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Animal Care Team Lead - Aquarium Team (Full Time) job in Kansas City at Kansas City Zoo

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Animal Care Team Lead - Aquarium Team (Full Time) at Kansas City Zoo

Animal Care Team Lead - Aquarium Team (Full Time)

Kansas City Zoo Kansas City, MO Full-Time


Animal Care




Animal Care Manager




The Animal Care Team Lead is responsible for assisting the Animal Care Manager with the overall management of the aquarium. This position is responsible for the daily care and welfare of animals within their area, as well as the guidance and direction of area staff members, ensuring the highest quality in animal care and care of team's holding, exhibits and visitor areas. This position requires extensive experience and knowledge, as well as strong leadership skills. The Animal Care Team Lead will assist with the day-to-day management of the team, including personnel management, creation and maintenance of area standard operating procedures, and overseeing the assigned area in the absence of the team's Animal Care Manager.

This position will be required to assist with the transport and acclimation of new animals that arrive at the facility. The Kansas City Zoo is currently constructing a new state of the art Aquarium, slated to open in the Fall of 2023. This new 60,000 square foot facility will follow the currents of the world, holding approximately 600,000 gallons of salt water, within 60 exhibits and holding systems.

SCUBA diving, water quality testing, environmental management, and life-support maintenance will be regular responsibilities of the Aquarium Team, in addition to normal animal husbandry duties.




Supports the daily care of team animals and oversight of exhibits and holding areas, including:

* Observing, logging, and reporting issues concerning animal behavior, health, and welfare.
* Meeting regularly with Aquarium team members, management, and veterinary staff.
* Performing daily husbandry activities, including feedings, exhibit cleaning and maintenance, medicating, training, enrichment, completing reports, etc.
* SCUBA dive to maintain exhibits, conduct animal moves/exams.
* Maintain detailed records on feeding, maintenance, welfare, and other husbandry related tasks.
* Keep back-of-house spaces and work areas well maintained.


Supports Animal Care Manager in the day-to-day management of team and performs various leadership duties, including:

* Provide coverage and support for other team members as assigned, with longer assignments possible in cases of vacation, leave or staffing changes.
* Assist with training of staff, volunteers, and interns in all areas of husbandry activities, cleaning, and maintenance to ensure they are appropriately supported toward the completion of their assigned tasks.
* Assisting with the creation of area standard operating procedures and various animal management plans, ensuring compliance with AZA and USDA guidelines.
* Overseeing area in absence of Animal Care Manager, with support of area curator.
* Eligible to participate in or serve as a representative for various AZA programs, after meeting AZA requirements.
* Eligible to apply for various SSP coordinator/studbook keeper positions.


Assists with, and travels for, animal shipments as assigned, including:

* Participating in inter-institutional training and communication regarding incoming or outgoing animals.
* Organizing necessary materials for long distance animal transports.
* Checking water quality parameters and providing the necessary care for animals in transit.
* Assisting with the loading and unloading of new animals from the transport vehicle.


Interacts with Zoo guests and the public, including:

* Performing various animal chats and animal shows, as well as assisting with special events related to dive program.
* Leading tours within area, as assigned.
* Representing the Zoo via media relations, upon completion of training with marketing staff.
* Engaging with daily visitors to answer questions about the Zoo and animals.


* This position may at times be requested to perform other duties or special projects as assigned, which are in the best interest of the Kansas City Zoo.


* Bachelor's degree in biology, animal science, zoology or related field strongly preferred.
* High school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate accepted with prior experience in similar position.

* At least 5 years of related Zoo or aquatic animal husbandry experience required.
* Extensive knowledge of aquatic animal husbandry, behavior and procedures for proper care and conditioning of exotic animals.
* Strong observational skills to recognize and evaluate conditions of animal health, diets, behavior and exhibit quality.
* Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office, preferred.
* Ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions, including procedures for care and maintenance of animals, exhibit, service and holding areas.
* Strong verbal and written communication skills.

* Must have valid driver's license.
* Must have or be able to obtain negative TB test.
* Must be currently certified as an open-water diver with a recognized dive certifying authority, with the ability to achieve Rescue Diver certification or equivalent. Significant exhibit diving experience is strongly preferred.
* Must be able to lift 50 pounds and have sufficient mobility to ensure a safe work environment.
* Must be able to stand for extended periods of time.
* Must be able to tolerate stress, endure high risk situations when feeding, transferring, or restraining animals, and make immediate decisions concerning the safety of animals, staff, or the public.
* Must be willing to work a flexible schedule, including weekends, holidays, and evening hours, in all weather extremes.
* Must pass a background and drug screening.

Recommended Skills

  • Biology
  • Communication
  • Environmental Management
  • Human Resources
  • Leadership
  • Life Support
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