Zoological Manager of Canivores and Large Mammals

Chicago, IL
Full Time


Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at lpzoo.org


Under general supervision, coordinates daily operations of the Regenstein African Journey, Pepper Family Wildlife Center, Walter Family Arctic Tundra, and Farm-in-the-Zoo including supervising keeper staff.



  • Supervises keeper staff that is responsible for all aspects of animal care including but not limited to all cleaning, feeding, watering, observing, record keeping, and maintaining exhibits. 
  • Oversee and maintains animal exhibits including use of chemical agents and special tools which are used to assure the health and safety of the animals as well as the proper presentation of the public.
  • Able to perform animal keeping duties extending to all animal husbandry and exhibit maintenance functions if necessary. Includes observing and reporting abnormal behavior, dispensation of drugs and treatments prescribed by authorized veterinarian. 
  • Manages area personnel including but not limited to work assignments, schedules and coordination of staffing levels.  Prepares and tracks timekeeping and other related reports.  Works with appropriate staff in preparation of performance evaluations of area personnel.  Implements and oversees training of area personnel. Participates in selection and interview process of candidates for temporary, animal keeper, assistant lead, and lead keeper.
  • Promotes a positive work environment through words and actions.  Works closely with staff to encourage participation in discussions and meetings, ensuring staff understand the rationale for decisions.
  • Assists curator, participates in or facilitates science-based assessment strategies to evaluate and enhance welfare of department animals; utilizing endocrine, psychological, behavioral and physical indicators to respond to individual animals’ needs.
  • Assists curator in animal welfare monitoring and enhancement, working closely with the Animal Welfare Science staff.
  • Assists curator in development of annual operating plan and implements plan.
  • Provides departmental oversight of electronic records, monthly reports, and assists with the development and review of protocols and policies.
  • Responsible for conforming to all zoo, local, state, federal, foreign, and international laws/guidelines regarding acquisition, maintenance, health, shipment and welfare of the animals. Ensures compliance with AZA accreditation standards and USDA AWA.
  • Advances mission of the zoo through participation in and coordinating conservation, research, and education programs -- serving as departmental liaison with on-grounds education programs, assisting curator with ongoing in situ and ex situ conservation initiatives, facilitating non-invasive research involving the zoo species, coordinating tours, preparing and presenting training programs for assigned staff and volunteers.
  • Makes recommendations regarding animal husbandry and management changes/modifications including diet changes, habitat redesign, and operational efficiencies. Serves as a departmental liaison between veterinary, nutrition, and facilities departments and keeper staff.
  • Oversees the general maintenance and ongoing furnishing, modifying and upgrading of existing or planned exhibits as appropriate.  Assists in exhibit design and renovations.
  • Oversees handling and transport of animals, and assists veterinary staff in medical procedures as needed.
  • Maintains detailed records on animal behavior, physical condition, reproduction, genealogy, facility condition and prepares comprehensive reports for departmental animal management staff, etc. Maintains animal inventory and initiates TRACKS records and specimen report entries.
  • May assume leadership role in executing the zoo's established animal escape procedures.  Responds to emergencies, takes control of the situation and sees it through to conclusion.
  • May be trained in the use of all the zoo's emergency equipment including but not limited to firearms, dart gun, blow gun, and anesthetic agents.
  • Oversees adherence to departmental and institutional policies and procedures -- enforces and assists with updates of established animal handling and related safety guidelines, including extensive non-human primate personal protective equipment (PPE) and large carnivore protocols.
  • Works with supervisor to update all departmental documents including, but not limited to, species plan and policies and procedures for the department.  With minimal oversight, assists curator in managing department budget, including purchase order requests.
  • Participates in AZA programs (such as population management) and other related professional organizations.
  • Manages the department’s enrichment and operant conditioning programs in collaboration with the curator and Behavioral Husbandry and Enrichment Manager. Assists in goal setting for these programs, the safety review process for individual animal training and enrichment plans, and provides routine oversight of keeper staff to ensure behavioral husbandry programmatic goals are achieved in a timely and safe manner.
  • Assists curator with the organization and facilitation of all approved non-invasive research projects with keeper staff and in collaboration with on-grounds research staff, as well as external project investigators approved by the zoo’s Research Committee.  Oversees adherence to safety and communication policies for all research initiatives.   Research projects may include Zoo Monitor behavioral data collection and biological sample collection.



  • May substitute for supervisor in his/her absence
  • May serve on the Safety Committee or other zoo committees
  • May attend regional/national or international conferences
    • May be called on to represent the zoo to external donor, community, scientific, and government groups
    • Other duties as assigned to maintain efficient and quality zoo operations.




  • Ability to remain motivated with a high degree of autonomy, while providing clear leadership direction to the department, the collection, and personnel
  • Strong interpersonal skills which foster a team approach to management. 
  • Comprehensive knowledge of animal behavior and natural history; common environmental enrichment and animal training practices; biology and related subjects
  • Comprehensive knowledge of animal behavior as an indication of general health, reproductive potential and well being
  • Knowledge of occupational hazards involved and the safe work practices to employ while in proximity of potentially dangerous animals
  • Comprehensive knowledge of materials, methods, tools and equipment used in cleaning operations
  • Highly developed skill in making thorough observations and documenting observations
  • Ability to keep comprehensive and accurate records according to established procedures
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, ability to both give and follow oral and written directions effectively 
  • Ability to organize tasks and time to ensure timely completion of all projects
  • Demonstrated good judgment
  • Ability to work in any of the assigned animal areas fulfilling all requirements of the title  
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in analyzing animal behavior problems or emergency situations, and to respond with appropriate action
  • Ability to work with and be comfortable around potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species
  • Ability to work with potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and toxic chemicals and/or drugs
  • Ability to interact courteously, respectfully and productively with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, zoo visitors and general public
  • Computer competencies in Microsoft (Outlook, Word, Excel, Sharepoint, etc.) 
  • Ability to multi-task and work in a fast-paced environment; balancing meetings, emails, and supervisory work, while maintaining a strong pulse on the daily operations of the keeper staff.



A Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences or a closely related discipline is required.  An advanced degree in Biological Sciences or closely related discipline is preferred.




Successful candidates likely to have 3- 5 years’ experience in department species taxa in a zoo setting; at least 1-2 years’ experience in a supervisory position; and proficiencies in operant conditioning training using positive reinforcement, enrichment strategies, and applied behavioral research.


Note: A comparable combination of education, experience or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skills and ability required may qualify individuals.               




  • Ability to remain on feet for long periods of time
  • Ability to regularly perform a variety of physical tasks that include but are not limited to climbing, bending, stooping, kneeling, twisting, reaching, crawling
  • Physical strength, including ability to frequently move up to fifty (50) pounds
  • Ability to work in small, confined spaces
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions
  • Ability to wear requisite Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that may include rubber/latex gloves, steel-toed boots/shoes, Tyvek suits, face shields, eye goggles, etc.
  • No allergy related to plants or animals that may interfere with the ability to work
  • No impairment of sight, smell, hearing, touch balance and ability of movement that might interfere with ability to work
  • Ability to maintain immune response to exposure to infectious and parasitic diseases
  • Risk exposure to fairly predictable and controllable hazards associated with wild animals and zoonotic diseases




  • Available to work all necessary hours, including weekends, holidays, special events and all shifts. 
  • Available to attend training sessions and conferences as needed.
  • A valid driver’s license with a good driving record         
  • Proof of negative TB test
  • Proof of Covid vaccine



Low 70k


Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming.  We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values and experiences of all people.  For Wildlife.  For All

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