Senior Keeper – Carnivore Section

Closing date: 7th June 2024
Department: Animal Care Team
Location: Colchester Zoo
Employment type: Full time
Hours Per Week: 40 hours per week
Salary: £26,104 per annum

Introduction to the Department

An exciting position has arisen for a Senior Keeper to join our team and contribute to our mission at Colchester Zoo in a full-time role working within our carnivore department; a mixed taxa section responsible for Malayan Sun Bear, Amur Leopard, African Lion, Fennec Fox, Giant Anteater, Asian Short-clawed Otter, Binturong, Red Panda, Pileated Gibbon, Wreathed Hornbill and Lion-tailed Macaque.

Role Responsibilities

  • Provide excellent husbandry standards and welfare to a range of species.
  • Input ideas for the continual progression and development of animal husbandry, breeding management and enclosure design.
  • Mentor and allocate work duties to junior staff members; qualified keepers and volunteers; student keepers and work experience students.
  • Ensure safe working protocols and practices across the animal section.
  • Deliver enclosure encounters and experiences to zoo visitors for a range of species across the section.
  • Demonstrate commitment to continuous personal development.
  • Perform other duties as reasonably directed by the senior members of the Carnivore Department and Animal Management Team.

Role Requirements

Husbandry Skills & Experience• 4-7 years experience in a zoological collection.
• High standard of practical skill in animal husbandry, including training and enrichment.
• High standard of animal observation skills.
• High ability to develop animal husbandry, breeding management and enclosure design on the section.
• Knowledge of ZIMS.
• Knowledge of zoo licencing and legislation.
• Skills in handling and restraint of various species.
• Confidence and ability in dealing with medical issues.
• Knowledge of water quality parameters and management for a range of species.
• Experience in operating filtration systems and life support systems.
• Knowledge of uv requirements for a range of species.
Team Work & Ability to Follow Instruction• Ability to work in a team and contribute to team goals.
• Ability to harness positive relationships with all other team members regardless of level / section.
• Ability to follow instruction and carry out tasks at manager’s / senior staff member’s request.
Leadership & Mentoring• Ability to mentor and allocate work duties to more junior employed staff members and volunteers.
Health & Safety• Good understanding of risk assessments.
• Ability to ensure safe working practices at Senior Keeper level.
Good understanding of zoo emergency procedures.
• Ability to manage risk in a zoo environment.
• Ability to develop safe working protocols.
Communication & Presentation Skills• Proficient communication and presentation skills to deliver animal encounters and experiences.
• Good communication and presentation skills to deliver education sessions and media.
Skills & Experience• Trained in manual handling.
• Computer literate with proficient knowledge of the major Microsoft Office programmes.
• Proficient written skills, including record keeping.
• Trained in working at height.
• Written skills, including proposals and protocols.
Other• DMZAA or equivalent qualification.
• Full driving licence.
• Ability to use own initiative to solve problems.
• Hard working and highly-motivated.
• Excellent punctuality and time keeping.
• Dependable and trustworthy.
• Flexible and adaptable.
• Warm, open-minded and professional.
• Commitment to employment at Colchester Zoo.
• Firearms certificate.
• Ability and willingness to represent Colchester Zoo at external conferences.
• Ability and willingness to present at external conferences and lead internal training at Colchester Zoo.

Working Hours

This is a full-time position. An average of 40 hours a week (5 days) which will include regular weekend work and will increase in busy periods.


Full uniform (including boots) will be provided. Full uniform must be worn at all times with a name badge.


For the first five months of employment, the jobholder will be asked to complete a one month, three month and five month self-assessment. This will gauge their feelings of the job and assess their progress towards meeting targets.

Working Environment

  • Colchester Zoo is a non-smoking environment and smoking is not permitted by members of staff whilst on the premises.
  • Colchester Zoo is an equal opportunities employer.
  • You may be required to work offsite on animal transfers on occasion.
  • Whilst doing this job, the employee is likely to be exposed to: outside weather conditions, tropical exhibits with high temperatures, moving mechanical parts, toxic or caustic chemicals, lifting heavy loads.


  • FREE Zoo visits*
  • FREE onsite parking
  • Work place pension scheme
  • Staff events
  • Discounts on Animal Adoptions, Zoo Passes and Animal Experiences*
  • Discounts in the Outpost Gift Shop*
  • Discounts in food outlets
  • 28 days annual leave (incl. Bank Holidays)
  • Competitive hourly rate
  • Uniform provided
  • Regular training

*Benefits dependent on probation period.

If you are interested in applying, please complete the Application Form below and send the completed form along with your CV to Mrs Liz Butcher, Living Collections Manager, by email to

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