Position Overview

Reporting directly to the General Manager, the post-holder will be able to demonstrate thorough experience in all aspects of animal management including large Category One animals. They will be self-motivated, hardworking, practical, conscientious, and able to confidently lead and motivate their team to deliver the highest standards on all departmental responsibilities with particular regard to animal welfare and health & safety.

The post requires a thorough understanding of and demonstrable experience in:

  • All aspects of animal husbandry
  • Animal diet including assessment of nutritional needs, diet planning, food preparation and management of animal food supplies
  • Design, delivery and evaluation of animal enrichment
  • Animal health and welfare surveillance
  • Liaising with veterinary professionals and overseeing/administering prescribed care
  • Animal recordkeeping including ZIMS
  • Practical enclosure design and basic maintenance
  • Animal capture, restraint and transport
  • All aspects of secure animal containment
  • Escape and emergency procedures
  • Zoo license requirements
  • The assessment of risk in both routine works and specific events such as animal movements
  • The delivery of public talks to audiences of all sizes and ages
  • The safe delivery of a range of animal experiences involving members of the public

The post holder will be responsible for keeper team management including:

  • Duty rotas, timesheets, holidays, sickness and absence
  • Individual staff welfare matters
  • Health & safety matters
  • Assisting the General Manager in recruitment and disciplinary matters

In the day-to-day management of the team, the post holder will demonstrate efficient time and skills management, effective delegation and oversight, giving due consideration to individual team members’ experience, skill sets, qualifications, etc.

The post holder will demonstrate the ability to assess the training requirements of the team, arrange appropriate training, coaching and support where necessary, ensuring effective skills transfer and development.

The post holder will be responsible for a range of departmental administration including:

  • Coordinating with Wildwood Kent on the upkeep of animal records including:
    • animal acquisitions, dispositions, births, deaths
    • medical notes including administration of on-site medical supplies
    • keeper diaries
    • preparing reports for local and zoo license authorities when required
  • Administration of legislative obligations including:
    • Maintenance of individual animal licensing, tagging, passports, etc.
    • Preparations for zoo license inspections
    • Animal acquisitions and transfers
  • Assisting the General and Deputy Managers in the administration of departmental budget including:
    • Proper procurement procedures
    • Managing expenditure/wastage
    • Ensuring operational cost control


Additional responsibilities include assuming the role of Duty Manager in the absence of the General and Deputy Managers.


Main Duties and Responsibilities

The primary focus of the role will be ensuring the highest standards of care in Wildwood’s unique collection of British wildlife. This will encompass:

  • Food preparation, feeding, cleaning and husbandry
  • Animal health and welfare surveillance
  • Provision of appropriate behavioural enrichment
  • Monitoring and maintenance of animal enclosures including containment checks

Working with the Head of Living Collections the post holder will:

  • Deliver on the aims of the Institutional Collection Plan
  • Oversee adherence to operational policies, procedures and systems to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare are maintained
  • Oversee adherence to all operational policies to ensure the safety, wellbeing and development of staff
  • Assist in the management of breeding within the collection including the acquisition and disposition of animals
  • Assist in the design and development of new animal exhibits


The post holder will be mature, confident and flexible, able to carry out tasks independently, able to work effectively in a team, both as leader and member. In a busy diverse working environment, the ability to identify and address problems acting with confidence on one’s own initiative is essential.

As a departmental senior, you will need the ability to deal confidently with strong willed colleagues whilst maintaining healthy team morale. Common sense and the ability to concentrate and prioritise on the essentials of a task will be key elements of your personality.

Being a team player with the ability to inspire confidence and loyalty will be essential to effectively support the General Manager in the delivery of the trust’s aims and objectives.

In addition, the role requires:

  • Extensive practical experience of working with a range of animals within a zoological collection
  • Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA) level or equivalent qualification
  • Demonstrable experience in team leadership
  • Demonstrable experience of working safely with large carnivores
  • The willingness and ability to enhance and develop your personal experience and knowledge
  • A genuine love of British wildlife
  • A full clean UK driving license


Experience in these areas is desirable:

  • Captive breeding
  • Practical building work and construction
  • Giving public talks & demonstrations
  • Conservation and reintroduction projects

Other Considerations

Whilst firearms certification and experience is highly valued, it is not an essential requirement for acceptance to the post. However, the successful applicant will be expected to apply for certification and form part of the zoo’s firearms response team.

  • The post is advertised as a full time 12 month contact
  • Appointment will be subject to a three-month probationary period.
  • No person shall be treated less favourably than any another on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethic or national origin, religion, colour, age or disability. As an equal opportunities employer, applicants for staff vacancies shall be short listed for interview and appointed purely on the grounds of their suitability for the post as laid out in the advertised job description
  • Wildwood operates a no smoking policy in the park and in its offices.

Procedure for Applicants

Applications should be made in writing and must contain the following information:

  • Covering letter, including a statement of relevant skills and experience
  • CV including full employment/educational history and relevant qualifications

Applications lacking any of the above will not be considered.