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The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.


Animal Care Keeper

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (TLD) is seeking an exceptional candidate to join the Animal Care team as an Animal Care Keeper. We are looking for an animal care professional with a desire to make a positive difference for desert wildlife. The animal care keeper role requires a motivated, dedicated team player who is willing to make a significant commitment to the organization.

Position Summary:

The Animal Keeper is an energetic front-line staff position responsible for providing the highest quality daily care, husbandry, and behavioral management within the “Americas” section of the zoo. This section is comprised of a large group of desert species (from a variety of taxonomic groups), which includes small mammals and carnivores including cheetah, cougar, jaguar, bobcat, Mexican wolf, foxes, and a variety of avian species and reptiles (some venomous) which covers deserts from four continents. Navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, this keeper may not be initially assigned to a defined section of the Americas area and will need to be flexible until some certainty is established as we enter the next new normal.

The role eventually will include a high level of interactive engagement with our guests.

A TLD animal care keeper is an example to others while working towards an improved future and shared vision within TLD. This position educates, engages, and provides exemplary guest service experiences for all Zoo guests through various programs, activities and continuous guest interaction as outlined by animal management and with respect to COVID-19 precautionary efforts.

Under the direction of an Animal Care Curator, this person must have the ability to make good decisions regarding the welfare and safety 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.

Specific Skills include but are not limited to:

· General knowledge of zoo animal husbandry and observational skills for a variety of taxa.

· Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals, including venomous.

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

· Ability to remain calm and professional in a variety of situations and able to effectively use communication skills

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

· Ability to speak to guests and give animal presentations both informally and formally.

· Ability to intelligently articulate observations accurately and document animal daily reports using computer ZIMS record keeping program.

· Must have strong organizational, observational and time management skills.

· Ability to give and comprehend written and oral instructions, and to accurately carry out such instructions.

· Must be a motivated self-starter who needs minimal supervision and the ability to work well in a team setting


· AA, AS or higher degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science, or other related degree. Bachelor’s degree required.

· At least 1 year of exotic animal experience. Previous experience working with a wide variety of taxonomy; reptiles, venomous, and/avian experience is a plus.

· Experience with positive reinforcement 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.

Physical Position Description:

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.

This class specification should not be interpreted as all inclusive. It is intended to identify the major responsibilities and requirements of this job. The incumbents may be requested to perform job-related responsibilities and tasks other than those stated in this specification.

To apply for this position: Qualified applicants must send resume, three (3) references and cover letter to Heather Down, 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: Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at 5pm (pst).

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