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Apprentice Zookeeper

Posted: June 6, 2024 Expired: November 27, 2023
Buffalo Zoo

Buffalo Zoo

As one of the crown jewels of Western New York’s cultural and recreational attractions, the Buffalo Zoo welcomes 400,000+ guests on an annual basis. The Zoo sits on 23.5 acres and is home to over 750+ animals, supports many conservation programs, and is a highly regarded educational facility. Being the third oldest zoo in the country, the Buffalo Zoo is proud to have several buildings of historic significance on its campus. The Zoo is operated by the Zoological Society of Buffalo, Inc.

Apprentice Zookeeper

Basic Purpose and Responsibility:

Under the supervision of the Curator(s) and the Animal Keepers, the part-time (non-union) Apprentice Zookeeper is responsible for supporting the day-to-day operations associated with the husbandry of the animals and the maintenance of animal exhibits.  This position will rotate to different areas within the animal care department to accommodate the changing needs of the animal collection. The Buffalo Zoo’s Apprentice Zookeeper program provides entry level training for those interested in pursuing a career in animal care.  It is a temporary training program, not a permanent position.  Therefore, Apprentice Zookeepers may serve for a temporary period of time (but not to exceed two years).

Essential Functions:

  • Primary accountability for specific functions and results.  The list of essential functions is not exhaustive and may be supplemented or changed as necessary.
  • Prepares and provides diet and feeding regime to designated animals as specified by the supervisor-in-charge.
  • Assists in cleaning and maintaining holding, exhibit areas, and other related areas consistent with established professional standards.
  • Assists in exhibit maintenance duties and modify exhibits to meet seasonal requirements.
  • Effectively monitor the health, behavior, and overall welfare of assigned resident animals and communicate changes to their supervising keeper.
  • Ensures the highest animal welfare standards are in compliance with AZA and USDA regulations.
  • Maintains accurate animal records and daily logs as necessary.
  • Submits daily reports on electronic record systems that may include feeding, behavior, welfare assessments, medical procedures, environmental parameters, conservation and research and animal metrics (weight and measurement).
  • Assists veterinary staff with any prescribed treatment routines, medication administration, and procedures alongside curatorial staff.
  • Ensures inspection of exhibits and surrounding areas - reports safety concerns and needed repairs to their supervising keeper.
  • Actively supports and implements area procedures to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, guests, and animals.
  • Oversees work activities of interns if directed to do so.
  • Ability to follow basic procedures regarding safely operating hand tools, vehicles, and equipment.
  • Assists in collecting data, samples, records, etc. for research purposes as assigned.
  • Must deliver exceptional customer service by engaging with guests on a regular basis to create a friendly, memorable and positive experience. Ability to respond to common inquires requests, or complaints from guests and/or staff in a kind and courteous manner; including public speaking such as keeper talks and presentations.
  • Works collaboratively with other staff and departments to meet the Buffalo Zoo’s overall goals and objectives, including participating as necessary with Education, Events, Development, Veterinary, Marketing, Facilities, etc.
  • A strong and effective communicator and supportive team player.
  • Possess a can-do attitude, be resourceful, and communicate respectfully with everyone.
  • Interact with courtesy, professionalism, and respect to staff, volunteers, and guests consistent with the organization’s mission and core values.
  • Verbal and written ability to communicate with Zoo staff. Able to interact positively with a variety of individuals from varied socioeconomically backgrounds frequently.
  • Innovative and willing to look for solutions.
  • Good attention to detail.
  • Accept and apply constructive feedback.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform a variety of jobs and flexibility in working in a variety of areas and routines.
  • Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals.
  • Performs any additional animal care duties or departmental responsibilities as directed by their supervising keeper or the Curators.


  • Must be able to work weekdays, weekends, evenings, and holidays as necessary.
  • Must possess or be able to obtain within 30-days of employment a valid New York State driver’s license and have an average or better driving record based on the evaluation process of our insurance company.  Retention of position is contingent upon maintaining required license.  Must upgrade to classification appropriate to requirements (non-CDLC or CDL class). 
  • Must support Buffalo Zoo’s Vision, Mission and Core Values.
  • Must support the Buffalo Zoo’s DEAI values.
  • Successful completion of a post-offer pre-employment general medical screen and drug test.
  • Successful completion of a post-offer pre-employment background check.
  • Successful completion of a post-offer fitness for duty test.
  • Must understand the requirements, essential functions and duties of the position as per the job description, and certify such by signing the job description prior to first day of work.
  • Must be able to operate a computer, two-way radio, telephone system, and software on computer, printer, etc. after training.
  • Must be willing to comply with department’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policies and procedures.
  • Must provide proof of negative TB test at hire. TB test conducted annually.
  • Regular attendance and punctuality are essential functions of the position.

Physical Demands:   Use subject line:  Buffalo Zoo Apprentice Zookeeper.  Attachments are to be formatted: Last name first name Cover Letter.Doc or PDF, and Last name first name Resume.Doc or PDF.  No telephone calls please. 

Buffalo Zoo
300 Parkside Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: 7168373900
Fax: 7169956136

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