Job description

Duke University:

Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.


Reports to: Curator, Living Animal Collection (CLC) & Curator of Behavioral Management & Welfare (CBM&W)

Supervises: Husbandry Technicians

Work Study Students

Husbandry Interns

Collaborates with: DLC Senior Managers

DLC Animal Welfare Committee

BASIC FUNCTIONS: The Duke Lemur Center (DLC) is part of Duke University, a Research I university. The DLC is a specialized center with a focus on non-invasive research, conservation breeding, education of students and the general public, and conservation work in Madagascar. The Assistant Curator assists both the CLC and CBM&W with program development, implementation and problem solving. The Assistant Curator will oversee the day-to-day operations of the animal care and welfare program to ensure best practices are maintained on a daily basis with every animal. The Assistant Curator will support DLC staff to ensure best practices in all aspects of animal care, welfare, research and management.



  • Lead by example by demonstrating a strong and consistent positive attitude, assumption of positive intent with all co-workers and an appreciation for team-based collaboration and success.
  • Maintain excellent communications and collaborations with all DLC departments.
  • Promote a spirit of teamwork, professionalism and enthusiasm among DLC staff.
  • Open to exploring new ideas and methods that strengthen the DLC as a leader in prosimian care.


  • Run morning meetings, coordinate tour, research, development departments’ requests for daily access needs to the colony, behind-the-scenes and NHEs.
  • Coordinate animal care department’s daily activities with other departments
  • Create animal care technician schedules and section coverage to ensure all operations are properly staffed
  • Collaborate with the DLC Registrar for support when creating technician schedules, and for compiling animal data to explore trends in the current colony.
  • Write annual reviews for animal care technicians (include input from CLC, CBM&W, and other departments as needed)
  • Ensure all supplies are ordered on a timely basis
  • Ensure all financial transactions and required documentation are completed and submitted within the required time period.
  • Ensure all animal care, records are current and completed with appropriate detail
  • Implement tier program; work proactively with Curators to modify and develop as needed
  • Address performance issues with animal care technicians in a timely manner; carefully document all interactions, conversations, expectations and outcomes. Work with Curators and Director when considering corrective action.
  • Assist animal care technicians with time management issues to ensure all responsibilities (branching, room cleaning, training, record keeping, assessments, enrichment, etc.) are completed as required.
  • Assist the Curators with the process to maintain and renew the DLC’s certification as a related facility in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
  • Assist Development Officer with fundraising efforts and proposals.
  • Contribute to scientific grant proposals at request of Director and other senior staff.
  • Travel relating to professional activities.

Colony Management:

  • Identify opportunities to optimize animal care and welfare and minimize or eliminate stressful components of the animal care program
  • Troubleshoot and manage any social issues and incompatibilities
  • Help technicians prepare for breeding and birth season activities to maximize successful reproduction, infant survival and rearing of infants by dams while maintaining compatibility within social groups.
  • Implement animal moves within the DLC based on the ICP and breeding and transfer plans developed by the CLC.
  • Work closely with the primate technicians to oversee introductions on-site, and to respond to issues in group social interactions.
  • Communicate regularly with other DLC departments: Operations, Husbandry, Veterinary, Research, Education & Tours, Student Projects, Development & Communication, particularly as colony management activities affect day-to-day/month-to-month access; identify strategies to support the goals of these departments when colony access is needed.
  • Management of group dynamics when animals are brought to vet department
  • Identify and document unwanted, inconsistent or behaviors of concern. Coordinate behavioral management plans with CBM&W
  • Working with the Animal Welfare Committee, develop new animal husbandry and management protocols as needed.
  • Assist the Curators, Maintenance Supervisor and Duke facilities with facilities maintenance issues to ensure timely resolution.
  • Lead and implement planning for emergencies (and conducting required emergency drills).
  • Work closely with CBM&W to identify opportunities to utilize operant conditioning to promote voluntary cooperation with animal care, animal management, veterinary and research procedures.
  • Work collaboratively with both Curators to address: intros with behavioral challenges, behavioral management of infants separated or rejected from dam, the presence of behaviors of concern and/or managing protracted tension in groups.
  • Assist with the management of free ranging animals in the Natural Habitat Enclosures (NHE) to ensure their success, in addition to managing the radio collar program (inventory, testing, troubleshooting, animal selection for collars, and training of placement of collars).


Experience and Skills

  • Minimum 3 years’ experience supervising a team of animal care professionals.
  • Minimum 2 years’ experience in animal collection management (some primate experience preferred) or equivalent experience.
  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience caring for animals in a zoological setting.
  • Experience collaborating with AZA program (Taxon Advisory Groups, SSPs)

  • Job duties require advanced knowledge of a specialized field
  • Excellent communication and team-building skills.
  • Excellent speaking ability with small and large group of VIPs, stake holders and media
  • Work requires excellent attention to detail and organization.
  • Ability to adapt to diverse work situations and to adjust to shifting priorities.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects at the same time and meet firm deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and in complex group settings

Minimum Qualifications


Bachelor's degree in Zoology, Biology or a related field. Master's degree preferred.


Minimum 3 years' experience supervising a team of animal care professionals plus 2 years' experience in animal collection management (some primate experience preferred) or equivalent experience. Experience collaborating with AZA program (Taxon Advisory Groups, SSPs).

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.




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Job No:
Posted: 10/15/2020
Application Due: 1/13/2021
Work Type: