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Senior Animal Keeper

Position Summary:
The Area Senior Keeper is a supervisory position responsible for assisting the Area Animal Care Manager in managing Africa area staff and the African area animal collection. This position also performs the functions of Animal Keeper and is able to follow instructions from Animal management. Senior Animal Keeper 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. 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.

• AA, AS or higher degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related degree and at least three (3) years of exotic animal experience.
• Experience with animal training and 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.

Specific Senior Tasks, Duties & Responsibilities:
• 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
• Observation and reporting on all assigned animals to Animal Management
• Dietary observations with a knowledge of nutritional requirements for assigned species
• Natural behaviors knowledge of assigned species
• Participate in amending and updating standard operating procedures and protocols in a timely manner
• Training staff on area SOP’s, ensuring training protocols of staff and animal 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 Keepers in absence of Animal Care Manager
• Assist Animal Care Manager 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 breeding protocols, diet revisions, exhibit designs and exhibit maintenance
• 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
• Assist in acquisition/de-acquisition of animal collection by crate training, crating of animal, loading, transportation and shipment.
• Train, assist and supervise work of volunteers/interns and ensure their safety while performing these duties, under direction of Animal Care Management.

Specific Animal Keeper Tasks, Duties & Responsibilities:
• Oversee and participate in the daily behavioral husbandry, operant conditioning and enrichment of animal collection
• Daily observation of animal collection for injury, illness, aggression, stress, breeding activity, diet intake and fecal consistency
• Daily cleaning of animal enclosures, service areas and holding units, and support areas utilizing various tools, instruments, disinfectants; and with the ability to do so safely
• Diet preparation, feeding and restocking of feed supplies as needed and as prescribed
• General maintenance of exhibits, service/support areas and holding units such as: fence/enclosure repair, decoration, mister system, automatic drinkers, shade cloth, fill holes etc.
• Maintain assigned areas and holding units to ensure animal, keeper and guest safety, and in good appearance paying attention to detail for guest viewing at all times
• Capture and restraint of animals for shipping/loading or routine/non-routine medical procedures; captures animals by hand, net, catch pole, or by corralling them under direction of Area Animal Care Manager or Director of Animal Programs
• Familiar with USDA & AZA regulations & complying with them.
• All other animal keeper tasks as needed.
• Provides assistance to other departments as needed.
• Other related responsibilities as necessary to accomplish department objectives.

General Skills:

• General knowledge of zoo animal husbandry and observational skills.
• Must be a motivated self-starter who needs minimal supervision
• Must represent The Living Desert in a professional manner, and act accordingly at all times.
• Must have strong organizational and time management skills and ability to be flexible.
• 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.
• Excellent observational skills.
• Must have effective communication skills and the ability to work with others in a team setting.
• Ability to give and comprehend written and oral instructions, and to accurately carry out such instructions.
• Ability to record and articulate observations intelligently using Zims record keeping system
• Ability to speak to guests and give animal presentations both informally and formally.
• A complete job description is available upon request.

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

Equipment Used:
PC computer, general office equipment, telephone, radio, electric and gas cart, vehicles including medium to heavy equipment such as bobcat, tractor, pepper spray (Counter Assault Bear Deterrent),rake, shovel, wheel barrow, catch pole, capture net, baffle board, snake hook, weight scale, garden hose, small hand held and power tools such as hammer, screwdriver, drill, wire cutters etc.

To apply, send cover letter, resume and three references to Wendy Enright, Animal Care Manager at Please include how you will be key in moving The Living Deserts mission and the animal department forward in your cover letter.
Deadline for submissions: Saturday September 23rd, 2017.

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