VP, Animal Care & Welfare

The National Aquarium is searching for a dynamic and progressive leader to take on the challenge of a newly created position, Vice President of Animal Care & Welfare. Reporting directly to the Executive Vice President/Operating Officer, this individual will be responsible for directing all activities of the Animal Care and Welfare group, including Husbandry, Animal Health & Welfare, Dive Programs, Animal Rescue and Animal Care Research.

This individual will provide strong leadership to develop a new vision for animal care and welfare, oversee the planning and development of the National Aquarium's animal acquisition program and partner with Planning and Design team to maintain our reputation as a leader in animal display. This critical position will also maintain, develop and improve institutional partnerships with governmental, academic, non-profit and corporate communities to reinforce our presence as a science-based institution actively seeking to make progress towards our urgent mission.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Serves as an advocate for animal welfare across the institution. Chairs the Animal Welfare Committee.
  • Develops, and implements short and long-term strategies for animal care, exhibits, and collection planning.
  • Develops, implements and reviews animal acquisition and disposition plans.
  • Work with Philanthropy Department to write grants to support the work of the Animal Care Group.
  • Recommends and manages relevant capital improvement projects.
  • Oversees budget management for all assigned groups.
  • Exhibit Development and Maintenance – Provides husbandry input in the exhibit development process. Ensures that exhibits contribute to institutional mission and guest experience goals. Ensures exhibits are well maintained in terms of animal care and guest appeal.
  • Advocates for animal care staff engagement in the guest experience.
  • Professional development – Ensures that animal care staff are educated in husbandry, safety, and health care practices and facilitates their participation in opportunities for professional growth and skill development.
  • Compliance – Ensures compliance with relevant state and federal regulations concerning animal care and welfare, exhibition, and acquisition. Ensures that all required permits and licenses (e.g. animal care, safety, environmental, controlled substances) are obtained and kept current. Ensures compliance with the AZA standards for animal care and animal facilities.
  • Best practices – Maintains knowledge of industry innovations, new techniques, and best practices through participation in meetings, conferences, journals, and regular communication with professional colleagues.


  • Minimum of 15 years' experience in a zoo or aquarium leading Husbandry and/or Animal Health & Welfare
  • Minimum of 5 years' experience as Director or General Curator of aquatic exhibits
  • Driver's License and SCUBA Certification desirable.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and demonstrated ability in aquarium or zoo exhibit management and management of live animal collections.
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
  • Strong leadership, team building and organizational skills, attention to detail and proven ability to handle multiple complex tasks simultaneously.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the proven ability to interact positively and successfully with all levels of the organization and community.
  • Sound professional knowledge of biology and husbandry concepts, with an ability to apply to an aquarium setting.
  • Knowledge and understanding of:
  • All facets of aquatic animal care (e.g. disease prevention, exhibit fabrication, life support systems and water chemistry)
  • A wide range of aquatic animal (vertebrate and invertebrate) taxa.
  • Advanced life support systems

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.


The work environment at the National Aquarium is high-energy and high-performance. The pace is very fast, and change is constant. In those ways, it is not like some traditional nonprofit workplaces where work responsibilities may be predictable and unchanging, or expectations unclear. Here, we hold ourselves to very high expectations. Ours is a stimulating workplace that attracts unique and energetic people. It's also a culture of continuous improvement, which means we're constantly seeking to move from good to better to best.

The reason for this is the urgency of our mission. We are focused on changing the way humanity cares for our ocean planet. Our mission and communications are rooted in evidence-based science. We are at the center of Baltimore's renaissance, a major player in restoring its iconic Inner Harbor, and deeply committed to inspiring our guests to become "hope-filled conservationists" on a national and international scale.

If you believe this is the kind of environment where you could thrive, we want you on our team. If your talents and our culture are a match, we will invest in your success and you will grow in ways you never imagined.


Recently named one of Baltimore's Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city's Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world's aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation's two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening.

Today, the National Aquarium builds on a 36-year history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Welfare and Science teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.


Interested and engaged applicants should apply through our website http://aqua.org/jobs. Requests for reasonable accommodation can be made by e-mailing [email protected]

Meet Some of National Aquarium's Employees

Curtis B.

Conservation Project Manager

Curtis works with Baltimore students and community members participating in conservation projects. His goal is to empower Chesapeake Bay Watershed residents to become environmental stewards of their own communities.

Chris N.

Manager Of Life Support

Chris oversees mechanical operations at the Aquarium. He ensures all water filtration systems are functioning properly—maintaining water quality is a vital part of the animals’ care.

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