A message from our CEO
Welcome from the CEO.
I am delighted to welcome you to the Jobs & Careers webpage for your Toronto Zoo. Our mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction. It is an important fight and a big challenge with all the threats nature is facing! We believe in collaboration and that conservation is a team sport that needs more players. Those new players are critical for us to have the big impacts required to protect species for future generations.
At your Toronto Zoo, we are committed to building an inclusive team that values each other and celebrates diversity, skills and commitment. Our team is the driving force behind our mission, and their unique perspectives and talents are critical to our success.
We are continually seeking activists who are passionate about animal welfare, conservation and are great team players. We believe in 4-cares, starting with 1) the animals in our care, 2) our staff & volunteers, 3) our guests and 4) our community and have adopted an internal brand of 1TZ (One Toronto Zoo) to bring these together.
Interested in joining us and being part of this team of world class conservation champions? Please explore our website and search our current openings for opportunities.
Dolf DeJong, CEO
In my 16 years as a Toronto Zoo keeper, each day has been different (in the best possible way). Zoo keeping is a career full of opportunities to expand one's knowledge - working with different animals, moving between different areas of the Zoo, and getting involved in larger projects with the support of coworkers and the Toronto Zoo as an organization. One of the most rewarding parts of the job is in developing relationships with animals. The time spent learning about each individual helps in teaching them to cooperate in their own care. I also love sharing those relationships with visitors during talks and tours - the personal connection helps to create lasting memories and change mindsets. Collaborations with other Zoo departments have resulted in husbandry advances, new scientific knowledge, and conservation impacts around the world. The Toronto Zoo is constantly striving to raise the bar in the care we provide our animals, and it is exciting to be part of the team that makes it happen!
Brent Huffman, Lead Keeper of Mammals
At the Toronto Zoo, we take novel and unique approaches to conservation. As the Zoo’s First Nation Conservation Steward, I work exclusively with Indigenous people and communities. Through these partnerships, I am able to advocate for the integration of Indigenous knowledge within our research methodologies; I work to protect natural spaces through the protection of Indigenous cultures.
Taylor Tabobondung, First Nations Conservation Steward
I have been fortunate enough to have worked at the Toronto Zoo in many capacities over the past 25 years. There are so many reasons to explain the WHY, of why I love working here. I love that every day, month and year have provided new challenges. I am always encouraged to be innovative and try new things, and have learned from both my successes and failures. I work with the knowledge that all Zoo teams are working together to achieve our shared vison and goals. To work with such talented, dedicated and supportive co-workers has always been a motivating factor for me. In sum, there has always been something to find joy in while working at the Zoo!
Erika Lewis, Manager, Retail & Membership Sales
The Toronto Zoo is a pretty special place to work, we have over 250 full time employees and we hire close to 400 seasonal employees every year! There are a range of opportunities available at the Zoo from roles in animal care, administration, and groundskeeping to maintenance, retail, and education. Regardless of the area, you will be a part of world class organization dedicated to connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction.
There are also many opportunities available to move around, learn, and grow within the organization, by starting your career off as a seasonal employee. Here are our divisions and areas we hire in:
Wildlife & Science is responsible for our species recovery programs, animal research as well as the health & welfare of our animals. These jobs include Veterinarians, Wildlife Health Technicians, Keepers, Reproductive Research Assistants, Nutrition Assistants and Conservation Stewards.
Facilities & Infrastructure is responsible for our physical property, plant collection and exhibits. Positions in this division include Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, Mechanics, Gardener’s, Material Collectors, Project Managers and Exhibit Design Technicians.
Strategic Communications & Guest Experience is responsible for our events, marketing initiatives and our guests. These jobs include Partnership & Event Associates, Marketing Associates as well as all of our guest facing positions such as Admission, Retail and Ride attendants.
Administration Support departments provide support to all of our areas. Departments include Finance, Purchasing & Supply, Human Resources, Payroll, Technology, Safety & Security and First Aid.
- Complimentary entry
- Ride tickets to the Zoomobile, Tundra Air and Gorilla Ropes Climb
- Employee discounts on retail merchandise
- Exclusive staff events
- Wellness programs and events, including a fitness centre onsite!
- Recognition and rewards programs
- Reciprocal Attraction benefits
- Comprehensive health and dental benefits for eligible employees
- Acres of walking paths, green space, and over 3000 animals on site
- And more!
Zoo Keeping as a Career
The educational requirements for an entry level Zoo Keeper varies, but is often a university degree or college diploma in zoology, biology or an animal-related field/animal care. Specific animal care/field experience as a zoo volunteer, intern, co-op student or veterinary hospital worker and/or wildlife rehab centre worker is very helpful as well.
Zookeeping can be a demanding job requiring dedication, commitment and patience. Keepers are required to be reliable people who are willing to learn and improve their performance in a cooperative setting throughout the entirety of their career. Concern for their animals is essential since the animals’ lives depend largely on how the keepers view their jobs. Animal keepers must be physically able to perform the required work and be in a general state of good health. Because zoo animals require daily care and maintenance, keepers’ schedules include working weekends and holidays as well as shift work at times. Zoo Keeper jobs are at a premium and some applicants may become frustrated over the initial difficulty in entering the animal care profession. Job advancement is also possible, but more limited than in some other careers requiring a university degree. Zookeeping, however, offers a unique opportunity for an individual to pursue a career that is stimulating as well as demanding, and from which one may develop a deep sense of satisfaction.
The following is a list of qualifications set out by the Toronto Zoo Board of Management for the position of Keeper, Grade 1:
- Must possess a certificate or diploma, at the community college level, in an animal related course of study or the equivalent training and experience.
- Must possess a minimum of two (2) years keeping experience in a major zoological collection.
- Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
- Must be able to produce brief but accurate reports.
- Must be able to answer questions from visitors and give educational talks.
- Must be capable of meeting the physical demands of the job, including the ability to lift 25 kg (55 lbs).
- Must possess a demonstrated interest in and desire to work with and learn the proper care of animals in captivity and to make the public aware of conservation.
- Must have working knowledge of Workplace Hazardous Information System (WHMIS) legislation, Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and Toronto Zoo Safety Policy.
- Must possess the ability and willingness to work in a team setting.
- Must be able and willing to work, shifts, weekends and holidays.