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Animal Care Supervisor

Animal Care Supervisor

Position Summary:

The Animal Care Supervisor is an energetic, front line supervisory position responsible for assisting the Animal Care Curator in managing area staff and animal collection. This position is primarily responsible for the organization of the animal commissary ensuring the highest quality of diets and supplies for The Living Desert’s animal collection, and is responsible for helping to oversee the enrichment program. This position will also help to move the animal training program ahead under the guidance of the Animal Care Curator.

This position also performs the functions of Animal Care Keeper and able to follow instructions from Animal management. The Animal Care Supervisor must demonstrate significant knowledge of husbandry practices, be able to lead and mentor staff in the performances of these practices. Must demonstrate strong leadership skills which include being a role model and an example to others while working towards an improved future and shared vision within TLD and the Animal team.

This person must have the ability to make good decisions regarding the welfare of animals, staff and guests while working for the greater good of the zoo. This person will support the Zoo in our mission “to support desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation” and will help the Zoo achieve a forward thinking vision of a modern zoo and inclusive culture. This person must be a cooperative and collaborative team member with a great guest service attitude.

Specific Skills:

Deliver uncompromising excellence in animal care, welfare and guest engagement

Liaison between management and keeper staff as needed. Is honest and forthcoming to Animal management with information regarding accomplishments, issues and challenges

Provide mentorship to animal care keeper staff

Dietary observations with a knowledge of nutritional requirements for desert species

Natural behaviors knowledge of desert species and able to apply it to provide a thriving goal based enrichment program

Participate in amending and updating standard operating procedures and protocols in a timely manner

Training staff on area SOP’s, ensuring protocols and policies are being followed

Develop and initiate engaging animal programs and interaction with guests of all ages

Provide leadership in emergency situations while remaining calm

Supervise and provide direction to Animal Care Keepers in absence of Animal Care Curators

Assist Animal Care Curator as needed in support of area tasks/projects including but not limited to: ordering of supplies, animal procedures, animal programs, scheduling and communication to other TLD staff

Assist and implement protocols, diet revisions, enrichment designs and habitat improvements that encourage natural behaviors

Assess on a regular basis assigned animals’ level of performance to ensure a set number of animals for programs, as determined by Animal Care Management

Train, assist and supervise work of staff/volunteers/interns and ensure their safety while performing these duties, under direction of Animal Care Management.

Ensure assigned areas, are in good appearance paying attention to detail for guest viewing, animal/keeper/guest safety and accreditation ready at all times.

General Skills:

General knowledge of zoo animal husbandry and observational skills.

Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals.

Must be capable of emergency response handling to avoid injury to self, others, and animal.

Ability to remain calm and professional in the event of an unpredictable situation and follow through until situation is over.

Must represent The Living Desert in a professional manner, and act accordingly at all times.

Ability to speak in public and give animal presentations to public both informally and formally.

Ability to enter accurately animal daily reports using in house computer program and be knowledgeable with ZIMS

Must have strong organizational, observational and listening skills.

Ability to give and comprehend written and oral instructions, to accurately carry out such instructions and record observation intelligently.

Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally, in writing and present to a variety of groups.

Must be a motivated self-starter who needs minimal supervision as well as ability to work in a team setting.


AA, AS or higher degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related degree and at least one year of exotic animal experience. Bachelor degree preferred.

Experience with animal enrichment and training for public presentations a plus.

Will substitute training and experience that provides the required knowledge, skill, and abilities. Generally, one year of full time exotic animal experience will translate to one year of college.

Valid California driver license.

Must be insurable on The Living Desert’s automobile policy.

Working Conditions:

ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL TASKS: Standing, walking, twisting, climbing, crawling, kneeling, reaching motions, lifting up to 50lbs.

TYPICAL WORKING CONDITIONS: Exposure to extreme heat, chemicals, and dust/airborne materials. Work with potentially dangerous animals (i.e. large ungulates, carnivores, venomous animals).

HOLIDAY WORK: Holiday and weekend work required.

TRAVEL: Occasional conference and workshop attendance available, if funding available. Some or all expenses paid.

To apply for this position: Qualified applicants must send resume, three (3) references and cover letter to Christine Montgomery, Animal Care Curator at Cover letter should include how you will be key in moving the Animal Department forward, and how you will move The Living Desert mission forward. Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, May 1at 5pm (pst).

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