JOB POSTING: Birmingham Zoo

09/29/2023 10:51 AM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

Animal Care Professional Lead, Elephants

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Birmingham Zoo is currently seeking applications for an Animal Care Professional Lead (ACP Lead) in the Elephant Department.  Working with the Elephant Manager, the ACP Lead will aid in supporting the team and helping to drive program development, providing a high level of care to a bachelor herd of African elephants.

This position requires a team-oriented mindset and excellent communication skills. The candidate must be a motivated self-starter with a willingness to learn and drive to continuously improve.


Birmingham Zoo is dedicated to creating a global community where all people value wildlife and wild places. As a workplace, the Zoo is guided by its core values: Passion, Excellence, Teamwork, Sustainability, and Diversity & Inclusion.


Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and others who identify as nonwhite, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, neurodiverse individuals, and those with diverse lived experiences are encouraged to apply for this role.



Education & Experience

  1. Bachelor’s degree, in a relevant biological field preferred 
  2. At least 2 years of experience, working directly with elephants, bull experience preferred


  1. Able to adapt to changing circumstances and employ creative problem solving
  2. Strategic thinking and decision-making skills
  3. Able to foster collaboration within and across teams
  4. Strong listening and articulation skills
  5. Able to handle multiple tasks as well as delegate to meet deadlines
  6. Competent in computer skills

Other Requirements

  1. Current valid driver’s license with no prior traffic violations (within the last five years)
  2. Provide documentation of a current negative TB test or be willing to have a TB test



  1. Demonstrates an understanding of the basic biology, behaviors and husbandry care of elephants.
  2. Develops a good line of communication with the Elephant Manager to ensure that all facilities and animals are in good order, and that all problems are reported in a timely manner. 
  1. Uses classical and operant conditioning with the elephants for shifting, husbandry care, preventative medicine, medical care, maintaining trained behaviors, and establishing new behaviors, in accordance with BZI’s Elephant Management Policy
  2. Prepares diets, including browse collection, and utilizes varied feeding strategies.
  3. Cleans and maintains animal holdings including the operation of vehicles/heavy machinery, handling of chemical agents, and use of special tools to assure the health and safety of the animals. 
  4. Utilizes the current enrichment program as well as adding new enrichment to the department’s repertoire to properly meet the enrichment requirements of the elephants
  5. Properly utilizes record keeping systems for the department and the organization.
  6. Prepares for emergency situations via regular policy review, equipment training, and drills
  7. Monitors weather related needs and shelters elephants appropriately.
  8. Maintains a safe work environment. Identifies and reports safety concerns in a timely manner. 
  9. Presents to the public including keeper chats, leading tours, filming, and events, as needed.
  10. Creates and/or accepts projects that benefit the animals under their care.
  11. Assists in training Animal Care Professionals, seasonals, and volunteers within the department.
  12. Coordinates with other areas to meet department needs
  13. Acts as point of contact in Elephant Manager’s absence
  14. Other duties as assigned.



  1. Becomes familiar with and follows the BZI staff handbook, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for the Animal Department as well as the Elephant Management Policy.
  2. Sets a positive example for their fellow ACPs. Acts as a reliable, friendly, and helpful team member and representative of BZI at all times to co-workers, visitors and guests.
  3. Seeks out courses or training opportunities to better their skill and knowledge base and shares their knowledge with others.
  4. Actively participates in enhancing and promoting the Birmingham Zoo, including AZA or AAZK activities, committees, fundraisers, etc.



The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee should expect:

  1. Use of hands, fingers, tools, or controls.  
  2. Frequently required to remain stationary, walk/move across the Zoo, access and move items high up or low to the ground, communicate effectively with staff and animals.   
  3. May be required to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms, stoop, kneel, or crouch
  4. Routinely lift and/or move more than 50 pounds.  
  5. Exposure to wet surfaces and slippery surfaces.
  6. Candidate will work with dangerous animals.
  7. May be required to wear a face mask and/or other personal protective equipment for long periods of time.  
  8. Must be able to work under challenging physical conditions and perform strenuous duties in extreme weather.

Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential duties and functions of this position.


The ACP Lead is expected to maintain the highest level of safety in the work area through implementation of safety protocols and procedures. The ACP Lead position is impacted by a wide variety of potentially hazardous exposures:

  1. The care and husbandry of dangerous animals that may be unpredictable at times or carry zoonotic diseases
  2. Cleaning and disinfecting agents
  3. Weather conditions including extreme heat, cold and storm conditions

Specific training and procedures, that have been designed to maintain human safety as our highest priority at Birmingham Zoo, followed by the safety of the animal collection, will be provided. The use and understanding of a variety of personal safety equipment is mandatory.

Animal Care Professional Leads, as with any staff member of the zoo, are required to be familiar with the Zoos overall safety policies as outlined in the staff handbook as well as being responsible for reporting any injury immediately to the first aid department.



  1. Full time, at least 40 hours per week
  2. Schedule varies between weekdays and weekends, as well as occasional evening work and holidays. 



Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. If selected, a background check and drug test will be conducted prior to beginning employment

Birmingham Zoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected status or any other characteristic protected by law.

The Birmingham Zoo is a not for profit entity. The position’s rate is $16.48/hour.

To apply please complete an online application and attach a current resume.

The Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is an international, 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization.

All rights reserved. © 2023 Elephant Managers Association.

1513 Cambridge Street, Houston TX 77030

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