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Vice President of Animal Care Operations

The National Aquarium
Baltimore, United States Posted: November 08, 2023

The Vice President of Animal Care Operations provides leadership and guidance for our Animal Care operations in alignment with the vision and mission of the National Aquarium and is a key role within the Animal Care & Welfare (ACW) Division and the organization. This position requires extensive knowledge of the care and wellbeing of animals in an aquarium setting. The VP is responsible for direct oversight of the curatorial team and dive program director. This includes all areas of animal care, permitting, participation in resident population planning and exhibit design, conservation and guest-facing programs, as well as dive operations. The VP partners with other leaders within ACW to develop plans and programs that enhance animal wellbeing and assists the SVP/Chief Animal Welfare Officer to determine strategic priorities and goals related to animal care and wellbeing. The VP also partners with other teams within the National Aquarium to support organizational goals and represent the interests of the animal care teams.

  • Creates and supports a work culture which is supportive, promotes teamwork, employee engagement and development, and promotes transparent communication and productive problem-solving.
  • Oversight of Dive Programs and the curatorial team, inclusive of Blue Wonders, Australia & Rainforest, Animal Care and Rescue Center, Marine Mammal, and Behavioral Husbandry, and is the senior manager for the National Aquarium’s resident population. This includes mentoring and coaching, performance management and talent recruitment and retention.
  • Demonstrates knowledge and leadership for animal care practices and provides mentorship and coaching to all animal care staff to ensure animal wellbeing and staff engagement and development.
  • In partnership with the SVP/Chief Animal Welfare Officer and other ACW leadership, develops policies that support animal care and wellbeing. This includes direct collaboration with peers in Animal Health, Animal Rescue, Life Support and Facilities.
  • In partnership with the SVP/Chief Animal Welfare Officer and other ACW leadership, develops and updates an Institutional Collection Plan which supports organizational goals of animal wellbeing, species and habitat conservation, population sustainability, and education.
  • In partnership with the SVP/Chief Animal Welfare Officer, ACW leadership, and the Planning & Design Department, develops and executes both short- and long-term animal exhibit plans.
  • Ensures animal habitats and care protocols and policies are compliant with state, federal and AZA standards and human safety standards.
  • Responsible for oversight and management of associated budgets.
  • Collaborates with other National Aquarium teams to enhance and support organizational priorities and goals, including long-term planning and sustainable operation practices.
  • Partners with the Communications and Learning & Engagement teams through development of and participation in public programs, media requests and other public-facing messaging to promote the National Aquarium’s initiatives.
  • Partners with the Philanthropy team to support donor cultivation, grant proposals and other funding opportunities.
  • Represents the National Aquarium with media, government agencies, other organizations, and AZA as needed.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the SVP/Chief Animal Welfare Officer.
Experience Required
  • Minimum 15 years of experience in aquariums or zoos leading animal care programs.
  • Bachelor of Science degree in marine sciences, biology, zoology or related field required. Advanced degrees are preferred.
  • Must possess or have ability to obtain a Maryland driver’s license.
  • SCUBA certification or ability to obtain is desirable.
  • Must have demonstrated knowledge of animal care and welfare practices, aquatic life support systems & operations, animal nutrition and animal veterinary practices in support of overall animal wellbeing.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
  • Strong leadership, team building and organizational skills, attention to detail and proven ability to handle multiple complex tasks simultaneously.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the proven ability to interact positively and successfully with all levels of the organization and community. The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.
Further Comments

Our Mission and Goals By connecting people with nature, the Aquarium drives conservation action for the benefit of people, animals and the planet. The Aquarium’s mission—to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures—begins within the walls of its buildings, but it does not end there. The Aquarium protects, enhances and restores natural resources through education and engagement, habitat restoration, animal rescue and sustainable business practices, with its conservation work guided by three overarching goals—to combat climate change, save wildlife and habitats, and stop plastic pollution.


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