Deputy Director of Animal Care – Oregon Zoo

Posted: 23 November 2021   |   Full-Time   | Oregon Zoo | Location: Portland, USA | Salary: $133,700 – $193,877 Annually | Application Deadline: 13 December 2021


The Oregon Zoo provides exceptional experiences to guests to inspire them to create a better future for wildlife. From education programs to on-the-ground conservation efforts, the zoo is working to save species regionally and worldwide.

The Oregon Zoo is home to over 2,000 individual animals represent 182 species or subspecies of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. 15 endangered species and 6 threatened species live at the zoo. The zoo is active in 61 Species Survival Plans.

The zoo campus has updated facilities with new habitats for condors, elephants, polar bears, primates, and insects. The zoo also has a new veterinary medical center and education center. Additional upgrades are being planned for the remainder of the zoo campus, and this position would play a critical role in driving the animal habitat priorities.

The zoo’s annual operating budget is derived from a tax base through Metro, the Portland-area regional government that is the zoo’s governing body, plus zoo admissions, concessions, events, education programs, and grants. The Oregon Zoo Foundation, the zoo’s philanthropic partner, leads fundraising efforts to support strategic needs of the zoo.

To learn more about the Oregon Zoo, visit

Position summary

This position is responsible for the administrative, operational and planning functions of the animal care division of the Oregon Zoo. The deputy director coordinates the activities of animal care, health, and welfare including record keeping, veterinary care, research and conservation. This position plans, organizes, coordinates, assigns and evaluates the work of senior veterinarian, conservation and research manager, zoological curators, and the registrar. This position exercises considerable independent judgment within established guidelines and policies, with general direction from the zoo director to support the mission and strategic plan of the Oregon Zoo. Along with the deputy director of operations and the zoo director, represents the zoo at a public level.


This position will lead a passionate and diverse team of animal care professionals, building and maintaining trust through a transparent and participatory decision making process. Collaborating with other leaders within the Oregon Zoo and throughout Metro Regional Government in order to meet the goals of the strategic plan and to create a cohesive team.

At the Oregon Zoo, we strive to hire a workforce representative of the communities we serve, understanding that a diverse workforce strengthens our organization. We value diversity and support a positive and welcoming environment where all of our employees can thrive


  • Establishes, implements and monitors strategic direction, policies and procedures for the effective, efficient operation of the division;
  • Directs staff in their animal care and welfare, conservation, research, record keeping, and animal health activities;
  • Collaborates with others to develop new, innovative means for care of the animal collection that is safe for animal care staff, animals, volunteers and visitors;
  • Guides care of animals over their lifetime, including nutritional and social needs, husbandry, breeding, as well as the physical and mental health needs of individual animals within the zoo’s animal population;
  • Develops division leadership team by setting clear expectations, providing direct constructive feedback and professional development opportunities and a culture of accountability;
  • Directs the administrative functions, to include monitoring and preparing the division’s budget, overseeing the maintenance of animal record keeping systems and government permits, staff recruitments and performance evaluations;
  • Assures operations of the division are in compliance with all applicable laws, Animal Welfare Act standards, American Zoo and Aquarium Association accreditation standards and related policies, as well as occupational health and safety procedures and practices;
  • Oversees the administration of two collective bargaining agreements and resolves contract disputes in collaboration with Human Resources;
  • Establishes and facilitates employee development and training program to maximize success of employees;
  • Provides oversight of effective and ethical research use, while ensuring individual animal welfare;
  • Develops and implements long range animal collection plan based on zoo’s strategic direction, animal care and welfare, education and conservation goals;
  • Oversees and monitors the activities of the conservation and research teams’ programs to assure research and conservation efforts are aligned with the zoo’s Integrated Conservation Action Plan (ICAP) and goals;
  • Supervises professional and technical positions with responsibility for promoting, transferring, assigning, evaluating performance, initiating salary action, handling grievances and discipline;
  • Represents the zoo to the public and media regarding significant animal events;
  • Participates in fundraising activities in collaboration with Oregon Zoo Foundation, including donor cultivation tours to support zoo revenue goals;
  • Directs division staff in the design process for new and renovated exhibits;
  • Prepares and delivers formal and informal presentations to other zoo divisions, volunteer groups, zoo visitors and the public;
  • Oversees animal acquisition and transfer practices to assure they are in accordance with established zoo policies and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association Policy on Responsible Population Management and AZA Animal Programs recommendations by Species Survival Plans, Taxonomic Advisory Groups and others;
  • Serves as acting zoo director as needed;


Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, wildlife management, animal science or a related field. Advanced degree preferred.

Seven to ten years supervisory experience in supervision and in animal management, preferably of a zoo collection, with experience in coordinating field conservation projects

To learn more about this opportunity or to apply please visit the application website.

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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