JOB POSTING: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

08/21/2020 10:29 AM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

Job Title: Keeper Elephants

FLSA Status: Non-exempt

Hours: Full-time


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is currently seeking to fill a full-time elephant keeper position in the African Grasslands Exhibit. Elephant natural history is the driving force behind the management philosophy of this elephant program. Maintaining solid female herd dynamics and facilitating natural breeding are the focus of this program while providing the maximum amount of choice and control to our elephants. Our multigenerational herd of 2.5 elephants are managed in a protected contacted system following AZA’s Standards for Elephant Management and Care. Since they are a part of a mixed species exhibit with other hoof stock and birds, good communication is essential to ensure the safety of all staff and animals across departments. Individuals must function as a part of the elephant team to ensure a safe and productive work environment. Duties will include but are not limited to all aspects of the daily management of African elephants including daily cleaning, feeding, enrichment, detailed record keeping, behavioral observations, browse collection, general maintenance, public demonstrations, husbandry training and all other duties as assigned. 

Responsibilities and Duties (include but not limited to):

  • General exhibit and holding area cleaning and maintenance
  • Planning, implementing, and evaluating daily behavior-based enrichment and foraging schedules
  • Detailed record keeping, following the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care
  • Collection and identification of approved browse species
  • Daily husbandry training via protected contact utilizing positive reinforcement
  • Behavioral observations and video review
  • Preparing diets and following feeding guidelines
  • Assisting with veterinary care
  • Public training demonstrations and keeper chats
  • Regular team meetings
  • Other duties as assigned by the supervisor

Work Skills: 

  • The ability to work well as part of a team, by listening and contributing
  • An understanding of environmental enrichment and how it impacts animal wellness
  • The ability to follow all protocols and standard operating procedures to assure the highest level of animal welfare.
  • A thorough understanding of and strict adherence to the Occupational Safety Guidelines for elephant care professionals.
  • Be able to give/receive constructive criticism regardless of prior experience
  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal, both with their peers and all other zoo personnel
  • An ability to work in a fast paced and dynamic environment
  • Great attention to detail in all aspects of their work and record keeping
  • An excellent safety record
  • A strong work ethic
  • Strong public speaking skills
  • Basic computer skills for data entry utilizing Microsoft programs


  • Qualified candidates will possess at least 2 years of paid experience in animal husbandry, preferably with elephants or other large mammals, at an AZA accredited institution.


  • Successful candidates will have demonstrable experience with operant conditioning techniques utilizing positive reinforcement. 
  • Preference will be given to candidates with protected contact elephant experience, however, candidates with applicable experience with other taxa will also be considered. 
  • A working knowledge of the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care and Occupational Safety Guidelines for elephant care professionals is expected. 
  • Completion of AZA’s Principles of Elephant Management 1 is a plus. 
  • Successful candidates will also be familiar with or capable of learning the safe use of various power tools and heavy equipment including but not limited to chainsaws, drills, power augers, and a Bobcat or similar equipment.

All candidates are required to pass a pre-employment background check, including a drug test, and possess a valid driver’s license.  A negative TB test is also required. Hours may vary and successful candidates must be able to work weekends and holidays.


  • Minimum requirements for this position include a High School diploma with a preference for a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology, Biology, or related field.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort:

  • Must be able to walk, stand, sit, kneel, bend, twist, reach above head, pull, and climb stairs and ladders. 
  • Must be able to lift 70 lbs. routinely and work outdoors for prolonged periods in the weather and temperature extremes common to Omaha, Nebraska.
  • The position involves working within 3+ acres of outdoor exhibit space and a 25,000 square foot elephant barn.  
  • Exposure to biting flies and mosquitos is likely.


The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, nor is it to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC

To apply, please visit

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

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