The Living Planet Aquarium is an AZA accredited 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides the community with countless educational opportunities to understand and respect our precious Earth and its living ecosystems, from the Utah deserts and mountains, to rain forest habitats, to the planet’s vast oceans. Working at The Living Planet Aquarium is more than just a job, it is purpose-driven work. We need exceptionally talented and hardworking team members to join us on our mission of inspiring people to explore, discover and learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems. We offer competitive compensation and benefits packages including medical, dental, life insurance, disability, flexible spending account, 401(k) with match, PTO, Holiday Pay, New Child Leave, Aquarium Memberships and passes, and much more.

Position Summary:

LLPA is seeking applicants for the position of Director of Veterinary Services. The Director of Veterinary Services reports directly to the C.O.O. and will work collaboratively with the Director of Animal Husbandry to manage the health and welfare of the animal collection. We are searching for a dynamic, team-oriented candidate that is positive, motivated, and engaging, and will enthusiastically represent LLPA in all aspects of the job.

The Director of Veterinary Services will establish and grow the LLPA veterinary programs to provide excellent preventative and routine medical care.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:


  • Maintaining and continually improving a regular preventive medicine program for the animal collection including the welfare assessment program
  • Performing diagnostic testing and medical and surgical treatment for sick or injured animals
  • Performing necropsies and collecting samples for histopathology, preparing necropsy reports and analyzing findings, formulating recommendations for preventive measures
  • Preparing and maintaining required records, ensuring accuracy and professionalism
  • Managing the medical aspects of animal transactions
  • Participating in the planning and modification of the nutrition program for the animal collection


  • Providing positive leadership to the husbandry and veterinary teams to maintain and improve the preventive medicine program that includes quarantine, routine exams, disease monitoring, parasite control, vaccinations, tuberculin testing, dental prophylaxis, and periodic nutrition reviews
  • Coordinating with area curators and supervisors about animal care and health maintenance, welfare, nutrition, and breeding. Providing technical training to improve the skill level of other staff members
  • Responsible for zoonosis prevention and training. Responsible for instigating preventive measures to protect staff and animals
  • Collaborating with colleagues and local veterinary and medical specialists on clinical cases as needed
  • Teaching and mentoring visiting veterinary students, technicians, and interns, as needed
  • Interacting with Zoo guests, members, donors, the media, and internal and external clients; considerable interpersonal skills and focus on the guest experience are required
  • Participating in research and special projects, conferences, educational and training programs, and tours
  • Participating in Aquarium exhibit design process to ensure excellent animal health and welfare


  • Maintaining standards and regulations of AZA, AAZV, USDA, OSHA, and other  local, state, and federal regulatory agencies and associations as they apply to zoological institutions and veterinary programs/facilities (i.e. animal care, transport, treatment, and the handling of controlled substances)


  • Supporting AZA conservation programs and other research efforts by collecting samples and by gathering and submitting data as appropriate
  • Conducting or participating in research projects into the husbandry, breeding, welfare, behavior, or conservation of both captive and wild populations of animals
  • Participating actively in AAZV and other professional organizations (i.e. AZA, IAAAM) and forums; preparing reports and presentations for publication/delivery; remaining current on CEU requirements
  • Other duties as requested


  • Directing LLPA veterinary technician, veterinary students, and visiting/consulting veterinarians

Critical Skills and Competencies:

  • Minimum 3 years of clinical experience in a zoological setting.
  • Knowledge of a wide range of veterinary medicine and the ability to perform diagnosis, treatment, nutrition analysis, and surgical procedures for the care of exotic animal species.
  • Ability to analyze unknown problems and conditions related to the care and treatment of exotic and non-exotic animals; and determine the best course of treatment.
  • Proven ability to research and develop innovative approaches for animal health and nutrition issues.
  • Management, technical, and scientific skills related to the care of exotic animals. Experience and leadership in AZA and/or AAZV conservation and science programs preferred.
  • Must demonstrate initiative, imagination and creativity related to animal care and wildlife conservation.
  • Working knowledge of AAZV and AZA policies and procedures.
  • Exotic mammal, bird, reptile and aquatic experience preferred. Recent graduates of zoological internships, residencies, and fellowships are welcome to apply.


  • DVM or VMD or equivalent from an accredited School of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Three years minimum of exotic animal medicine experience is required, preferably in a zoological facility.
  • License to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Utah within 3 months of hire date.
  • Obtain relevant DEA licenses
  • USDA category II accreditation to certify health for interstate and international transport of animals.
  • Ability to work weekends, holidays, and occasional after-hour assignments. Coverage will be provided as needed for paid time off.
  • Preference will be given to candidates that are ACZM Board Certified or Board Eligible.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations:

  • USDA Accreditation License
  • Controlled Substances Licenses
  • State of Utah Veterinary License
  • TB Test annually
  • Membership in the AZA and AAZV
  • Valid Utah State Driver’s License required

Preferred Requirements & Experience:

Proficient in MS Office (Word, Outlook, Excel) and in-depth experience with ZIMS is preferred.

Language Skills:

Ability to read, analyze, and interpret complex documents. Ability to respond effectively to sensitive inquiries or complaints.

Reasoning Ability:

Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.

Work Environment:

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Due to the nature of responsibilities for this position, weekend, evening, holiday and on-call work is expected.

Physical Demands & Special Working Conditions:

  • This position requires periods of standing and walking as well as extended periods of sitting with technology systems and reporting. The role will primarily be within an attraction environment.
  • Periodic weekend or evening work is regularly scheduled including some holidays.
  • Considerable physical exertion, such as extensive walking, bending, stooping and regular climbing of ladders
  • Lifting of heavy objects (up to 50 pounds) on a highly frequent basis and/or assuming awkward positions for long periods of time
  • Ability to make coordinated gross motor movements in response to changing external stimuli within moderately demanding tolerances
  • Ability to make coordinated eye/hand movements on a patterned response space within low tolerance demands with no real speed requirements

While this job description attempts to describe the essential functions of the position, it does not prescribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned. It does not restrict management’s right to assign or reassign duties or responsibilities to this job at any time. The overall work environment while performing this job includes exposure to weather conditions and the noise level is usually moderate. The employee is expected to adhere to all policies and to act as a role model in the adherence to the policies.

Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce and sustaining an inclusive culture. LLPA does not discriminate on the basis of disability, veteran status or any other basis protected class under federal, state or local laws.

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