01/03/2023 10:07 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)


Dallas Zoo, the oldest and largest in Texas, and a highly respected AZA-accredited zoo, seeks an outcome driven leader and compelling communicator to serve as its Senior Curator (“SC”), Large Mammals. This is a rare opportunity to provide leadership to a world-class animal care and welfare program at a transformational moment for the organization. Dallas Zoo is boldly planning for large-scale renovations while remaining anchored in an innovative strategic mission focused on engaging people and saving wildlife: building empathy for animals, inspiring curiosity, and leading twelve key conservation initiatives (“Protecting the Twelve”) to save wildlife.

A pillar in the DFW community for generations, Dallas Zoo is on track to welcome over one million guests annually in the coming fiscal year, and cares for approximately 2,000 animals of approximately 350 vertebrate species. The Senior Curator will be part of the Zoo’s curatorial team, consisting of 12 leaders committed to guiding the organization at the highest level, and ensuring that teams continue to provide outstanding care to the animals which call DZ home.

Established in 1888, Dallas Zoo is preparing to launch its next major capital campaign, focusing on infrastructure improvements and revitalization of some of its oldest animal habitats. This ambitious plan prepares the Zoo for its next 50+ years by accelerating access and connection to nature for all. The new Senior Curator will play a pivotal role in the execution of this transformation: collection plans and designs for mixed-species habitats that will bring some of the Zoo’s most impactful spaces back to life (including the Wilds of Africa, once visible via the Adventure Safari Monorail, but offline over the last two years). Reopening these habitats will bring new opportunities to impact conservation messaging, as well as DZ’s involvement supporting sustainable animal populations: early predictions indicate that renovations will support the addition of 15-20 animal species, new (or returning) to Dallas Zoo, including two African rhino species. An effective SC will create pathways for collaboration that lead to creative and engaging animal habitats, greater scientific discovery, and even higher levels of care for DZ’s incredible animal population.

With a combined team of close to 50 animal care staff and oversight of a diverse animal collection (of over 100 animals, including elephants, hippos, giraffes, okapi, equids, antelope, and birds), the Senior Curator, Large Mammals, reports to the Associate Vice President, Animal Care & Welfare, and occupies a strategic leadership role in the Zoo.


•     Mentor and guide the activities of an animal management team (including Associate Curators, Zoological Managers, Assistant Zoological Managers);

•     Oversee development, implementation and supervision of safe, proper protocols for all aspects of care for the assigned animal collection including sanitation, health, nutrition, reproduction, behavior, and behavioral husbandry;

•     Cooperatively develop and implement comprehensive collection plans for each section of the department, soliciting input from various internal and external stakeholders;

•     Direct the safe coordination of animal acquisitions and deaccessions, in support of Dallas Zoo’s Institutional Collection Plan, liaising effectively with AZA animal programs;

•     Direct the implementation of staff training programs in areas of animal care, facilities maintenance and operation;

•     Actively recruit staff, interns and volunteers, working cooperatively with Associate Curators and Zoological Managers to strategically develop a dynamic team of animal care professionals;

•     Formulate, communicate and implement DZM management policies, and supervise staff training in safety and security policies;

•     Assist in ongoing development of a ZIMS-based records system documenting activities and events within the Savanna’s animal collection; prepare required reports summarizing department activities;

•     Collaborate with veterinary staff in the medical care of the designated animal collection;

•     Collaborate in production of interpretive graphics associated with animal exhibits;

•     Manage buildings, exhibits, holding areas and grounds of relevant areas; prioritize maintenance;

•     Develop short- and long-term strategies to activate and/or refresh existing exhibits, plan for renovations, and explore concepts for new interactive spaces (maximizing quality of life for animals, guests and staff);

•     Serve as project manager, as assigned, for design, construction and/or installation of new habitat features;

•     Coordinate and conduct research, and/or produce popular or scientific papers concerning biology and captive management of wild animals;

•     Identify and prioritize budgetary requests, including capital improvements, major maintenance, time and material projects, minor tools and equipment, professional services, animal purchase and animal transportation; administer budgets, monitor expense and prepare reports;

•     Collaborate with other departments/divisions to further develop programs and facilities that improve upon the organization’s operations, and/or facilities;

•     Represent the Department and/or DZM at professional meetings, conferences or in the media as required;

•     Follow all safety protocols, understanding the Senior Curator’s role in emergency procedures, and serving as a member of Dallas Zoo’s Emergency Response Team.

•     Perform other duties as assigned.



•     A Bachelor’s degree in biology or related science field is PREFERRED; graduate degree considered beneficial;

•     Must have extensive knowledge of animal husbandry, at least fifteen years preferred of exotic animal care experience at an AZA-accredited facility, and at least ten years at a supervisory level PREFERRED;

•     Must be solution-oriented, finding creative solutions for complex challenges;

•     Demonstrated interest and expertise in management, reproduction of diverse mammal species;

•     Comprehensive knowledge of mammal reproduction, as well as neonate care;

•     Comprehensive knowledge of behavioral management, including operant conditioning philosophy, techniques, and terminology, as well as benefits and goals of environmental enrichment;

•     Excellent facilitation, as well as communication skills, both oral and written;

•     Comfort with computer software: MS Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point;

•     Ability to represent the Zoo in a professional manner at all times;

•     Ability to exercise sound judgment in emergency situations and to respond with appropriate action;

•     Ability to work with minimal supervision, must be self-directed;

•     Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationship with management, other employees & zoo guests;

•     Must be able to walk, stand, sit, kneel, stoop, crawl, twist, reach above head, pull bend, climb stairs and ladders and carry up to 50 lbs;

•     Must be able to work holidays and weekends, assuming and performing similar duties at regular and irregular hours as required;

•     Must be able to actively work outdoors in hot, cold, or inclement weather;

•     Successful candidate must pass pre-employment drug screening, background check and TB test;

•     Must have a valid driver’s license to operate zoo vehicles and reliable transportation.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by personnel assigned to this job and is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all duties to be assigned.


Interested candidates can apply at this link:

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