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Lead Zoo Keeper – Animal Ambassadors

Are you passionate about?

…Providing exceptional care for animals?

…Saving wildlife and wild places?

…Inspiring guests to connect with nature and take action to impact the future of our world?

…Being part of a dynamic, growing zoo that welcomes diversity, equity, inclusion and personal contribution?

Explore a career with Reid Park Zoo.

Reid Park Zoo, located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona is a mid-sized, regional zoological garden caring for over 200 exotic animal species from around the world in lush, naturalistic habitats. With a mission centered in conservation, the Zoo is Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and participates in nearly 100 Species Survival Plans for threatened and endangered species. Reid Park Zoo maintains a state-of-the-art elephant program, a cutting-edge veterinary clinic that serves as a teaching hospital for the University of Arizona veterinary program, and is the co-leader of the Flamingo SAFE program to name a few recognitions. Attracting more than 500,000 guests annually, the Zoo is the midst of an exciting expansion project, Pathway to Asia, that will add four acres to its campus, bringing new species such as red panda, Komodo dragon and Lar gibbon, as well as a breeding facility for critically-endangered Malayan tigers when it opens in 2025.

We are located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. Stunning high desert valley vistas surrounded by four mountain ranges offer a year-round paradise for cyclists, hikers, bird-watchers and outdoor enthusiasts.  Named the first UNESO City of Gastronomy dedicated in the United States, the City is a delight for foodies with a lively and developing dining, arts and cultural scene, and a lovely wine country just thirty minutes away. With the University of Arizona and its championship sports, top-notch medical facilities, and affordable housing, Tucson is a great place to bring the family and put down roots– a big city, yet with a comfortable, small-town feel.

Reid Park Zoological Society is seeking an Animal Ambassador Lead Zoo Keeper.  Bachelor’s degree in biological science, animal or zoology related plus three years’ experience in animal care at an AZA accredited institution are required.  This must include at least one year working with animal ambassadors.  Alternatively, an Associate’s degree with five years’ experience including one year working with animal ambassadors would be accepted.

The Society is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support, advocate for and enhance the value of Reid Park Zoo and its mission to encourage commitment to the conservation of biological diversity and to provide educational and fun experiences for visitors of all ages. Reid Park Zoo is the largest attended cultural attraction in Southern Arizona with approximately 500,000 visitors annually.  Be a part of a vibrant, growing organization as Reid Park Zoo implements an exciting master plan that will be investing over $60M in new exhibits over the next ten years.

No phone calls or visits please.  This position is open until filled.  We are an Equal Opportunities Employer.  We are committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff by creating an inclusive environment.


The Animal Ambassador Lead Zoo Keeper is responsible for the daily husbandry and training for the animal ambassadors.  The Lead Zoo Keeper will be responsible for training and mentoring other Zoo Keepers on the area.  They will also be the primary liaison between the Education Department and the Animal Department in regards to the animal ambassadors.  They will be responsible for maintaining SOP’s, handling documents and all other paperwork associated with the animal ambassadors.  In addition, they should be an active member of the zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team.  The Lead Zoo Keeper will also take an active role in collection planning for the animal ambassador area.  This position works collaboratively with the Veterinarian Team, Facilities, Events and Education Departments.

The team works closely for animal training and candidates that have experience training animals to be used in ambassador programs would be preferred. Animals are trained to voluntarily participate in their health care and therefore the Supervisor and keepers work closely with the vet team.  All animals have a minimum of monthly welfare assessments, and this position will work with the Animal Care Supervisor to provide direction to the group on changes to make for the animals (may be habitat enhancements, different training plans, novel enrichment, health related, or routine changes etc.).

Reports To:   Animal Care Supervisor


General duties:

Trains and mentors Zoo Keepers in their work.

Provides daily care for ambassador animals including but not limited to cleaning,

training, enrichment, diet preparation and record keeping.

Assists with animal ambassador collection planning.  Reviews animal records and assists with animal transactions.

Conducts preventative maintenance and ensures safety in work areas.

Works collaboratively with the welfare committee, training & enrichment committee, education department, events team and safety team.

Completes all training as required. These may include but are not limited to job specific training, safety, zoonotic disease, blood borne pathogens, animal enrichment, animal training, conservation, Species Survival Plan (SSP), active shooter, DEI, radio protocol, CPR/ First Aid and hand tool usage.

Works with the education department to be able to hand off new animal behaviors and to identify priority behaviors to train.

Maintains all SOP’s, handling documents and other paperwork associated with the animal ambassador program.

Other duties as assigned.

Preferred Qualifications, Skills and Abilities

  • 1-year experience working with animal ambassadors.
  • 3-years’ experience in animal care at an AZA accredited facility and bachelor’s degree – biological science related preferred.  Alternatively, Associates degree plus 5 years’ experience.
  • Expertise in ambassadors preferred.
  • Experience working with a wide range of species a plus.
  • Attends work on a regular and consistent basis.
  • Valid and unrestricted driver’s license.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Assertive, energetic, and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to take direction, constructive feedback and be quick to act or change direction as needed.
  • Reliable and able to work to a schedule.
  • Provide excellent customer service.
  • Must be able to work outside and must be comfortable working in either cold or hot weather conditions.
  • Must be able to lift and carry heavy objects (up to 50+ lbs. on occasion), must be comfortable walking and standing for long periods of time.
  • Must be able to work a flexible work schedule including evenings and weekends.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.  It is intended to give a reasonable idea of what might be required.


Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is the policy of Reid Park Zoological Society to provide reasonable accommodation when requested by a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless such accommodation would cause an undue hardship. The policy regarding requests for reasonable accommodation applies to all aspects of employment, including the application process. If reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact the Human Resources Dept.