Vacancy at Nashville Zoo

Date: 2018/04/06


General Curator position available





Established in 1990, Nashville Zoo is a private non-profit organization and one of the youngest zoos in the country. Located on 188 acres just 6 miles south of the center of the city, the Zoo has been growing at a tremendous pace, opening more than 20 exhibits and growing in attendance by more than 1100% since 1997. The past two years alone have seen the introduction of an award-winning African themed entry village, a new spider monkey exhibit with elevated walkways and suspension bridge, a 3-acre white rhinoceros exhibit, and a 74,000 square foot Peruvian village featuring Andean bears, pudu, guinea pigs, and cotton-top tamarins. Later this year we will be opening a new Sumatran Tiger exhibit, a 25,000 sq. ft. state of the art Animal Health Care Center, a new Animal Ambassador Facility and increasing our parking footprint by 700 spaces. Our focus is also shifting to design and development of a massive 40 acre immersive African exhibit that will more than double the size of our existing collection. Nashville Zoo has been praised by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for our impressive contribution to unique conservation work around the world. Our Wild Works Global Conservation initiatives are involved in over a dozen countries as well as considerable work within our own state. Nashville Zoo's nearly 200 full-time team members are dedicated to our vision of using research and science to create immersive exhibits and experiences designed to ensure the highest quality animal welfare while captivating our guests with one-of-a-kind, life-changing moments that transport them to the homelands and habitats of our animals.


U.S. News and World Report lists Nashville as the 13th best place to live in the United States and with good reason. Known as "Music City", Nashville is famous for the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and downtown honky-tonks. But music is just a byproduct of a larger community fiercely driven by a desire to create. Innovation, particularly in the music, health care and technology industries permeate Nashville creating a healthy job market and exploding growth. The tourist scene is expanding rapidly fueling new hotels, restaurants and musical venues featuring some of the brightest talent in the country. The city has been also called the "Athens of the South", for its educational institutions and classical architecture.


This position is responsible for the leadership of the Animal Husbandry Teams (Ectotherm, Avian, Mammal), the Behavioral Husbandry Team, and the Animal Health Team. The position is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the animal collection and staff under its purview and ensuring that all regulatory, policy, process, and procedural requirements are met. Additionally, the position is responsible for ensuring that every aspect of their operation is in alignment with the Zoo's vision, mission, values, and philosophies. This position reports to the President of the Zoo.


 Leadership of Animal Husbandry, Behavioral Husbandry, and Veterinary Teams
 Management of all operations within purview
 Collection strategy, planning and management
 Animal protocol management and continuous improvement
 Animal and conservation research program strategy, planning, and execution
 Animal enrichment and training program management
 Work closely with COO and Facilities teams to resolve any areas of opportunity
 Ensuring compliance with all Zoo, USDA, AZA, USDI, and TWRA policies
 Participation in exhibit development and maintenance
 Animal Safety Program strategy, implementation, and management
 Maintenance of AZA Accreditation and all associated requirements
 External relations - represent Zoo with public, donors, other zoos, professional organizations, and federal and state agencies
 Partner with Marketing, Development, Education and other staff as needed to provide technical knowledge and input into Zoo messaging
 Zoo citizenship - serve on committees, teams, and task forces as needed. Meet and tour special guests and visitors.
 Other duties as needed and or assigned


 Proven ability to lead a large, multi-level team
 Consistently model ideal leadership behaviors
 Communication - ability to communicate effectively, both interpersonally and in groups
 Develop Others - ability to identify and leverage existing talents and build new in others
 Team Work - ability to work effectively as a team member and lead and develop teams effectively
 Conflict Management - ability to encourage and develop differing opinions and perspectives and identify and effectively resolve conflict as needed
 Accountability - Ability to set and communicate expectations clearly and effectively hold self and others accountable to expectations
 Time Management and Organization - Ability to effectively manage time to allow for consistent execution on multiple day-to-day and strategic projects and work
 Professionalism - ability to behave professionally in all situations and hold others accountable to the same level of behavior
 Relationship Management -ability to build effective relationships within and between animal teams, between animal husbandry and veterinary teams, and between the animal care teams and the operations teams.
 Problem Solving - ability to solve complex problems effectively and quickly
 Strategy - ability to conceive high-level, conceptual, and future-focused long-term initiatives, build effective action plans, and build sufficient buy-in by others to execute those action plans over time

 Proven ability to manage a large and complex operation
 Management and continuous improvement of policies, processes, procedures, and protocols
 Financial Savvy - ability to consistently manage budget strategy, planning, and execution, and ensure ethical and sustainable financial practices
 Performance Management - effectively manage performance of direct reports, utilizing all resources available including annual review processes, Human Resources department, reward and recognition tools, and offering effective and consistent feedback
 Recruit, develop, and retain leaders and staff
 Effectively execute the administrative tasks associated with the supervision of direct reports
 Ability to perform Curatorial, Supervisory, and Keeper duties as needed
 Proven knowledge, skill, and experience in the collection, care, and conservation of multiple species of exotic animals

 Ability to speak effectively in public and on camera
 Ability to write effectively and influentially

Baseline and Physical Requirements:
 Ability to lift 50 pounds
 Ability to work both indoors and outdoors in temperatures ranging from below 20 to above 90 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity
 Ability to walk extensively, navigate up and down multiple flights of stairs, bend down, and physically react/respond quickly
 Ability to obtain a Tennessee driver's license
 Ability to be flexible in scheduling, including evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed


Bachelor's degree in Zoology, Biology, or a related field
Minimum of ten years of experience in the collection, care, and conservation of exotic animals
Minimum of 5 years experience in the capacity of Curator, Assistant General Curator, or a closely related position

Background Check: Applicants for this position are required to submit to a criminal background check and pass a drug test.

Please submit resume to:


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