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Director of Veterinary Services

Hiring Organization:
Save the Chimps, Inc.

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Save the Chimps is seeking a Director of Veterinary Services to join our team. We are a well-established organization with a 20-year history and are seeking a seasoned professional who is passionate about our cause and who has a track record of working collaboratively with a team of professionals and caregivers to build a first-class clinical care program. This is a wonderful opportunity to further our already compelling mission by being a key participant in the accomplishment of our strategic goals to achieve recognized excellence in chimpanzee care and to build the capacity to serve 50-100 additional chimpanzees over the next several years.

Organizational Mission and History

Save the Chimps operates the largest privately-funded chimpanzee sanctuary in the world. Located on nearly 200 acres on the Treasure Coast of Florida, the Sanctuary provides lifetime care and enrichment for chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, entertainment, and the pet trade.

Save the Chimps was established in 1997 by Dr. Carole Noon after she successfully sued the U.S. Air Force in 1997 and gained custody of 21 chimpanzees who had been utilized for the space program and research purposes. A generous donation by the Arcus Foundation, founded by Jon Stryker, enabled Save the Chimps to purchase the acreage for a permanent Sanctuary in Fort Pierce, Florida, and to ultimately rescue an additional 260+ chimpanzees. Over the course of several years, Save the Chimps relocated all of these chimpanzees from the Coulston Foundation in New Mexico to Florida in an unprecedented effort known as ?The Great Chimpanzee Migration?.

Today Save the Chimps is home to nearly 250 chimpanzees and has the current infrastructure to potentially care for up to 300 individuals. The chimpanzees are cared for by approximately 60 professional caregivers and support staff, and the organization?s operating budget is approaching $6M annually.

The Role of the Director of Veterinary Services

The Director of Veterinary Services is primarily responsible for overseeing the effective functioning of the veterinary department and for ensuring that the medical care needs of our nearly 250 resident chimpanzees are adequately met.

This position reports to the Executive Director and is a key member of the chimpanzee care team which is a collaborative partnership ? dedicated to ensuring the optimal well-being of our chimpanzees ? with the Director of Behavior and Research (focusing on the behavioral needs of our residents) and the Director of Chimpanzee Care Services (responsible for the basic daily husbandry needs and care of our chimpanzees), each of which report to the Executive Director as well.

The Director of Veterinary Services is also a member of the Senior Leadership Team which reports directly to the Executive Director and works effectively together to achieve collective results that are necessary to the accomplishment of organizational priorities and goals.

Primary Duties

The following is a list of the essential functions of the Director of Veterinary Services position. This list is intended to be representative of the tasks required of the position description, but is not all inclusive.
-Provide full-time, highest quality, veterinary care for the chimpanzees
-Oversee Associate Veterinarian and veterinary staff ensuring proper care is given to the chimpanzees at all times
-Prescribe, dose and approve medications for individual health needs
-Perform and interpret diagnostic procedures including but not limited to radiographs, laboratory tests and physical exams
-Provide medical veterinary services, including but not limited to, wound care, dental care, and all surgically related procedures
-Research primate diseases, cutting edge treatments and build and maintain contacts with specialists
-Ensure that proper medical records are maintained on each chimpanzee
-Possess full knowledge of and provide training of all medical equipment available
-Maintain an active Florida veterinary license and active DEA license
-Function as Recapture Team Supervisor when requested with knowledge of escape procedures
-Participate on the safety committee and serve as a primary responder to all codes
-Provide ongoing education to all STC staff on veterinary topics
-Be available on-call 24/7 via telephone to provide emergency medical care as needed unless out of range with prior arrangements
-Maintain proficiency in anesthesia, anesthetic monitoring and cardiopulmonary resuscitation
-Perform euthanasia and necropsies as needed

Sanctuary-wide Support

-Participate in the development and refinement of Sanctuary policies, safety protocols, and emergency procedures
-Respond to emergency situations such as severe weather, serious chimpanzee fights, non-responsive chimpanzees (including CPR as needed), chimpanzee entry into the water, and injured or non-responsive humans
-Work collaboratively with the Director of Behavior and Research and the Director of Chimpanzee Care Services
-Provide value-added participation on the Senior Leadership Team to further campus-wide initiatives
-To provide liaison to the STC Board of Directors as requested
-Represent STC as necessary and contribute to fund raising by providing tours and lectures


A Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from an accredited university is required. A minimum of five years of experience in primate veterinary medicine is also required, along with a solid working knowledge of individual chimpanzee health history and status. Prior management or supervisory experience and a demonstrated track record of building and leading effective care teams is strongly preferred. The incumbent must be willing to acquire a working knowledge of all federal, state and local laws and regulations associated with the operation, licensing and permitting of a chimpanzee sanctuary and the maintenance of laboratory, diagnostic and pharmacy administration functions. Essential professional and personal characteristics include demonstrated leadership skills, a collaborative approach to problem-solving, flexibility and compassion.

Physical/Environmental Requirements

The physical demands of the position include, but are not limited to: the ability to stand or sit for long periods of time; the dexterity to use hands to finger or feel objects, tools or controls; the ability to climb, balance, crouch, run, swim, etc.; strong sensory perception with regards to hearing, taste and smell, and complete visual acuity; and, the ability to lift 50 pounds.

The environmental demands relate to the potential for prolonged outdoor exposure to adverse conditions such as dirt, dust, pollen, odors, wetness, humidity, rain, and extremes of temperature. Proximity to chimpanzees requires tolerance of unpleasant behaviors such as spitting, throwing of feces and other objects, and displays that may include banging, kicking of structures, and loud screams or hooting. There is also the potential for exposure to infectious agents, toxic chemicals and cleaning compounds.

Contact Information:
Molly Polidoroff
P.O. Box 12220
Fort Pierce, FL 34979

Telephone Number:


E-mail Address:

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