Summary: A zoo manager is in charge of planning, directing, evaluating, and coordinating zoo operations. He or she supervises employees as well as the care and handling of animals. A zoo manager is also responsible for relaying information and direction to personnel, implementing procedures related to animal care and collection, supervising the maintenance of facilities, and ensuring compliance with laws relevant to zoo operations.
Duties: The extent of a zoo manager’s duties ranges from administrative tasks to marketing and public relations. He or she is responsible for implementing policies, planning annual budget and managing expenditures, conferring with executives to establish and improve procedures and goals, assigning responsibilities and schedules, establishing work principles and conducting employee evaluations, maintaining inventories and zoological specimens, overseeing the design and restoration of exhibits, and directing overall facility maintenance. A zoo manager is also involved with developing sales strategies, promotional events and fund raising activities; handling public questions and complaints; corresponding with other facilities and institutions to exchange information; consulting with veterinarians and establishing animal care such as handling methods, dietary needs, habitat, and sanitation procedures.
Education and Training Requirements: In order to work as a zoo manager, it is necessary to obtain a bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, veterinary science, business administration or other related fields. Most zoological gardens require applicants to have at least two years in zoo keeping experience and supervisory level work. Additional background in management and animal welfare is also favorable.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements: To be a successful zoo manager it is essential to have an expansive knowledge in wildlife management procedures and protocols, thorough understanding of the needs and habits of the different types of animals in the zoological collection, advanced management skills, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and possess basic knowledge in veterinary medicine. The manager should be able to develop and organize fascinating zoological exhibits; conduct interesting and instructive tours; effectively direct and coordinate personnel activities; as well as prepare documents and generate clear and concise reports.
Working Conditions: Zoo managers typically work regular hours with weekend schedules. They work in zoological gardens, aquariums, wildlife parks and nature reserves. Though strict adherence to safety procedures minimizes occupational hazards, zoo managers take considerable risks when dealing with dangerous animals. They should be capable of moving about animal habitats and physically handling animals.
Salary: The average salary of a zoo manager is $52,000 per year. Average annual salary can vary depending on the company, size, location, experience and benefits.