Director of Animal Wellbeing

11 Sep, 2022


Director of Animal Wellbeing

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Silver Spring, MD

General Statement of Position

Under general supervision, directs and supports the Association’s animal wellbeing and welfare initiatives. Responsibilities include overseeing the implementation of AZA’s Strategic Framework for the Wellbeing of Animals, facilitating development of welfare-related tools and resources, promoting applied welfare-related research among AZA member organizations, and building capacity throughout the AZA community on management strategies that enhance animal wellbeing, animal health, and population sustainability.

The Director of Animal Wellbeing will work in partnership with other AZA staff, AZA’s Animal Welfare Committee and other relevant committees, Scientific Advisory Groups, Animal Programs, task forces, and AZA’s Accreditation Commission, as well as external animal welfare-focused groups and academic organizations.

This position reports to the Senior Vice President of Conservation, Management, and Welfare Sciences, and is based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Essential Position Functions:

·      Responsibility for AZA’s Strategic Framework for the Wellbeing of Animals, including developing an implementation work plan, managing related work streams, ensuring that the objectives are incorporated into AZA committee and animal program operations and strategic plans.

·      Serve as Staff Liaison to the Animal Welfare Committee, and work closely with its members to manage and execute the Committee’s strategic plan.

·      Partner with AZA’s communications team to execute the Animal Wellbeing Communication Strategy, including assisting in the development and delivery of key messaging.

·      Oversee and manage AZA’s granting program focused on applied science and education related to animal care and wellbeing.

·      Assist the AZA community in defining a common culture of animal wellbeing in the AZA community, including incorporating external voices into the dialogue, leading the development of a white paper to be disseminated to the community.

·      Collaborate with stakeholders to develop new templates, processes, and guidelines for the AZA Animal Care Manuals (ACMs), and manage their submission, review, and publication.

·      Manage the submission, review, and publication of Ambassador Animal Guidelines (AAGs).

·      Collaborate with AZA Animal Programs and the Population Management and Reproductive Management Centers to identify management strategies that will enhance the wellbeing of animals in concert with a focus on animal population sustainability.

·      Work with AZA Accreditation Commission, through the AZA Accreditation Department staff, to consistently review and revise accreditation standards, policies, and processes surrounding animal wellbeing.

·      Liaise with AZA’s Accreditation Commission, through AZA Accreditation Department staff, to maximize communication regarding implementation of welfare practices, and advise on the development of new, and any needed revisions to existing, training materials for accreditation inspectors.

·      Work with AZA staff to evaluate and develop relationships and collaborations with appropriate animal welfare organizations and international zoological associations.

·      Collaborate with education and professional development colleagues to identify professional development needs and opportunities, and assist in the development of new resources and curricula to enhance the community’s knowledge and application of animal wellbeing and welfare science.

·      Assist AZA Government Affairs and Communications departments on legislation, regulations, and media inquiries related to animal wellbeing.

·      Participate and represent AZA in national and international meetings and workshops.

·      Identify and pursue appropriate grant-funded research projects.

·      Assist departmental staff with special projects.

·      Perform other duties as requested.

Required Qualifications:

·        Well-developed interpersonal skills; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff and members of the AZA community.

·        Strong commitment to, knowledge of, and experience in animal care and welfare.

·        Strong project management skills.

·        Highly skilled in critical thinking and interpreting scientific information for various audiences.

·        Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and confidence in speaking publicly to a variety of audiences.

·        Experience collaborating with scientific professionals, with a motivational style that is collegial and team-oriented.

·        Computer literacy required; experience with Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel programs preferred.

·        Ability to work independently and efficiently.

·        Willingness and ability to travel domestically and internationally.

·        Experience working with the media a plus.

Minimum Training and Experience:

·      Master’s Degree in the biological, welfare, or closely related, sciences, preferred.

·      At least 5-7 years’ experience closely related to animal care, welfare, or management.

·      Experience managing numerous multi-faced projects simultaneously.

·      Previous experience with zoos and aquariums or related organizations is a plus.

How to Apply

Please send cover letter and CV to

Job posted: 2022-09-11