Animal Keeper (Small Mammal House)

Washington D.C.
Oct 02, 2017
Oct 02, 2017
Full Time

The closing date has been extended to September 29, 2017.

This position is located in the National Zoological Park (NZP). The purpose of this position is to ensure the proper care, feeding, exhibition, and propagation of a collection of primates, carnivores, insectivores, and frugivores at the Small Mammal House.

The incumbent of this position may be assigned to a unit within the departments of Animal Programs, Animal Nutrition, or Animal Health. The incumbent may rotate between Animal Programs and the Commissary as part of a training program or be reassigned to one of the three animal care departments depending on animal care requirements. The incumbent will perform some or all of the following duties under the supervision of the responsible curator, Commissary Manager, or clinical veterinarian. Temporary duty at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia, may be included as part of training in specific husbandry techniques for staff whose permanent duty station is Washington, D. C. Similarly, staff hired to work at the Front Royal facility may be temporarily detailed to the Rock Creek Park facility. This is the entry-level position in a career ladder to WG-9; work is performed in a training capacity to prepare the incumbent to advance to the next level in the career ladder, Animal Keeper, WG-5001-7.

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Not required

Relocation expenses reimbursed No

  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation.
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period.
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Requirements:

    PHYSICAL EFFORT: The work requires the ability to lift and carry materials weighing up to 100 pounds. The work also requires extended periods of standing, walking, bending, and stooping.

    WORKING CONDITIONS: The work is performed indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. The incumbent is exposed to dust and to unpleasant odors and noises from the animals and to cleaning solutions and other chemicals. The work is performed on concrete floors and other hard surfaces. The work may be performed in closed or cramped spaces. The incumbent is exposed to bites, scratches, and animal waste, and may be exposed to animal parasites and zoonotic diseases.

    OTHER SIGNIFICANT FACTS: The incumbent must receive immunizations to guard against zoonotic diseases and is subject to regular medical screening.

    The incumbent may be assigned to any eight hour shift and is subject to call at any time, including weekends and holidays.

    The incumbent is considered to be emergency personnel for purposes of being on call during government shutdowns due to inclement weather, Code Red terrorism alerts, and other emergency situations, to ensure adequate animal care is provided as required.

    Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the job opportunity announcement.

    For information on the Job Qualification System for Trades and Labor Occupations, see OPM’s web site at

    In order to be rated qualified, an applicant's overall experience and training must indicate possession of the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the duties of this position.

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Flexible Spending Accounts -
    Health Insurance -
    Leave -
    Life Insurance -
    Long Term Care Insurance -
    Retirement Program -

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    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    How you will be evaluated:
    Applications will first be evaluated to determine whether the following screen out element is met:

    1. Ability to do the work of an Animal Keeper by performing a full range of specialized duties that contribute to the proper care, feeding, training, exhibition, and propagation of a collection of primates, carnivores, insectivores, and frugivores.
    If an applicant meets the screen-out element, the following Job Elements will be evaluated:

    1. Ability to care for exotic mammals in a zoological or similar setting.
    2. Skill in observing animals to interpret unusual behavior, symptoms of illness, injury of exotic mammals.
    3. Skill in handling wild or exotic animals in a safe and non-stressful manner; and following animal care procedures in feeding, cleaning enclosures, and capturing and transporting wild exotic and/or endangered animals.
    4. Knowledge of the physical, environmental and behavior patterns of wild exotic and/or endangered animals.
    5. Skill in using hand and mechanical tools in order to care for animals and to construct exhibits.
    6. Ability to communicate in writing to maintain records, produce reports and record observations of animal behavior.
    7. Ability to communicate orally in order to provide information to the public in an educational setting.
    8. Skill in training animals.
    9. Skill in implementing animal enrichment programs for wild or exotic mammals.
    Applicants who meet or exceed the screen-out element will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria:

    Best Category - Meets the screen-out element and excels in most of the job related elements above.
    Better Category - Meets the screen-out element and satisfies most of the job related elements above.
    Good Category - Meets the screen-out element, but does not satisfy most of the job related elements above to a substantive degree.
    This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-veterans within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no veteran in that category is passed over to select a non-veteran in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied.
    Veterans who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher.
    Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the announcement questions will not be considered for this position.

    Important Note:
    Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience.
    Your resume should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

    To preview questions please click here.

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