Job Postings

Animal Care Keeper – Wildlife Programs


The Living Desert

Closing Date
June 11, 2019

The Living Desert is seeking a qualified individual to join our Animal Department Team as an Animal Care Keeper. This individual will work in a dynamic and innovative team within the following areas; Wildlife Programs, WOW & Village Reptiles. This is a key performance position that requires an outgoing, creative, confident, self-motivated team player who is willing to make a significant commitment to the organization. This position requires an enthusiastic individual with strong guest engagement skills, good stage presence, and the ability to work in a fast-paced labor-intensive environment. This individual must value fun and have prior experience with animals in a show setting.

Successful candidates will demonstrate exceptional public speaking and performance skills to conduct formal and informal presentations, including a full scripted amphitheater show. This person will be essential within the area team in delivering uncompromising excellence in animal care, welfare and guest engagement.

Position Summary:
Reports to Animal Care Curator. This position also works on a regular basis as an Animal Care Keeper primarily focused but not limited to the amphitheater shows and outreach.

Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to:
Specific Keeper Tasks:
• Perform cleaning and maintenance of assigned habitats and make minor repairs when needed.
• Participates with the daily behavioral husbandry, operant conditioning and enrichment of animal collection.
• Daily cleaning of animal habitats, 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 habitats, 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 visitor safety, and in good appearance for public viewing at all times.
• Performs in daily shows and presentations both on and off site.

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 both informally and formally.
• Ability to enter accurate animal daily reports using in house computer program.
• Good observational skills.
• Must have strong organizational skills.
• Ability to record observations intelligently.
• Ability to give and comprehend written and oral instructions, and to accurately carry out such instructions.
• Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing to all levels of staff.
• Must be a motivated self-starter who needs minimal supervision.
• Must have strong communication skills and the ability to work with others in a team setting.

Working Conditions:
• Standing, walking, twisting, climbing, crawling, kneeling, reaching motions, lifting (up to 50#)
• Exposure to extreme heat, chemicals and dust/airborne materials.
• Works with potentially dangerous animals (large ungulates, carnivores, venomous snakes)
• Holiday, evening, weekend work required. Available on as needed basis for emergencies and events.
• Travel opportunities for occasional conference and workshop if funding available. Some or all expenses paid.

Education and Pre-requisites

Minimum Qualifications:
• Associates or Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related degree or equivalent of at least two years of exotic animal care experience.
• Highly professional, motivated, forward thinking individual who will build positive working relationships while demonstrating sensitivity to the “mission” of the Zoo.
• Knowledge/familiarity with AZA accreditation standards, code of ethics and representative husbandry standards.
• Ability to effectively communicate with all staff levels, Board, senior and middle management, staff, donors, volunteers and guests.
• Analytical, interpersonal, public relations, presentation and communication skills both verbal and written.
• Preference given to candidates with formal presentation experience.
• Valid California driver’s license.
• Must be insurable on The Living Desert’s automobile insurance.

Compensation and benefits


Application instructions

To apply for this position: Qualified applicants must send resume, three (3) references and cover letter to Renee Barnett, Animal Care Curator at Cover letter should include how you will be key in moving the Animal Department forward, how you will move The Living Desert mission forward and how you will be instrumental in leading this team. Deadline for submissions: Tuesday June 11th, 2019 at 5pm (pst).