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Swing Zookeeper

Come join us at the Great Plains Zoo!

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History is seeking a full-time Swing Zookeeper.  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 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.  

Zookeepers are responsible for the specialized work involving the health and welfare of native and exotic animals through feeding, enclosure maintenance, behavioral observation and training, enrichment and healthcare maintenance and treatment.  Zookeepers at the Great Plains Zoo work with a variety of species across several different taxonomic classes on a daily basis.  

Responsibilities include:

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
  • Monitor physical and behavioral aspects of the animals under assigned care
  • Implement the behavioral program of the animals under assigned care which includes the animal training (operant conditioning) and enrichment programs
  • Design and maintain proper animal enclosures/props/exhibits
  • Utilize preventive husbandry techniques and provide proactive health care as required
  • Provide proper care for neonates and young
  • Maintain exhibits and holding areas in a clean and presentable condition at all times
  • Observe the animal collection for any signs of illness, lethargy, injury or dietary problems and report any problems to supervisors.
  • Assist the supervisors and/or Veterinarian staff in routine animal examinations and medicate animals with prescribed treatments.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers as well as interact and communicate well with the general public.
  • Maintain daily reports, medical records, enrichment logs and other records as needed.
  • Give presentations to guests on a regular basis (Keeper Chats) and answer guests' questions about animals and exhibits.
  • Perform basic restraint, crating/un-crating and transport of animals as required.  Must have the ability to operate various sizes of animal squeeze cages for medical purposes.

Qualifications:

  • 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.
  • A minimum of 3 years' previous experience as a full-time keeper in an AZA accredited facility is required.   
  • Previous experience working with carnivores 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 45-acre Great Plains Zoo is located in Sioux Falls, SD a vibrant and growing community!

  • A metro population of over 278,000.
  • Smart Asset ranks Sioux Falls first as the Best City For Young Professionals in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  
  • ZipRecruiter identified Sioux Falls as the third hottest job market in 2020.
  • WalletHub ranked Sioux Falls as No. 15 on the 2019 list of Happiest Cities in America.
  • Livability ranked Sioux Falls No. 7 among the 2019 Top 100 Best Places to Live

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

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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.
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