Job Postings



Buffalo Zoo

Closing Date
July 5, 2019

Basic Purpose and Responsibility:
Life Support Apprentice Operator (LSAO) is responsible for learning and helping the main Life Support Operator (LSO) with the operation and maintenance of life support systems and parameters within the Animal Department. This is an apprentice position working 14-21 hrs/week. Apprentice positions are short-term, typically for 1-2 years.

Essential Functions*:
Primary accountability for:
• Under direction, the Life Support Apprentice performs routine work assignments involving the life support systems throughout the Zoo. This includes ensuring all systems are functioning properly and overseeing day-to-day operations to assure proper water quality, clarity and chemistry. Work areas will include polar bear, sea lion, North American River otter pools/LSS areas, Rain Forest Wetlands/Anaconda pools/LSS areas, primate and general animal pools with filtration systems, cichlid aquarium, and Amphibian and Reptile Center water tanks/LSS areas.
• Under direction, the Life Support Apprentice will be responsible for general maintenance and operation of all life support systems, including:
1. Backwashing and pump basket cleaning for all pools and aquariums.
2. Maintaining daily checklists for all life support systems.
3. Following cleaning and preventive maintenance schedule for all life support area equipment, including pumps, filters, meters and ozone systems.
4. Performing equipment function checks and calibrations.
5. Working closely with LSO to ensure timely ordering of parts, equipment and supplies, such as salt, chemicals and testing kits.
6. Reporting maintenance issues and potential safety hazards to the LSO and Curators.
7. Performs and records various water samples and testing and acts upon results, if necessary.
8. Maintains and keeps proper records in all life support areas.
• Help maintain safety equipment and be able to follow proper Zoo safety standards.
• Under the direction of the LSO help maintain the proper inventory and quantity of materials, supplies, and equipment essential to the efficient operation of LSS systems.
• Work with keepers and other departments to meet LSS goals.
• Attend relevant staff meetings.
• Support other Zoo departments by providing data and assistance with LSS projects.
• Follow all protocols and complete all required records and documentation.
• This position may at times be requested to perform other duties or special projects as assigned, which are in the best interest of the Buffalo Zoo.
*The list of essential functions is not exhaustive and may be supplemented or changed as necessary.

Special Skills this position will expand on:
• Familiarity with design and operation of freshwater and salt-water aquatic life support systems for a variety of taxa including marine and aquatic mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish.
• Build a strong working knowledge of close loop filtration systems, motors, and water chemistry.
• Learn about with the equipment and operation of plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and refrigeration systems.
• Experience with LSS equipment, vehicles and related maintenance equipment.
• Expand on a working knowledge of personal computers and software applications.

Education and Pre-requisites

Position Qualifications:
To perform at a proficient level and be fully qualified, a person would be expected to have:

Education (Minimum Needed):
• Minimum two-year degree or professional certification in a relevant field.
• Formal or independent work in the fields directly related to exotic animal husbandry, display, research, Life Support systems, etc. (internships, externships, etc.)
• Interest in a career with Life Support Operations and/or Aquatic systems is recommended.

• Experience at an accredited AZA institution in animal care, aquatic systems, life support operation, etc. is highly regarded.
• Some direct experience/familiarization with aquatic or LSS operation is recommended.

• LSAO will be required to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays.
• TB Test conducted annually.
• Must possess or be able to obtain within 30-days of employment a valid New York State driver’s license and have an average or better driving record based on the evaluation process of our insurance company. Retention of position is contingent upon maintaining required license.

Compensation and benefits

Not specified.

Application instructions

If interested, please submit resume and cover letter to Dave Brigham, Buffalo Zoo, via Use subject line: Buffalo Zoo Part Time LSAO. Attachments are to be formatted: Last name first name Cover Letter.Doc or PDF, and Last name first name Resume.Doc or PDF.

This is a part-time, non-exempt hourly non-union position. Equal Opportunity Employer. The Buffalo Zoo is an At Will employer and All Buffalo Zoo employees are subject to employment eligibility and background security checks as well as testing for illegal substance use as allowed by law.