and other state and federal laws, rules and regulations.

  • Reports to the Assistant Zoo Manager.  
  • Under close supervision performs the full range of Essential Functions.
  • Performs routine work while receiving formal and on-the-job training.
  • Prepares food according to prescribed diets, feeds animals and administers prescribed medications in accordance with protocol direction.
  • Cleans and performs routine maintenance on animal exhibits and facilities.
  • Performs grounds and equipment maintenance.
  • Informs superior about the needs of the animals and the zoo.
  • Participates in the development of management plans for zoo species. 
  • Complies with security and safety practices around wild animals for the protection of the public and animals and participates in capturing, restraining, and moving wild animals.
  • Operates motor vehicles and a variety of light and medium equipment.

Zoo Keeper II

This is the advanced level of zoo keeper work which includes leading and directing staff, interns and apprentices in feeding and providing for the general care and welfare of zoo animals, cleaning and maintaining exhibit enclosures and zoo facilities, maintaining gardens and grounds and ensuring habitat safety and security.  Employees at this level perform complex work in support of a zoo in compliance with all AZA, USDA and other state and federal laws, rules and regulations. 

  • Reports to the Assistant Zoo Manager or higher.
  • Provides training and technical expertise to staff and directs the activities of interns and apprentices.
  • Receives general supervision involving periodic review of work in progress and end results.
  • Independently assesses animal welfare and complex animal behavior and social interactions between animals in mixed species enclosures; reports changes/issues as appropriate.
  • Cares for and handles dangerous animals including large hoof-stock, medium to large cats, alligators, large raptors and venomous snakes.
  • Designs building and maintenance of exhibit habitats.
  • Inspects zoo grounds, exhibits and facilities to ensure adherence to safety standards and recommends action to correct unsafe conditions.
  • Leads and ensures the completion of special projects for the zoo.
  • Provides input to management on project planning and implements management plans/projects based on application of the modern zoological principles/practices and recommends modifications to plans/projects based on changes in animal and zoo conditions.
  • May act as Zoo Manager on duty and is responsible for animal and safety situations that may arise.

Assistant Zoo Manager 

This is the supervisory level of zoo keeper work which includes supervising staff in the feeding, general care and welfare of exhibit animals, exhibit enclosures, zoo facilities, grounds and equipment maintenance, and habitat and visitor safety and security.  Employees at this level assist with the daily management of a zoological collection, and assist with the management of a zoological park.  This includes participating in program planning, development, implementation, and evaluation.  This level of work ensures AZA and USDA standards are continually met or exceeded. 

  • Reports to a Zoo Manager and assumes full authority for all activities in the supervisor’s absence. 
  • Provides first-line supervision to professional, technical and support staff, as well as interns and apprentices.  Supervision is exercised over at least two or more merit full time positions per the Merit Rules. The elements of supervision include planning, assigning, reviewing, evaluating, coaching, training, recommending hire/fire and discipline.  
  • Plans, reviews, evaluates and manages the traveling zoo and animal care, and other zoo programs such as the animal nutrition program, and Behavioral Husbandry program.
  • Resolves escalated issues in animal care, behavior, welfare, safety and other situations that may arise; and informs superiors regarding animal health and welfare concerns.
  • Oversees exhibit/habitat design and implementation. 
  • Participates in collection planning and acquisition and disposition of animals.
  • Develops and oversees special projects.
  • Creates strategies to address animal health and welfare concerns. 
  • Advises animal keepers on best practices in animal husbandry. 
  • Represents the zoo to the general public and speaking programs and assists marketing and public relations teams with creating and supporting social media content, website design and publications.  
  • Represents the State of Delaware serving on national zoological committees for species or topics of concern.   

Zoo Manager 

This is the management level of a zoological collection and zoological park including program planning, development, implementation and evaluation.   Employees at this level develop performance measures that ensure AZA and USDA standards are continually met or exceeded.

  • Receives limited supervision from an on-site Zoo Director/Park Superintendent VI; assumes full authority for all activities in the supervisor’s absence.
  • Manages professional, technical and support staff through subordinate supervisors. 
  • Plans and coordinates operational goals and needs with the Zoo Director/Park Superintendent VI. 
  • Consults with colleagues, subordinates and contractors regarding the zoo collection, adhering to collection policies and procedures and complying with established protocols, professional standards, and governmental regulations and contracts. Monitors compliance of security, veterinary and concession personnel and negotiates correction of non-compliance. Alerts superior in the event of continued non-compliance. 
  • Leads various committees such as the Acquisition/Disposition Committee and the Zoo Safety Committee; and serves on planning and policy committees. 
  • Manages zoo revenue from concessions, gift shops, memberships, special events and other sources.   
  • Responsible for compliance with Federal and State permits. 
  • Responsible for contract management and procurement and inventory of supplies and materials. 
  • Works with the Zoo Director in evaluating and coordinating the zoological collection according to collection plans, developing policies and procedures, participating in exhibit, signage and facility planning, research and design, developing and monitoring operating and capital budgets, developing mid and long-range plans and assessing staffing needs.
  • Develops and implements an effective program for animal general care and welfare, maintaining exhibits including horticultural aspects, water systems, interpretative exhibits and signage, maintenance program for equipment, grounds and facilities and a record keeping system for the collection. 
  • Oversees revenue collection, recording and deposit. 

Zoo Director  

This is the administrative level of a zoological collection and zoological park including program planning, development, implementation and evaluation.  Employees at this level are accountable for performance measures of all operations that ensure AZA and USDA standards are continually met or exceeded.

  • Reports to the Park Superintendent VI. 
  • Administers professional, technical and support staff through subordinate managers. 
  • Manages a diverse program that requires the integration of the principles and practices of animal welfare, environmental education, recreation, marketing, business management, revenue collection and safety to ensure growth, development and efficient operation of the state zoological collection and zoological park. 
  • Manages education, programming, and day camp staff.
  • Works with park management to define needs and provide guidance in the development of plans and implementation methods for improving zoo facilities, resource protection, maintenance, visitor management, health/safety, education/interpretation and recreation. 
  • Coordinates with other state agencies, federal and local agencies to ensure visitor health and safety, ecologically correct management of natural resources and preservation of historic sites and cultural resources.
  • Point of Contact for Delaware Zoological Society board and leadership.
  • Drafts rules and regulations, policies and procedures in accordance with AZA, USDA, federal and state guidelines. 
  • Develops financial resources through revenue generation including fees, contracts with vendors and concessionaires, grants, donations and sponsorships. 
  • Serves on planning and policy committees. Serves as a non-voting member of the Zoological Society Board of Directors.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

The intent of the listed knowledge, skills and abilities is to give a general indication of the core requirements for all positions in the class series; therefore, the KSA’s listed are not exhaustive or necessarily inclusive of the requirements of every position in the class.
  • Knowledge of animal biology, behavior and caring, feeding and handling of wild animals of various taxa. 
  • Knowledge of applicable state and federal laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies and procedures, as well as accreditation standards.  
  • Knowledge of appropriate and safe practices around wild animals.
  • Knowledge of wild animal nutritional needs and feeding methods. 
  • Knowledge of operant conditioning strategies and methods.
  • Knowledge of interpretive skills for public speaking.
  • Knowledge of the safe operation and maintenance of motor vehicles, landscaping and grounds keeping equipment and hand tools.
  • Knowledge of basic methods and techniques used in the traditional building and mechanical trades.
  • Skill in following instruction and procedures both written and verbal.
  • Ability to ensure safety of zoo and guests. 
  • Ability to keep accurate and detailed records using computerized software.
  • Ability to effectively communicate both written and verbal.
  • Ability to use tools, equipment, chemicals and pesticides in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships.

In addition to the above knowledge, skills and abilities, the Zoo Keeper II requires:

  • Skill in assessing animal welfare and behavior.
  • Skill in caring for, feeding and handling wild animals of various taxa.
  • Skill in ensuring compliance with applicable state and federal laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies and procedures, as well as accreditation standards.
  • Skill in using automated information systems and computer software.
  • Ability to train staff.
  • Ability to design and maintain exhibit habitats.
  • Ability to respond appropriately to emergency situations.

In addition to the above knowledge, skills and abilities, the Assistant Zoo Manager requires: 

  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of supervision. 
  • Knowledge of project management.
  • Knowledge of contract management.
  • Skill in animal biology, behavior, nutrition and best practices in animal management in an accredited zoo setting.
  • Skill in animal welfare evaluations, standards and applications in a zoo setting.
  • Skill in behavioral husbandry relating to animal training and environmental enrichment.
  • Skill in animal nutrition and designing diet plans in conjunction with animal nutritionists and veterinarians
  • Skill in public speaking and interpretation. 
  • Ability to manage budgets in accordance with State of Delaware standards.
  • Ability to inventory and stock needed supplies for daily zoo operations.
  • Ability to effectively manage daily zoo operations in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Ability to think critically, plan and organize in order to meet goals and solve problems.
  • Ability to work with and communicate effectively to contractors including veterinarians. 

In addition to the above knowledge, skills and abilities, the Zoo Manager requires:

  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of park management and public recreation. 
  • Knowledge of policy and procedure development. 
  • Skill in staff supervision.
  • Skill in project management.
  • Skill in contract management.
  • Skill in making collection plan decisions.
  • Skill in managing budgets in accordance with state and federal fiscal policies and procedures.
  • Skill in critically thinking, planning and organizing in order to meet goals and solve problems.
  • Ability to lead committees.

In addition to the above knowledge, skills and abilities, the Zoo Director requires:

  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of program administration.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of financial administration. 
  • Knowledge of operations management which includes planning, directing, coordinating, and evaluating operations through supervisors.
  • Knowledge of the methods and techniques for revenue generation. 
  • Skill in program planning, development, implementation and evaluation. 
  • Skill in administering multiple, diverse programs and projects impacting statewide operations. 
  • Skill in the management of resources, operations and programs. 
  • Ability to plan, develop and implement various educational, interpretative, and natural resource management programs. 
  • Ability to identify and resolve conflicting priorities. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively with staff of state, local and federal agencies, and various elected/appointed officials.

Job Requirements

JOB REQUIREMENTS for Zoo Keeper II
Applicants must have education, training and/or experience demonstrating competence in each of the following areas:

  1. Possession of an Associate’s degree or higher in Biology, Zoology, Wildlife Management, Environmental Science, Zoo Animal Science or related field.
  2. One year of experience in caring for animals in an animal facility or zoo setting.
  3. One year of experience in record keeping.
  4. One year of experience in ensuring compliance with laws, rules, regulations, standards, policies or procedures.

CLASS:
MGAH04
EST:
7/5/2020
REV:

CLASS:
MGAH05
EST:
7/5/2020
REV:

CLASS:
MGAH06
EST:
7/5/2020
REV:

CLASS:
MGAH07
EST:
7/5/2020
REV:

CLASS:
MGAH08
EST:
7/5/2020
REV: