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General Curator

Come join us at the Great Plains Zoo!

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is seeking a General Curator.  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 & Aquariums (AZA) and sees approximately 300,000 visitors annually.

General Statement of Duties:

The General Curator leads and directs the activities of the Animal Care department including staff supervision, budgeting, conservation initiatives and collection planning and oversees the veterinary medicine program.  The General Curator also serves as a member of the leadership team that contributes to the future growth and operation of the Zoo as a whole.  The ideal candidate will possess strong leadership skills, deep animal care knowledge, strong relationships within AZA, creativity, tenacity, and flexibility.  The General Curator reports directly to the President/CEO and supervises the staff Veterinarian and two Area Supervisors.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

•    Provide leadership and management oversight to address and accomplish established goals, objectives and strategies related to animal programs and related projects at the Zoo.
•    Assess needs in the Animal Care departments and prioritize resources.
•    Exhibit outstanding knowledge of animal care, insight into animal behavior and understand and is committed to modern zoological practices.
•    Establishes and maintains effective communications with President/CEO, and VP of Operations.
•    Work with various staff, departments and vendors to plan future exhibits.
•    Work with federal, state and local agencies to secure and maintain the necessary permits and licenses for Zoo operations.
•    Direct and assist in development of animal husbandry programs to ensure the health and enrichment of the animal collection, including making recommendations on animal acquisitions and dispositions.
•    Supervises veterinary care for the collection in consultation with the staff Veterinarian.
•    Identify and recommend worthy and relevant wildlife conservation initiatives on local, national and international levels.
•    Participates in the formulation and implementation of Zoo conservation initiatives and strategies.
•    Coordinate the Zoo’s participation in SSPs, PMPs, TAGs and SAFE program.
•    Serves as a champion for optimal animal care for individual animals and for saving species from extinction.
•    Evaluate operations, identify areas for potential improvement and develop plans to implement suggested improvements.

Qualifications include:

•    BS or BA in Biology, Zoology, Wildlife Management or a related field with a demonstrated work history of increasing responsibility in the management of animal programs.
•    Minimum of 5 years’ experience at an AZA accredited zoo and 3-5 years supervisory experience is required.
•    AZA leadership and involvement on committees, TAGs and SSP coordination is preferred.

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

•    A metro population of over 259,000
•    A healthy economy and a robust arts and cultural scene
•    Recognition from Forbes magazine as the second best small metro area in the nation for business and careers.
•    Coverage from the Wall Street Journal under the headline "As Many Midwest Cities Slump, Sioux Falls Soars".

Full time positions include competitive pay and a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, vision and long term disability insurance, a 401(k) plan with matching contributions, eight paid holidays and a PTO allowance.

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.