Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

Channel catfish use their sense of taste as a primary means to detecting food. Taste buds are found over the entire external surface of the fish, as well as inside the mouth, pharynx and gill arches.

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Jobs & Internships

Job seekers interested in permanent employment for animal care or labor/maintenance should complete a county application, located on the Onondaga County website:
Thank you.

Paid Positions - Friends of the Zoo

Go to the zoo every day and be a part of the success of one of the most beloved attractions in the region! The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is home to approximately 700 animals on 43 acres attracting more than 370,000 visitors each year and ranks among the top 10% of zoos in the nation. The Friends of the Zoo exist to provide financial support to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

Education Coordinator (Full-Time)

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo seeks a dynamic educator to join our team. The successful candidate will work with the Director of Education and Education Department team members to create and deliver programming using live animals and artifacts to engage audiences of all ages and inspire participants to protect wildlife and wild places.

Primary duties include development and growth of assigned programs, including meeting established impact and revenue goals. The successful candidate will be able to exercise effective audience management for a variety of situations, including but not limited to Pre-K settings, school classrooms, library and auditorium programs. The education team conducts programming to engage audiences from 3 to 103 years old.

Although designated programming type may change over time with this position, the successful candidate will be initially responsible for our EdVenture Academy program, Adult Twilights and the zoo's early childhood literacy initiatives. The Education program staff team work together to accomplish departmental goals, and a candidate's ability and willingness to cross train will be essential.

Applicant must be comfortable with caring for and handling a wide variety of domestic and exotic animals. This position will require regular travel throughout Central New York, including driving in all kinds of weather, and will require evenings and/or weekend hours. Applicant must be able to promote the zoo and its mission, and professionally represent the organization at all times to the general public.

Previous experience as an educator will be essential. Superior public speaking, interpersonal skills, creativity and flexibility are a must. Prior success developing and conducting educational programming is crucial. The successful applicant should have a grasp of New York State Learning Standards and Common Core Learning Standards to keep zoo programming relevant for school clients. The ability to work independently as well as part of a team is critical.

Preference will be given to candidates with:

  • Bachelor's degree in education, zoology, biology or a related field
  • Minimum of one year's experience working as an educator in a school, zoo, aquarium, nature center or similar organization
  • Experience caring for and handling domestic and exotic animals

Full-time, non-exempt position including a comprehensive benefits package.

Salary in the upper 20s, DOE.

For a complete job description, please click here.

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment.

Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

To apply:
Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume and 3 professional references to

No phone calls please!

Graphic Designer (Part-Time)

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo seeks a part-time graphic designer with a passion for telling stories visually. This position supports the marketing department with the creation and editing of print and online advertising, the zoo's member magazine, posters, flyers, invitations, booklets, brochures, large-scale displays, signage, web support and email marketing.

Must be able to work in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment and have the desire to work collaboratively.

This is a 20-hour per week non-exempt hourly position, non-benefited.

Job Requirements:

  • Must have a strong understanding of brand and advertising as evidenced in your portfolio
  • Proficiency in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Muse
  • 3+ years of recent experience in graphic design and visual communication for both print and social media
  • Strong communication skills
  • Strong color, design and layout skills
  • Full understanding of basic printing specifications
  • Ability to successfully juggle simultaneous projects
  • Proficiency and experience designing for email, online/digital display ads, websites and social media spaces
  • Bachelor's degree in graphic design or communication graphics or equivalent experience (minimum of 3 years on the job experience)
  • Must possess a valid NYS driver's license and maintain automobile insurance

Hourly Rate: $13.00 - $15.00 per hour DOE

For a complete job description, please click here.

Completion of a successful background check is required for employment.

To apply:
Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, 3 professional references and samples of your work to or mail to:

Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Attn: HR
One Conservation Place
Syracuse, NY 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, event planning and education departments. Unless otherwise noted, internships are unpaid.

Event Planning Intern

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

Animal Department Internship
Animal-related internship inquiries should be directed to Nate Stevens, at

Available blocks and applicable deadlines are as follows:



January-May 2016

December 1, 2015

May-August 2016

April 1, 2016

August-December 2016  

July 1, 2016

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, 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

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: