Spectacled Bear

Spectacled Bear

The spectacled bear gets its name from the distinctive rings of white or beige fur around its eyes. These markings stand out against the rest of the bear, which is usually black or dark brown, and look like eyeglasses (or spectacles).

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Jobs & Internships

Job seekers interested in permanent employment for animal care or labor and maintenance should complete a county application, located on the county website: http://www.ongov.net/employment/jobs. Thank you.

Paid Positions

Jungle Café Manager

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo seeks an experienced full-time food services manager. The successful candidate will be responsible for all operational aspects of an onsite multi-location quick service food service operation to include:

  • Menu development, costing and analysis
  • Purveyor relations and the procurement of food, paper and related supplies
  • Staff recruitment, training and scheduling
  • Compliance with NYS and local health codes
  • Preparing and monitoring department budget
  • Implementing cash and inventory control policies and procedures
  • Providing exceptional customer service

Applicants are required to maintain a flexible work schedule that will include one weekend day per week and may include some evening and early morning hours. Must be capable of resolving problems quickly in a fast-paced work environment.

Desired qualifications:

  • 3+ years quick service restaurant manager experience
  • Prior experience with high school and college students as staff
  • Understanding of Department of Health and Department of Labor codes and requirements
  • ServSafe Managers Certification

Background check completion is a requirement for employment.

This exempt, full-time position includes a salary in the low to mid $30s DOE, and a comprehensive benefits package.

Click here to view complete job description.

Please email your cover letter, resume and three business references (Word or PDF attachments only) to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: Employment
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, N.Y. 13204

No phone calls please!


Interim Sales and Event Coordinator
(maternity leave coverage)

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo's event entity, Catering at the Zoo, is seeking a dynamic, high energy and experienced sales & event coordinator responsible for organizing and managing a wide range of events including conferences, seminars, workshops, banquets, fundraising events, wedding ceremonies and receptions.

The successful candidate will have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of event planning including logistics, catering, marketing, sales and presentation. Responsible for all aspects of event execution including menu planning, room setup, décor and audio visual support. Must be capable of resolving problems quickly while providing excellent customer service. Duties will also include administration of online and reservation sales web software. Applicants are required to maintain a flexible work schedule that will include early and late hours to manage events.

  • This position is to cover maternity leave.
  • This position is based on a 40-hour work week but candidate must be flexible with days/hours depending on scheduled events.

Desired qualifications:

  • Associate's degree in a related field; bachelor's degree preferred
  • Combination of experience and education equivalent to the above

Completion of a successful background check is required.

Compensation: approximately $12.00 per hour DOE

Click here to view complete job description.

Those meeting the above qualifications and interested in working in one of the area's most unique environments, please email your cover letter, resume and three business references (Word or PDF attachments only) to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn:  Employment
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, N.Y. 13204

No phone calls please!


Gift Shop Manager/Buyer

Friends of the Zoo seeks a talented, experienced full-time store manager/buyer who is creative and self motivated with a proven track record of success.

You will be responsible for all operational aspects of the store including:

  • Cash control policies and procedures along with inventory management
  • Personnel management, recruitment, training and scheduling
  • Purchase and sale of merchandise lines with a strategy to maximize sales
  • Visual merchandising
  • Department budgets and related Purchasing Plan and Open to Buy Plan
  • Providing visitors with the highest level of customer service and sales assistance

This position requires a candidate who is proficient with data and statistical analysis in order to identify and achieve desired sales goals.

Desired Training and Experience:

  • Bachelor's degree in merchandising or related field and/or proven sales experience
  • Three years of experience working in a year-round and seasonal environment retail operation and shop management
  • Previous experience in high customer volume and associated sales
  • Experience in retail buying with strong supplier management and negotiation skills
  • Previous experience in staff management

Click here to view complete job description.

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment. 

This exempt, full-time position includes a competitive salary in the low- to mid- $30s DOE, and a comprehensive benefits package. A 40-hour workweek includes one weekend day with occasional extra hours as needed.

Please send your cover letter and resume with three business references (Word or PDF attachments only) to employment@rosamondgiffordzoo.org or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: Employment
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, N.Y. 13204

No phone calls please!



The Rosamond Gifford Zoo and Friends of the Zoo offer animal-related internships, as well as internships in our marketing, public relations, event planning and education departments. Unless otherwise noted, internships are unpaid.

Graphic Design Intern

The graphic design internship provides college-level students with practical learning experiences in the areas of advertising and graphic design. This internship supports the zoo's marketing department with projects such as print and online advertising, posters, flyers, booklets, brochures, large-scale displays, signage and web support. The intern will also assist with tasks and activities that support marketing initiatives and special event promotions to increase public awareness and excitement for the zoo and its programs. Internship is unpaid.

Applications are accepted year-round. Please submit your resume, cover letter and portfolio samples via email to Maria Simmons, director of marketing, at msimmons@rosamondgiffordzoo.org. Now accepting applications.

Event Planning Intern

Event planning internship inquiries should be directed to Jim Mahler, director of food & beverage, at jmahler@rosamondgiffordzoo.org. Internship is unpaid.

Animal Department Internship

Animal-related internship inquiries should be directed to Nate Stevens, at nstevens@ongov.net.

Available blocks and applicable deadlines are as follows:



January-May 2015

December 1, 2014

May-August 2015

April 1, 2015

August-December 2015   

July 1, 2015

Blocks may be flexible depending on student need.

The purposes of Rosamond Gifford Zoo's intern program are:

(1) to provide practical, on-the-job experience
(2) to provide exposure to zoo operations and zoo careers

Interns are supervised and instructed by permanent, full-time zoo employees. A member of the department to which the intern has been assigned will serve as the intern's mentor.

Interns are required to keep a journal and complete a management project during their term. They will complete such readings and written assignments as may be required by the department to which they have been assigned. Schedule will be agreed upon in advance.

The internship term is generally 12-14 weeks with a minimum of 12 hours per week or 4 weeks with a minimum of 40 hours per week. Interns will work on a flexible schedule, which may include some weekends and holidays. The internship term and schedule is variable and may be adjusted to meet student needs.

Interns may arrange for course credit with their school advisor. Rosamond Gifford Zoo's animal managers can certify successful completion of internships and will issue a grade transcript to all interns completing the term.

Interns will receive no monetary compensation during their internship.

Interns can be dismissed for unacceptable performance of duties/responsibilities and/or for non-compliance with Rosamond Gifford Zoo regulations and procedures.

Requirements for Application

  • All applicants must be minimum of 16 years of age. 
  • All applicants must have an overall 2.5 grade point average.
  • All applicants if accepted must submit written results of a negative intradermal tuberculosis test within the last year prior to the start of their internship. 
  • All applicants must have verification of an up-to-date tetanus vaccination.
  • Only completed application packets will be considered. A complete packet includes the following:
  • A standard application form.
  • A letter from the applicant detailing what he/she hopes to gain from the program, and how the internship relates to past experience, future plans, career goals.
  • A resume including education and relevant experience.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals evaluating the applicant's aptitude, preparation, and suitability to the program.

These requirements are to be collected by the applicant and sent as a complete packet to Nate Stevens at nstevens@ongov.net, or mailed to the following address:

Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attention: Animal Department Internships
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

Complete application packets for internships must be received by the deadline for the desired block listed above. Any applications received after the deadline date will not be considered. Incomplete application packets (missing any of the items noted 1 through 4 above) will not be considered.

Following the deadline for application submission, all packets will be reviewed by animal managers. Within 2-3 weeks after the deadline, all applicants will be notified whether or not they have been chosen for an interview. Interview arrangements will be made with selected candidates. After the interview process, prospective interns will be informed if they will be placed in the program. At that time, an animal area will be assigned and the schedule finalized.

For further information, please contact us at (315) 435-8511 x100 and ask for the appropriate person (as listed above).

Click here to download an Animal Internship Application.

Job Shadowing

All inquiries regarding the Job Shadow program should be directed to John Moakler, collection manager, at johnmoakler@ongov.net.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Job Shadow program offers a unique opportunity for high school students in grades 10-12 to experience a day in the life of a zoo employee. The student will spend up to one full day (8 hours) following an employee through their normal workday, helping perform their daily duties or observing when an activity requires. There may be some hands-on work with animals, under very close supervision of the keeper. Students will not be left alone with any animal at any time. If the student has a special interest in a particular animal or aspect of zookeeping (e.g. training, diets, etc) an effort will be made to accommodate the student. Job shadow candidates are accepted January-June and September-December.

Please review the following protocols established for the job shadow. If you have any questions, please contact John Moakler at (315 ) 435-8511.

  • Applications for job shadows with Parental/Guardian Permission Slip should be submitted to the zoo 4 weeks prior to the desired shadowing date.
  • If a shadowing arrangement is possible applicants will be contacted to schedule the job shadow. The work time will be scheduled by your mentor assuming approval of the shadow.
  • The shadow should have an up-to-date tetanus vaccination and must have a copy of written results of a negative intradermal tuberculosis (TB) test from within the last year, prior to the job shadow experience.
  • Minimum age: sophomore in high school. The shadow must be  responsible, and exhibit good judgment and common sense. College students interested in a zoo career should apply for an internship.
  • The shadow must be able to take and follow directions.
  • Experience with animals (including dogs and cats) is recommended, but not required. However, students with a strong fear of animals should work in a non-animal department.
  • Students should reconsider this program if they are allergic to hay, dust, or animals.
  • Appropriate clothing must be worn. Dress for outdoor weather and getting dirty. Students will be working in wet conditions and should wear sturdy shoes, boots or sneakers. 

Click here to download a Job Shadowing application.

Click here to download a Parent/Guardian Permission Form.

Please mail completed application to:

John Moakler
Collection Manager
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
1 Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 13204

FAQ: Zoo Keeping as a Career

“Zoo keeper” is a term used to describe an individual who cares for animals in zoological parks or aquariums. A career as a zoo keeper offers a unique opportunity in the specialized and demanding profession of maintaining exotic animals for conservation, research, public education and recreation.

Interested in becoming a zoo keeper? The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) has a comprehensive document which will give you a better idea of what the profession entails and information to start you on the road to making this a career. You can access the information by clicking on this link: https://www.aazk.org/zoo-keeping-as-a-career/