The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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Keeper Aide: Andean Bears

  • Andean Bear Beorn

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is currently home to three Andean bears. Volunteers are needed to help the animal care staff clean exhibits, floors and dishes, retrieve fecal samples, prepare food, make enrichment items, and perform other tasks as needed.

Volunteers must be able to commit to one day per week for a minimum of one year. Shifts are available on Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Age Range: 




Special qualifications: 

Applicants should be physically fit and able to lift heavy objects. An interest in animal husbandry and behavior is preferred but not required. There is a no contact policy with the Andean bears.


Volunteers must complete mandatory online training as well as probationary shifts before being accepted. Additional training will be provided on the job.


Washington DC




Zoo Support

Contact phone: 


Additional information: 

These positions are highly competitive, and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by keeper staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo a background check, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a keeper aide. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations, including tetanus and a negative TB test, to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's health unit.