Qualified Senior Keeper - Kent


Job Title: Senior Keeper
Responsible to: Head of Section (hoofstock)
Responsible for: Animal Husbandry
Salary: £24,585 dependent on qualification and experience

Closing Date: 7 July 2024

Principal Duties

Overall responsibility will involve

1. Duties

  • Assist with the preparation of approved diets and carrying out the correct feeding procedures
    ● Maintain high standards of hygiene, equipment care and house-keeping as routine part of daily duties.
    ● Contribute to the development of high standards of husbandry and welfare, supporting the development of innovative, enriching and aesthetic enclosures with the team.
    ● Demonstrate knowledge of husbandry, exhibition, diet, reproduction and conservation of specific species. Take responsibility for furthering your knowledge by liaising with
    experienced colleagues, or those with specific knowledge of different species. Utilise other Wildwood and external resources such as the conservation department, zoological collections or guest presenters to develop knowledge.
    ● To be able to effectively and respectfully communicate to colleagues of all levels, communicating any significant events to senior colleagues.
    ● To train and led less experienced keepers and volunteers.
    ● Assisting Living Collection colleagues, with veterinary, training, behaviour, enrichment and other relevant animal related procedures.
    ● Present relevant material at conferences or in media based situations as required.
    ● Present keeper talks as requested
    ● Familiarity and compliance with all health and safety protocols and documentation. This includes emergency procedures, risk assessment and safe working practices.
    ● Support positive visitor experiences by answering questions in a friendly and helpful manner, ensuring that visitors leave with a good impression of the Living Collections team and Wildwood as an experience. Demonstrate knowledge of the role of a modern
    animal collection in terms of conservation, research and education.
    ● As requested by the head of sections, or other departments, support broader Wildwood activities such as late evening/ weekend functions, animal encounters, PR photo calls/filming, VIP encounters, Keeper for a Day, and other Wildwood events.
    ● Inputting animal records and data onto daily record sheets and the ZIMS database etc.
    ● Support internal communication through presenting work to internal Wildwood colleagues at appropriate forums.
    ● Be collaborative with all Wildwood departments and within the wider zoo community.
    ● Some media work may be required which will involve speaking confidently and comprehensively.

NB: This job description is designed to outline a range of main duties that may be encountered. It is not designed to be an exhaustive list of tasks and can be varied in consultation with the post holder in order to reflect changes in the job or the organisation.

Skills, Knowledge & Experience

Qualifications & Experience

The successful applicant will have practical experience of working with a range of hoof stock. Skills and knowledge specific to the animal husbandry, management and care.

A Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA) qualification (or equivalent) is compulsory for this role, for internal appointment to have passed the qualified keeper attributes.


  • Familiarity and compliance with all health and safety protocols and documentation. This includes emergency procedures, risk assessment and safe working practices.
  • Ability to instruct trainee keepers, volunteers and other section guests in the above.
  • Broad taxonomic knowledge on a range of species managed within zoological collections but particularly native species.
  • Knowledge of husbandry, exhibition, diet and reproduction. Take responsibility for furthering your knowledge by liaising with senior colleagues, or those with specific knowledge of different species. Utilise other Wildwood trust resources and departments and explore opportunities for furthering knowledge.
  • Understanding of behavioural enrichment and conditioning programs and an understanding of their importance in the role of husbandry.
  • Knowledge of techniques used to handle specific animals should catch ups or veterinary procedures require this.
  • Acceptable pass rate at the qualified keeper competencies interview, to be maintained at appraisal.

Skills & Abilities

  • Ability to manage daily designated duties and an awareness of who to contact, and the appropriate method, should assistance be required.
  • Ability to demonstrate initiative and a pro-active approach to completing tasks beneficial to the section/department.
  • Ability to clearly follow instructions on tasks requested to be carried out by the section manager.
  • Flexibility is required in order to support the broader zoological collection as well as the post holder’s specific section.
  • Working with animals requires detailed levels of concentration on both noting animal behaviour and changes to behaviour as well as remembering to lock doors and close slides. The ability to tell others of your need to concentrate at specific times if disrupted.
  • An ability to carry out agreed veterinary treatments accurately as determined by veterinary staff, administering correct doses and recording appropriately for colleagues to acknowledge.
  • Have the confidence to carry out tasks independently, whilst also having the ability to work productively and successfully with a team.
  • Demonstrate a genuine love of British wildlife and a belief in Wildwood’s Mission.

Other Consideration

  • The post is advertised as a full time position. The working rota is Tuesday-Saturday or Sunday-Thursday, and will require occasional evening and bank holiday working.
  • No person shall be treated less favourably than 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.
  • Animal work frequently requires individuals to work outside of normal working hours if for example specific levels of care are required. Therefore, a flexible approach in terms of working hours is required. Working indoors in artificially high &/or humid conditions.
  • Ability to travel and attend conferences or other zoos as the position requires, in order to share knowledge, beneficial to the collection.
  • An ability to talk confidently and professionally to visitors or present ‘keeper talks’ or ‘keeper for a day experiences’ to groups of visitors.

Employment Package

  • The full-time salary for the Senior Keeper role, Kent is starting salary of £24,585 depending on experience and qualification.
  • Core working hours are 08.00-17.00 during summer and 08.00-16.00 during winter with an unpaid half an hour for lunch. This post is advertised as 38 hours per week averaged over the year, over 5 days, including at least 1 weekend day. The job may involve overtime, including some evening and weekend working as part of your
    normal duties.
  • The pro rata holiday allowance is 30 days a year, this includes statutory holidays.
  • Appointments are subject to confirmation after a six-month probation period.
  • Wildwood offers access to a stake holder pension, details of which will be supplied on confirmation in post.

Procedure for Applicants


Application is by C.V. and must contain the following information:

Name, address, contact phone numbers
Personal Statement
Employment history
Educational history

You should include a statement of the relevant skills and experience that you believe you will bring to the job, paying careful attention to the requirements of the job outlined above.

You should give two referees to whom we can turn for a confidential reference, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. References will only be taken up for those candidates chosen for interview or, with regard to current employer, on offer of contract.

Applications will not normally be acknowledged. If you would like yours to be acknowledged, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard.

Applications should be sent to Mark Habben, Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ, or alternatively email jobs@wildwoodtrust.org.

Interview & Selection Procedure
Interviews and selection tests will be held at Wildwood offices at Wealden Forest Park, Herne Common by arrangement.


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