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Parks Animal Keeper

Posted: May 23, 2024 Expired: November 27, 2023
Orange County Zoo
High School

Orange County Zoo

Parks Animal Keeper

$23.24 - $31.34 Hourly
$1,859.20 - $2,507.20 Biweekly
$4,028.27 - $5,432.27 Monthly
$48,339.20 - $65,187.20 Annually
OC Zoo, CA
Full-Time Permanent
3027OS-0524-405 (O)
OC Community Resources
6/7/2024 11:59 PM Pacific
In addition to performance-based merit increases, this position is scheduled to receive salary range increases on the following dates:
Effective June 28, 2024 – 4.00 % increase
Effective June 27, 2025 – 3.75% increase   

  Salary may be negotiable within the range listed above, based on position requirements and successful candidate's qualifications, subject to appropriate authorization.  
This recruitment is open to the public.  The recruitment is being held to establish an open eligible list to fill current and future Parks Animal Keeper vacancies within OC Parks.  The eligible list established may also be used to fill similar and/or lower-level classifications within OC Parks.  
Friday, June 7, 2024, at 11:59 PM (PT). 
Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply immediately.  

The County of Orange, OC Zoo is located within OC Community Resources (OCCR) OC Parks division.  The OC Zoo is located inside Irvine Regional Park in the city of Orange.  The Zoo's focus is on animals and plants native to the southwestern United States.  Animals on exhibit include black bears, mountain lions, a bald eagle, jaguars, foxes, a red-tailed hawk, great horned owls, porcupines, coyotes, turkey vultures, and more.  There is also a reptile collection that includes venomous rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, and beaded lizards.  The Zoo also features a barnyard area with domestic goats, sheep, guinea fowl, and maras.  

OC Zoo has current vacancies for Parks Animal Keeper.  The Parks Animal Keeper will work under general direction of the Zoo Director, Zoo Curator, and Senior Parks Animal Keepers.  This is a professional position, requiring experience and working knowledge of exotic animals and how to take care of them.  The Parks Animal Keeper must complete the daily tasks in a timely fashion with minimal supervision, keep detailed daily records, and be proficient in observing animals and their behaviors. The OC Zoo staff members are committed to providing a high-quality operation of animal care and a pleasant visitor experience.  The Parks Animal Keeper duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:  
  • Observing and carrying out all basic aspects of the daily care of animals
  • Reporting any observed health or behavioral abnormalities to Zoo Curator and Veterinarian
  • Following all approved operation procedures listed in string duty assignments
  • Maintaining behavioral enrichment programs for assigned animals
  • Participating and developing programs focused on enhancing the guest experience
  • Giving presentations to the general public and engaging with park visitors by discussing animal natural history, natural habitats, the status of animals in the wild, care and feeding of animals, and other topics of interest
  • Preparing accurate and detailed records and logs and maintaining monthly reports 
  • Cleaning, maintaining, and conducting repairs to assigned animal habitats 
  • Inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining public walks, paths, zoo grounds, plants and animal enclosures
  • Maintaining manuals regarding duties/care of assigned animals 
  • Training employees and/or volunteers on proper care of animals, as well as, delegating task as needed
  • Utilizing hand tools, rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, and minor power tools to fix, enhance, clean, and maintain animal habitats and enclosures 
  • Assisting the veterinarian during visits, administering medications, and monitoring injuries, and healing when needed
OC Zoo is open 365 days per year. Incumbents should be prepared to work rotating shifts, including days, nights, weekends, and holidays.

The ideal candidate will possess at least three (3) years of full-time equivalent experience working with animals, providing animal enrichment, record keeping and maintaining best practices concerning animal husbandry in a zoological setting, specifically working at a public/private zoo, wildlife sanctuary, or animal breeding facility.  Experience with birds, mammals, and reptiles, including venomous is highly desirable. A Bachelor's degree in Zoology, Biology, Natural Sciences, or a related field is highly desirable.  In addition to this knowledge and experience, the ideal candidate will also be in possession of the desired core competencies listed below.
Technical | Animal Keeper
  • Daily cleaning, feeding, medicating, training, and conducting enrichment activities for assigned animals.
  • Utilizing operations manuals for details regarding proper care and updating feeding and medication instructions.
  • Understanding of accreditation standards, USDA and California Fish and Wildlife regulations as they pertain to caring for animals and ensuring they are healthy, and their habitats are in compliance.  
  • Practical experience with maintaining habitats to ensure they are clean and free of dangerous items that may cause harm to the animals.  This would include but is limited to removing old debris and animal stool, replacing bedding, inspecting enclosures, adding dirt, raking, mowing lawns, changing perching, seeding lawns, maintaining pump systems, cleaning and disinfecting enrichment toys. 
  • Working as a team to ensure proper coverage in areas and assisting when needed for training and engagement activities.  
Judgment and Critical Thinking
  • Understanding daily procedures and protocols and exercising judgment with adaptability. 
  • Practical knowledge of safety protocols and procedures to ensure own personal safety, other workers, the public and the animals.  
  • Identifying when a situation requires de-escalation or the involvement of a supervisor. 
Effective Written & Verbal Communication Skills
  • Presenting information and educating the public on animal species, behaviors, habitats, and care. 
  • Maintaining detailed logs and accurate reports on animal care, protocols, feedings, medication administering, and medical/behavioral observations in a zoological animal record database.  
Interpersonal Skills
  • Working as a team to ensure proper coverage in areas and assisting when needed for training and engagement activities.
  • Collaborating with teammates and supervisors if questioning the behavior of animals or unsure if something does not seem right.  
  • Answering questions from the public (adults and children) pertaining to the zoo and its animals.   
Strength to pull, drag, lift and carry up to 50 pounds for 50 feet.  Strength to handle, restrain and maneuver large animals, including livestock, from one area to another or into a trailer for transport.  Strength to capture, secure, handle and restrain a variety of animals, which may be physically uncooperative and aggressive.  Agility to walk, run, physically maneuver oneself to capture and avoid injury by various animals.  Ability to stand for extended periods.  Body mobility to walk and run on uneven ground, climb stairs, bend, twist, reach kneel, squat and crawl to catch animals.  Manual dexterity to hand write paperwork and use a computer.  Vision sufficient to read standard text and fine print, a computer screen, see animals at a distance, determine depth and to distinguish colors and body language.  Hear well enough to hear the approach of an animal or sounds emitted by animals.  

Mental stamina for problem solving and dealing with stressful situations.  Mental fortitude to focus and perform job duties in the presence of stressors such as upset citizens, aggressive animals, injured animals or deceased animals.  

Will be required to work with an around animals in all aspect of their husbandry care.  Animals may be large, small, aggressive, friendly, dangerous and/or venomous.  Will be required to work in a standard office environment around office equipment.  Will be required to work outside in all weather conditions.  Will be required to work in dusty, loud, and/or malodorous environments.  May be exposed to various zoonotic diseases, noxious odors, animal blood, animal dander, blood borne pathogens, feces and urine, fleas, ticks, mites, as well as, injured, sick, dead and/or diseased animals.  Will be required to work around commonly used animal chemicals such as flea medications and/or various types of soaps, cleansers and disinfectant agents.  Will be required to interact with various members of the public.  

Please click here for information regarding the complete classification description, including the minimum qualifications for Parks Animal Keeper.  

Human Resource Services (HRS) screens all application materials for minimum and/or desirable qualifications.  After screening, applicants who meet the minimum and/or desirable qualifications will be referred to the next step in the recruitment process.  All applicants will be notified via email of their status in the recruitment process.  

Recorded Structured Oral Interview (rSOI) | Weighted 100%
The rSOI is a timed oral interview conducted virtually through an online vendor.  Applicants will be asked a series of structured questions designed to elicit the applicant's qualifications for the job.  All applicant responses will be video recorded so that they can be evaluated against pre-determined criteria by a panel of job knowledge experts.  Only the most successful candidate will be placed on the eligible list.  

Based on the Department's needs, the selection procedures above may be modified. Candidates will be notified of any changes in the selection procedures.  

Eligible List
Once the assessment has been completed, HRS will establish an eligible list of candidates.  Candidates placed on the eligible list may be referred to selection interview to be considered for present and future vacancies.  

Veterans Employment Preference
The County is committed to providing a mechanism to give preferential consideration in the employment process to veterans and their eligible spouses and will provide eligible participants the opportunity to receive interviews in theselection process for employment and paid internship openings.  Please click here to review the policy.  
Please see below for important information regarding COVID-19 related recommendations.

Effective April 3, 2023, it is strongly recommended that County employees working in health care settings and correctional facilities follow vaccination and booster guidelines provided by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please click here to see the latest guidance for more details. 

Email is the primary form of notification during the recruitment process.  Please ensure your correct email address is included in our application and use only one email account.  

NOTE:  User accounts are established for one person only and should not be shared with another person.  Multiple applications with multiple users may jeopardize your status in the recruitment process for any positions for which you apply.  

Candidates will be notified regarding their status as the recruitment proceeds via email through the site.  Please check your email folders, including spam/junk folders, and/or accept emails ending with "" and "".  If your email address should change, please update your profile at    

Click here for additional Frequently Asked Questions.
For questions regarding this recruitment, please contact Rula Dabit at 714.480.2884 or email at   
Orange County, as an equal employment opportunity employer,
encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply.
County of Orange

Santa Ana, California, 92701


$23.24 - $31.34 Hourly

How to Apply

Candidates can apply online at the following link:

Orange County Zoo
Orange, CA

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