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Keeper Apprentice-Paid

Lake Superior Zoo

Lake Superior Zoo is looking for temporary candidates with excellent time-management skills. The job vacancy named Keeper Apprentice-Paid was made available on June 26, 2024, and it will be removed on July 24, 2024. Since the salary is not exposed by the employer, you can negotiate based on the company's approach to employee engagement and empowerment. While the position is primarily located in Duluth, the company may be willing to consider applicants from other locations. The work premises are located at Duluth , MN , Duluth , MN.

Lake Superior Zoo

Keeper Apprentice-Paid

The Animal Care team at the Lake Superior Zoo are seeking motivated individuals with career goals in animal husbandry to apply for the new paid Keeper Apprentice program. This program is designed to train and prepare the next generation of zookeepers/animal care specialists in all skills necessary to be successful in this field.


At the Lake Superior Zoo, we care for over 300 animals of a variety of taxa.  Keeper Apprentices will get experience working in each of our five animal routines: Main (ambassador reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds, and small mammals), Minnesota Wildlife/Asia/Barn routine (native mammals, Asian hoofstock and birds, domestic farm species, and red pandas), Carnivores (big cats, bears, wolves, otters), Australia (amphibians, reptiles, marsupials, birds), and our Primate Care Center & Nocturnal building (small to mid-size primates, nocturnal mammals and birds, reptiles).

Keeper Apprenticeships are offered in two, approximately seven-month long sessions with flexible start and end dates.  This first session will run from approximately September-March. Lake Superior Zoo expects motivated and passionate individuals that promote our mission to “inspire connections to wildlife and action towards conservation in our region and around the world.”

Learning Opportunities and Responsibilities:

  • Best practices in animal welfare
  • Cleaning animal enclosures and holding areas
  • Diet preparation and distribution with general nutrition
  • Environmental enrichment and its role in animal management
  • Overview of positive reinforcement training and its application
  • Practical skills in guest interaction and keeper talk development
  • Proper animal handling and interaction
  • Behavioral observation and analysis with ZooMonitor
  • Daily recordkeeping and an introduction to basic medical care
  • Overview of best safety practices in a zoological setting
  • Additional seminars and learning opportunities including medical procedure observation, animal weighing, enrichment construction, orientations to various taxa, familiarity with USDA and AZA regulations, etc.
  • Personalized resume review and job-finding/interview assistance
  • Learning and growing in husbandry skills at a small, close-knit zoo with a positive and supportive workplace culture

Experience Required

Requirements: • Bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field preferred • Applicants with previous animal husbandry experience preferred • Applicants should have a strong desire to learn and advance in their skills in animal husbandry • Must have the ability to work with people of all ages, abilities, and cultures • Candidates need to be dependable, cooperative, and self-motivated • A negative TB test is required before beginning the apprenticeship

Further Comments

WORK ENVIRONMENT The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to outdoor weather conditions, and occasionally exposed to adverse environmental conditions such as dirt, dust, pollen, odors, fumes, temperature and noise extremes, toxic agents, disease, pathogenic substances, airborne particles, and animal waste. The employee is occasionally in direct contact with exotic animals and is occasionally exposed to work near moving mechanical parts; and work in high, precarious places, and in close quarters. The noise level in the work environment varies. Occasional loud noises from visitors, animals or equipment are experienced. PHYSICAL DEMANDS The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand; walk, reach with hands and arms, use hand to handle or feel, and talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to sit, climb or balance; stoop, kneel, bend, crouch, or crawl. The employee must regularly lift and move up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move a minimum of 100 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close, distance, and peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus. Evaluating animal health, diet, or environment requires hearing and smell. Interaction with staff, guests, and animals requires talking and hearing.


Working and growing alongside a great team with a proven record of training and supporting amazing animal care specialists!


$11.00/hour. This is a full-time, temporary position.

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How to Apply

The application deadline for the fall Keeper Apprentice session is August 1st.  The application can be found here:  Please send your completed application along with a cover letter, resume, and one letter of reference to Emily Perala at  For more information, email or call Emily (218) 730-4500 x104 or visit the employment page of our website at .

Lake Superior Zoo

c/o Emily Perala

7210 Fremont Street

Duluth, MN 55807

Lake Superior Zoo
7210 Fremont Street
Duluth, MN 55807
Phone: (218)730-4500

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