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Position Description

Aquarium Animal and Conservation Manager
Working Title Chief of Animal & Conservation Programs
Department/Division Virginia Aquarium – Aquarium Research & Conservation
Job Type Full Time
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Requisition ID:
Work Location:
Museums - Aquarium (General Booth Blvd)
Pay Range:
A.21, $94,177.20 - $145,974.66
Starting Salary:
Depending upon Qualifications
Work Schedule:
Typically M - F 8-5, will be required to work after 5 and weekends as needed
Part Time Hours/Wk:
Job Open Date:
Application Deadline:

Job Duties:

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center has an exciting opportunity to contribute to our mission of connecting people to the marine environment, inspiring a more sustainable future. We aspire to be a driver in conservation, education, tourism, and sustainability, leading the charge to save wildlife and their ecosystems.

The Virginia Aquarium's Chief of Animal & Conservation Programs oversees four areas of operations; Animal Care, Advocacy & Government Affairs, Science and Research, and Sustainable Practices, providing executive guidance and assuring collaboration and integration of these areas internally and externally to achieve the Aquarium's mission. Specific duties include, but are not limited to: 

  • Collaborate with the Aquarium’s Chief Veterinarian and the Curator Manager to oversee the animal care and welfare associated with the Aquarium’s live animal collection and the stranded animal programs. Lead the team in the care and welfare for the diverse collection of resident animals as well as stranded animals associated with the Virginia Aquarium.
  • Develop, interpret, and enforce policies and procedures to assure compliance with health and safety regulations including Aquarium procedures and protocols for staff and animal collections.
  • Participate in goal setting, formulating strategies, project planning, and internal and external affairs of the department; and assist the Director in the formulation of departmental policies, plans, and objectives.
  • Oversee official stranding agreements and permits with Federal (NOAA-NMFS, USFW) and State agencies (VDWR, VMRC). Collaborate with Aquarium's Chief Veterinarian to maintain Stranding Response Program activities and investigations for Virginia marine mammals and sea turtles, including live response, rehabilitation, necropsy, disease surveillance, human-interaction investigations, data management, and reporting to the authorizing agencies.
  • Provide oversight to senior scientists on a variety of research projects and assist with authoring scientific research papers and publications.
  • Lead and position the Aquarium’s efforts to advocate and promote policy legislation in support of operational priorities and marine conservation. Build and manage strategic partnerships and support Aquarium leadership by providing advice on conservation issues.
  • Develop overall section objectives, policies, planning, and participation in conservation activities.
  • Prepare and manage the Animal Programs and Conservation budgets.
  • Monitor national conservation trends with respect to their impact on the Virginia Aquarium’s programs.
  • Coordinate meeting with outside agencies to ensure compliance with regulations and resolves situations characterized by non-compliance; prepares accreditation applications for accrediting bodies.

Founded in 1986, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center carries out important mission work to connect people to the marine environment, inspiring a more sustainable future. The Aquarium features thousands of animals representing over 300 species. With more than 800,000 gallons of aquariums, we have animal habitats, interactive exhibits, education stations, boat tours, a Nature Trail, and more. Learn more about our educations and conservation initiatives, like our Stranding Response Program, at

The City offers a generous benefits package such as health, dental and life insurance, retirement and savings plans. Other key benefits include:

  • Maternity/paternity and parental leave
  • Leave donation program
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Employee Assistant Program
  • Professional Development

Minimum Requirements:

MINIMUMS: Requires any combination of education (above the high school level) and/or increasingly responsible professional experience equivalent to eleven (11) years, including at least five (5) years in a personnel management role using the required knowledge, skills, and abilities in a related field such as aquarium or zoo administration, or marine environmental policy. Must have a current and valid driver's license. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: All employees may be expected to work hours in excess of their normally scheduled hours in response to short-term department needs and/or City-wide emergencies. Positions within this class have been designated as Alpha I positions requiring employees to work during inclement weather, regardless of the City's operational status.

Additional Requirements:

DMV Transcript:  Required
CDL:  Not Required                                       
DOT History:  
Not Required                                                 
CPS Check:  Not Required
Physical:  Not Required    
Respirator:  Not Required
Polygraph Review:  
Not Required
Psychological Screening:  Not Required

Attachments Required:  None.


Experience directing and leading the work of a Zoo or Aquarium’s animal care team; including leading an animal husbandry section.
Experience working with external communities to further environmental initiatives with elected bodies.
Experience with state, federal, and accrediting organizations as it relates to animal care, husbandry, and inspections.
Experience coordinating research projects and scientific papers for a conservation organization.
Experience overseeing the development of animal exhibits and animal holding areas.
Experience creating operational and capital budgets for major maintenance projects.

Special Instructions:

This recruitment is open until filled. Applications will be reviewed regularly and position will close to applicants upon collecting a suitable pool of qualified applicants.

As a City Manager appointee, this position serves at the pleasure of the City Manager and is not considered part of the merit service as defined in City Code, section 2-75.

Other Related Titles: Director of Animal Care, Director of Education and Conservation, Director of Animal Welfare, Chief Conservation & Wildlife Health Officer, Senior VP of Conservation, VP of Animal Care and Health, VP of Zoological Operations, VP for Conservation - Education and Life Sciences, VP for Conservation and Science, Director of Conservation, Assistant Director of Conservation - Education and Collections, Research Husbandry Manager, Director of Conservation and Research, Chief Conservation and Science Officer, Senior VP and Chief Animal Welfare Officer, VP of Animal Care - Conservation and Research, VP of Conservation, Chief Animal Conservation Officer, Senior VP of Conservation and Education, Director of Conservation and Science, Director of Conservation Programs and Partnerships, Director of Conservation - Engagement and Learning

  • Please complete the application in its entirety. The application is the primary required document used to screen qualifications and years of experience. A resume does not replace a completed application. Fields on the application left blank, including but not limited to job duties, dates of employment, and hours worked, may cause your application to be incomplete. 
  • You will not be able to access the details of this job ad once the closing date has passed.   If you would like to retain this information, please   take a screen shot or  print using your browser's printing capability.
  • ​Your responses to any "Supplemental Questions", if attached to this requisition, must be supported by the information you give us in the work experience section of this application. Be sure you are thorough in describing your skills and duties as you complete the work experience section. If the information cannot be verified you will not receive credit. 
  • Please provide a copy of any certifications or related professional licenses.


VRS Contribution:   All full-time employees are required to contribute 5% of annual salary toward their retirement account; in accordance with VRS retirement provisions. This will be handled through a pre-tax payroll deduction.  

Drug Free Workplace:  The City of Virginia Beach maintains a drug free workplace.

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