Director of Animal Care and Welfare; Sea Research Foundation

Job Title: 
Director of Animal Care and Welfare
Job Location: 
Mystic, Connecticut

JOB SUMMARY: Demonstrate excellent representation of the aquarium at all times through a positive, energetic, and teamwork-focused work ethic.

Direct veterinary services for the Aquarium’s animal collection and rescued animals in the Animal Rescue Program, including preventative medicine and response to veterinary concerns.

Working collaboratively with husbandry curators, play a leadership role in ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare and that nutritional, environmental, and exhibit needs of animals are met and regulatory compliance.

Facilitate multi-departmental communications as it pertains to animal health and welfare and serve as a leader on the Aquarium’s Animal Management Team and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Oversee all operations of the Animal Rescue Program, clinical laboratory, and veterinary hospital.

Supervise the veterinary team and Animal Rescue Program staff., including the clinical laboratory manager, associate veterinarian, veterinary intern, veterinary technician, and assistant manager of Animal Rescue Program.

Provide mentorship, clinical training, and oversight to veterinary students and the Veterinary Intern.

This position serves a key leadership role in all aspects of animal health and welfare.

Minimum Job Requirements: Must be willing to consistently provide internal and external customer service above and beyond expectation.


  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)/Veterinary Medicine Doctorate (VMD) degree required. Specialized internship and residency training in aquatic animal medicine and/or board certification by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM) is preferred.
  • At least 10 years of experience with health management of zoo or aquarium-maintained aquatic animals including invertebrates, fish, herptiles, birds, pinnipeds, and cetaceans required. Extensive experience with the managed care of cetaceans is preferred.
  • Ability to supervise and mentor staff is needed.
  • Experience the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals and sea turtles is preferred.
  • Strong leadership and communication skills and willingness to work collaboratively are necessary.
  • Ability to be accredited by USDA-APHIS to sign Category II health certificates preferred.
  • Qualifications for issuance of a CT state license to practice veterinary medicine and ability to hold a DEA license for controlled drugs are necessary.
  • A strong publication record with regards to clinically relevant research to advance the field of aquatic animal medicine, husbandry, and conservation is preferred.
  • SCUBA certification and/or the ability to pass a swim test preferred.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.


Responsibilities & Essential Functions:


  • Ensure the highest quality of animal care and veterinary service for the Aquarium’s 5,000 animals with a focus on preventative medicine and prompt response to any medical concerns.
  • Ensure regulatory compliance with USDA-APHIS requirements, as well as standards set by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.
  • Maintain highest standards and animal welfare through routine and prioritized animal welfare assessments and inspections of animal environments, including review of environmental parameters.
  • Manage staff in the Department of Animal Care including associate veterinarian, licensed veterinary technician, clinical laboratory manager, veterinary intern, and staff working in Animal Rescue Program.
  • Manage Animal Rescue Program operations and play a leadership role in strategic planning for the development of this program into the future.
  • Play a leadership role in animal management and collection planning through active participation on the Animal Management Team.
  • Oversee veterinarian participation on the Environmental Quality and Safety Teams.
  • Serve as Attending Veterinarian for the Mystic Aquarium Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
  • Manage the veterinary hospital, clinical laboratory, and Animal Rescue Clinic.
  • Ensure 24 hour on-call veterinary service is available.
  • Provide clinical mentorship to the veterinary intern and veterinary externs.
  • Develop and manage the Animal Care budget.
  • Oversee animal nutrition and diets, in conjunction with husbandry staff.
  • Facilitate multi-departmental communications and collaboration as it pertains to animal health and welfare.
  • Review and approve animal enrichment devices and protocols for safety prior to implementation.
  • Develop and oversee animal quarantine protocols.
  • Oversee animal acquisition/disposition including pre-shipment requirements.
  • Issue health certificates for traveling animals.
  • ,Provide for sample collection for IACUC-approved research protocols.
  • Review and approve MSDS of all chemicals used on or near animal habitats prior to use.
  • Facilitate PR opportunities focused on animal health as requested.
  • Maintain and update departmental standard operating procedures.
  • Responsible for oversight of dart pistol training and radiation safety training for staff.
  • Represent the Aquarium at professional meetings and in professional organizations.
  • Must be able to travel, as necessary. Field opportunities are encouraged.
  • Perform all other duties as assigned by Supervisor.


  • Work in a safe manner at all times.
  • Properly use, and keep in good order, all personal protective equipment (PPE) supplied to them as protection from recognized hazards.
  • Report any unsafe condition.
  • Must have a working knowledge of all Facility wide, and Department specific, safety procedures that relate to their position, including, but not limited to: Emergency Evacuation, Lockdown Procedure, and Fire Extinguisher Use.

Sea Research Foundation, Inc. (dba Mystic Aquarium) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. It is our policy to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation. Women and underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Please note that all jobs are automatically removed once the application deadline passes. Jobs without a deadline are automatically removed after 30 days.