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Animal Care Manager

The Animal Care Manager is responsible for the general daily care of the animal collection and day-to-day supervision of Zookeepers and Interns. Animal Care Managers are responsible for quality control in animal care and exhibition, including animal husbandry and general maintenance of animal exhibits, buildings and holding areas.



  • Supervises the general daily care of the animal collection ensuring that exhibits and holding areas are maintained in a clean and presentable manner at all times.  
  • Supervises the Keeper staff and Animal Care interns in assigned area.
  • Observes the animal collection for any signs of illness, general lethargy, injury or dietary problems.  Reports any problems to Director of Animal Care & Conservation (DACC).
  • Assists the DACC and/or Veterinarian in routine animal examinations and assists with any prescribed treatments.
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with fellow employees and the general public.  
  • Supervises and coordinates enrichment and operant conditioning programs and ensures the programs and facilities meet USDA and AZA standards.
  • Is the frontline conduit for communication from the management team to the keeper staff and vice versa.
  • Ensures proper standards of animal care are maintained.
  • Maintains daily reports, medical records, enrichment logs, and other records as needed.
  • Performs basic restraint, crating/uncrating and transport of animals as required.
  • Responsible for scheduling of Keepers, Animal Care Interns and Animal Care volunteers.
  • Maintains an up-to-date and thorough professional knowledge of all species under his or her care.
  • Responsible for monitoring and maintaining equipment and feed supplies.
  • Assists in the purchasing of supplies.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Must be proficient in the use of MS Office and have the ability to learn other software.
  • Must be able to follow written and oral instructions.
  • Must be able to shoot rifles, shotguns and capture dart guns as required and/or directed to assist in the animal escape and recovery plan.
  • Must be able to climb ladders, stairs, lift crates/animals and/or equipment weighing 70 lbs, operate mowers, handle fire hoses, operate weed eaters, hay elevators, motorized carts, tractors, dump truck, pick up truck, load and operate wheel barrows loaded up to 150 lbs.
  • Be agile and flexible to maneuver in and around animals, exhibits, corrals and holding areas.
  • Must have the ability to operate various sizes of squeezes for medical purposes.


Health & Safety:

  • Maintain a current tetanus vaccination (5 years) and 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 be able to become certified in CPR/AED within 1 year of employment.
  • Must be able to tolerate strong odors, chemicals, dust, hay, animal fur/hair/dander and wet or humid conditions (non weather) and variable weather conditions.


Education, Experience & Qualifications:

  • Requires a 4 year college degree in Biology, Animal Science, Zoology or related field; or an equivalent level of education and experience as determined appropriate by the hiring authority.
  • Must have at least 3 years' experience in zoo animal care - preferably in an AZA accredited facility.
  • Previous supervisory or management experience is preferred.
  • Must be able to work a flexible work schedule, including weekends, holidays and evenings as required.
  • Must maintain a valid driver's license.



  • The Animal Care Manager reports directly to the Director of Animal Care & Conservation.
  • The Animal Care Manager is a working manager-level position and supervises the day-to-day activities of the Keepers and interns in the assigned area.


The Zoo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster a greater understanding of our natural world through Education, Conservation, Recreation and Discovery.  The Great Plains Zoo cares for more than 1,000 animals from around the world and offers up-close views of animals often not found in larger zoos including Giraffes, Tigers, Rhinos and a national award-winning Snow Monkey exhibit.  The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and sees approximately 300,000 visitors annually.


The 45-acre Great Plains Zoo is located in Sioux Falls, SD, a growing community with:

  • A metro population of 259,000
  • A healthy economy and a robust arts, food and cultural scene
  • Recognition from Forbes magazine as the best small metro area in the nation for business and careers (Oct 2018).


Proof of U.S. Citizenship or immigration status will be required upon employment. Criminal convictions are not an absolute bar to employment, but will only be considered in relation to specific job requirements.





  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor F.
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A.
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N.
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T.