Swing Zookeeper

The Great Plains Zoo is seeking to hire a full-time Swing Keeper.

General Statement of Duties

The Swing Keeper at this facility will work throughout all areas of the zoo, as assigned, under the supervision of Area Supervisors and may be assigned to any area of the Animal Care or Education Departments during any given work day or parts thereof.  Each area/routine in the Zoo has a variety of species across several different taxonomic classes. The Swing Keeper will be held accountable to the same standards of care and husbandry as other Zookeepers at the facility. They will be responsible for the specialized work involving all aspects of general care and feeding of zoo animals including the cleaning and maintenance of buildings, grounds, and exhibits. This position will have a flexible schedule and days off will be assigned when the monthly schedule is posted but may not be the same week to week.

Responsibilities and essential functions

  • Provide all aspects of daily care for the animals in assigned exhibits and holding areas. Including but not limited to:

    • Innovative animal husbandry that is in compliance with AZA and USDA standards.

    • Preparation and feeding of approved diets and liquids.

    • Monitoring of physical and behavioral aspects of the animals under assigned care.

    • Providing appropriate environments for the species and providing for the physical and psychological well-being of the animals;

      • Provide environmental enrichment and training sessions, using operant conditioning, as applicable and  scheduled;

      • Designing and maintaining proper animal enclosures/props/exhibits.

    • Provide proper care for neonates and young (may require care outside of normal working hours).

  • Observe the animal collection for any signs of illness, lethargy, injury, or dietary problems and report any problems to the Area Supervisor, veterinarian and/or or Senior Director of Animal Programs (SDAP).

  • Assist the SDAP, Area Supervisor and/or Veterinarian in routine animal examinations and medicate animals with any prescribed treatments and/or medical follow-up as needed.

  • Capture, handle, and move animals using accepted Great Plains Zoo practices to facilitate internal movement, external shipping, medical procedures, or normal routines. Perform basic restraint, crating/uncrating and transport of animals as required and must have the ability to operate various sizes of animal squeeze cages.

  • Maintain exhibits and holding areas in a clean, aesthetically pleasing, and presentable condition at all times. Includes performing general maintenance and repair of exhibits: painting, repairing fences and shelters, abating erosion, removing weeds, and snow removal. Maintains the cleanliness of other areas such as break rooms, hallways, etc.

  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with fellow employees as well as interact and communicate well with the general public.

  • Be skilled at guest engagement and able to find create ways to inspire the various people who visit and support the zoo through formal and informal keeper talks and animal encounters. This engagement of the Zoo’s guests should extend to being willing to provide Behind the Scenes area tours, participate in media related events, participate in public relations projects and work special events in area as necessary;

  • Prepare well written and pertinent animal records and daily reports, medical records, enrichment logs, and other records as needed in the assigned area.

  • Train fellow keepers, interns, and volunteers in standard section routines, as necessary.

  • Follow all safety protocols and understand the Zookeeper's role in emergency procedures, responding to emergencies as required.  Must be able to and willing to participate in the Zoo’s Emergency Response Team and as such be willing to shoot rifles, shotguns, and capture dart guns as required and/or directed to assist in the animal escape and recovery plan if needed.

  • Must be able to follow oral and written instructions.

  • Regular, reliable and punctual attendance as well as good time management skills is an essential function of this position.

  • Other duties as assigned by the Area Supervisors or the Senior Director of Animal Programs.

Health and Safety

  • Demonstrates a commitment to the Great Plains Zoo’s Safety Policies by adhering to all environmental, safety, & health regulations, procedures, and goals.
  • Maintain a current tetanus vaccination (5 years) and must be willing to be TB tested annually.
  • Must pass a background check prior to employment.
  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 70 lbs.
  • Must be certified, or able to become certified in CPR/AED within 1 year of employment.
  • Must be able to climb ladders/stairs, lift hay bales/crates/animals and/or equipment weighing 30-70lbs. repetitively, Be able to or willing to learn to operate mowers, handle fire hose and garden hoses for cleaning, operate weed eaters, hay elevators, motorized carts, tractors, van, pickup truck, bobcat, load and operate wheel barrows loaded up to 150 lbs., be agile and flexible to maneuver in and around animals within exhibits, corrals and holding areas.
  • Must be able to actively work outdoors in hot, cold, or inclement weather.


The Swing Keeper reports directly to the Area Supervisors.

Education, Experience and Qualifications

  • Requires a 4-year college degree in Biology, Animal Science, Zoology or related field; or an equivalent level of work experience and education as determined by the hiring authority.
  • Experience at all levels will be considered however two years paid Zookeeper experience is preferred. AZA Zoo experience working with a variety of taxa is preferred.
  • Must be able to work a flexible work schedule including being able to work holidays and weekends, both regular and irregular hours as required.
  • Must maintain a valid driver’s license.

Employment applications may be found at www.greatzoo.org.

Résumés and completed employment applications may be sent to:

Amanda Cronberg, Area Supervisor

Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History
805 S. Kiwanis Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104


Deadline for applications: March 10, 2017