Lead Keeper - Small Primates

    • Job Tracking ID: 512699-850972
    • Job Location: Atlanta, GA
    • Job Level: Mid Career
    • Level of Education: BA/BS
    • Job Type: Full-Time/Regular
    • Date Updated: March 31, 2023
    • Years of Experience: 7 - 10 Years
    • Starting Date: ASAP
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Job Description:

Job Title: Lead Keeper of Small Primates

Department: Primates

Reports to: Curator of Primates

FLSA Status: Exempt

Job Status: Full-time salary. Pay commensurate with experience. Zoo Atlanta is committed to regularly evaluating keeper salary.

Who we are: Minutes from downtown, Zoo Atlanta is the oldest and one of the most respected cultural destinations in the Southeast’s largest and most vibrant city. Culture, dining, nightlife, and famously eclectic neighborhoods, not to mention a temperate climate year-round, attract a growing number of newcomers to the one-and-only Atlanta. Atlanta is known as the “City in the Trees,” with the Zoo and surrounding neighborhood showcasing why. The zoo is in a strong financial position and is committed to investing in our staff and facilities to continue our focus on animal care, research, and conservation. We offer competitive pay rates, a diverse animal collection and an enriching work environment. We are looking for new team members dedicated to providing the best in animal welfare. 

As an organization, Zoo Atlanta’s points of pride include being one of only three zoos in the U.S. to house giant pandas; home of one of North America’s largest populations of great apes; and a longtime reputation for excellence in the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Our mission sets us apart, and every day at Zoo Atlanta is an opportunity for discovery, a chance to contribute to conservation, and a way to make a difference in the lives of the people of our community.

What we offer: As a workplace, Zoo Atlanta is very proud of a commitment to diversity and inclusion and a competitive compensation and benefits package. Benefits include but are not limited to outstanding medical coverage and 403b retirement program match; vacation time buy and sell; professional development training; paid time off for community volunteering; and more.

Perks for this full-time position include:

  • Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, and other supplemental insurance
  • Relocating stipend for qualifying new employees
  • Retirement Savings Plan (403b) with employer match after 12 months of service
  • Paid time off includes vacation, sick and personal days plus holidays
  • Tuition assistance program
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee short term and long-term disability insurance paid for by Zoo Atlanta
  • Opportunities for professional development paid for by Zoo Atlanta
  • Local discounts and free admission to partnering attractions
  • Complimentary family Zoo membership
  • Discounted pricing on individual and family education programs, such as Safari CampTwilight TrekNightCrawlerSurvival Safari, and much more!
  • Join the standby list for free behind-the-scenes encounters with elephants, lemurs, giant pandas, aldabra tortoises!

Who you are:

The Lead Keeper is a supervisory position that also plays an active role in regular animal husbandry. Lead Keepers are responsible for implementing departmental activities and staff training for the area. The Lead Keeper is responsible for overseeing animal welfare and husbandry, including training and enrichment. Additionally Lead Keepers are responsible for maintenance of habitats, holdings, and public areas as assigned. Working with the area curator, the Lead Keeper is required to provide and promote positive leadership in a team environment. The Lead Keeper reports to the area curators as part of a cohesive management team. For more information about our mission, animal, conservation, and research programs visit The Lead Keeper is responsible for day-to-day management of the small primates and manages, along with the curator, four primary keepers and interns throughout the year. Zoo Atlanta’s small primate department is home to 8 primate species, over 35 individuals, all living in dynamic mixed species habitats. They include 2 large mixed species African monkey exhibits, 1 mixed species lemur exhibit with 3 species, and 2 new world primate habitats. We are the only zoo in North America to house drill monkeys (1 male and 3 females) and manage one of the largest groups of Angolan colobus monkeys (11 monkeys). The small primate department also cares for 3 sloths (breeding) that live with golden lion tamarins. In the next year, we are looking to update and expand our new world primate exhibit to include additional species. We are looking for someone with positive energy to help lead the small primate team during this exciting time.

How to apply: Please apply directly on the Zoo Atlanta Careers website at


  • Must be willing to support Zoo Atlanta’s strategic plan, mission and values and work with all zoo staff to support these plans.
  • Must be able to demonstrate leadership through example by supporting Zoo Atlanta’s strategic plan, mission and values, and work with all zoo staff to support these plans.
  • Maintain a high-performance level of excellent animal care.
  • Take an active role in coordinating efforts pertaining to the care of the collection including training, enrichment, research, and education.
  • Complete behavioral management training provided by Zoo Atlanta and utilize operant conditioning and enrichment techniques.
  • Complete animal welfare training provided by Zoo Atlanta, participate in animal welfare assessments, and implement follow-through on animal welfare action items when necessary.
  • Effectively monitor health and behavior of the animal collection and communicate changes to supervisor and veterinary staff.
  • While the Lead Keeper must be able to function as a team member, they also must be willing and able to provide necessary leadership and mentoring to staff.
  • Actively support, develop, and participate in the improvement of area policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure the highest standards of care for the collection and the safety of staff and guests.
  • Maintain the highest level of safety in the work area through implementation of safety protocols and procedures.
  • Use positive interpersonal skills to form, foster and maintain professional relationships within the work environment.
  • Maintain a high-performance level of guest interactions including scheduled on-ground talks.
  • Takes action to advance and promote department function and productivity and motivates others to do the same.
  • Demonstrate initiative towards continually improving advanced keeper duties including excellent animal care.
  • Highly proficient at communicating with supervisory staff and co-workers both written and orally.
  • Oversees daily reports, logs, animal records, diets, and protocols.
  • Demonstrates the ability to positively manage keeper staff, volunteers, and interns.
  • Actively assists others in expanding and developing their job knowledge.
  • Must be able to work independently.
  • Responsible for special projects, procedures, and goals set forth by the area curator.
  • Demonstrates the ability to meet challenges with a solution-oriented approach.
  • Must set an example by being dependable and reliable: be timely, be responsive, be organized, meet deadlines, take responsibility, and help other zoo staff as needed.
  • Actively pursue opportunities to participate in workshops, seminars, activities, and conferences aimed at continually improving job knowledge and professional development with the goal of benefitting the Zoo Atlanta organization.
  • Promote communication and information sharing between the zoological community.
  • Responsible for special projects, procedures, and goals set forth by area department curator.
  • Employees must strive to decrease our environmental footprint to serve as models to our patrons to do the same through education and example.
  • Must be able and willing to work flexible hours, weekends, and holidays.
  • Must be able to be trained and carry pepper spray.
  • Must be willing to comply with department PPE policy.
  • This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive; therefore, the employee may be required to perform other reasonably related duties as assigned by management.

Experience and Skills:


  • Experience with operant conditioning and enrichment techniques is strongly preferred.
  • Must have strong written and oral skills.
  • Demonstrate computer proficiency to complete the functions of this position.
  • Must have the ability to: demonstrate focus, follow written verbal instructions, effectively promote organization, manage stress to perform the job effectively, remember details, manage time effectively, apply critical thinking techniques, analyze, and solve problems.
  • Ability to act as recapture supervisor in emergency situations.
  • Must be able to use light power tools after suitable training.
  • A minimum of 10 years’ exotic animal care experience as determined by Zoo Atlanta is preferred. Sufficient relevant experience will be considered. Paid experience at an AZA
  • Previous primate experience required
  • Previous supervisory experience preferred


  • Four-year degree in biology, psychology, or related field is preferred; sufficient relevant experience will be considered.


  • Must obtain and maintain a valid Georgia driver’s license with a safe driving record.


  • Must be able to work outdoors in all weather conditions and have the physical ability to perform strenuous work.


    This job description is not intended to be all-inclusive. Therefore, the employee may be required to perform other reasonably related duties as assigned by the immediate supervisor or other management. The company reserves the right to revise or change job duties as business requirements dictate. It is mutually agreed that this job description does not constitute a written or implied contract of employment.

    Zoo Atlanta is an EOE and provides a Smoke-free and Drug-free Work Environment

    To apply for this position, please go to our website: