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Animal Behavior and Enrichment Specialist

Zoo Miami
Miami, United States Posted: May 20, 2024

Zoo Miami currently has a full-time Animal Behavior and Enrichment Specialist available to be part of the Animal Wellness team. We are searching for team-oriented candidate that will be approachable, engaging, and passionate in leading and developing the Zoo’s renewed focus on operant conditioning as well as helping in the development of animal care staff and deliver exceptional customer service by creating friendly and positive interactions with all guests and co-workers. 

  • This position reports directly to the Manager of Wellbeing, Enrichment and Behavior (WEB) and is responsible for supporting and guiding staff in all aspects of management, planning, execution, and evaluation of the Zoo’s operant conditioning and enrichment programs.
Responsibilities/duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Responsible for the development, guidance, teaching, and support of Zoo Miami animal care staff in their operant conditioning efforts and behavioral husbandry management of the animal collection.
  • Assists in writing, reviewing, and guiding Behavioral Training Plans as well as assists with their successful implementation. Under the direction of the Manager of WEB, assists all areas’ Animal Care curators, assistant curators, supervisors, and keepers at all levels in their operant conditioning programs. Supports, suggests improvements, and evaluates the Zoo’s enrichment program through direct interaction with the Animal Care managers and keeper staff.
  • Educates and engages guests and provides exemplary guest service experiences to all zoo guests through various programs, activities and continuous guest interaction.
  • Supports all aspects of animal behavioral husbandry management, operant conditioning, and enrichment protocols, rules, regulations, policies and procedures, ensuring Zoo Miami complies with AZA, USDA, and OSHA standards.
  • Works directly with the Manager of WEB, Animal Care management, and keepers under the guidance of the Curator of Wellness, while consulting with the veterinary staff and the Zoo Nutritionist to prioritize and address all behavioral husbandry needs.
  • Assists in continuous goal setting and prioritization for training and enrichment projects.
  • Highly proficient in positive reinforcement operant conditioning theory, technique, and implementation with a wide range of species.
  • Assists in the design of fun, educational programs and activities that enhances the guest experience; implement positive, professional programs and activities and informal, interactive learning opportunities for zoo guests of all ages.
  • Works with other departments to develop and implement strategies that will create the best guest experience.
  • Consults in the decision-making process involving animal health and behavior to provide a stimulating, healthy environment for the entire collection within the parameters set by the Chief of Animal Science, the veterinary team, and the Zoo Nutritionist.
  • Responsible for effective communications with curators, assistant curators, supervisors, and keepers as well as the veterinary and nutrition staff.
  • Trains, coaches, mentors, and assesses area staff as it pertains to behavioral husbandry; provides ongoing, on the job training for zookeepers by providing written and oral constructive criticism and positive feedback to zookeepers in the development of their operant conditioning skills.
  • The successful candidate will have the ability to manage multiple and complex responsibilities at the same time; be timely and reliable in attendance and performance; and have the ability to work well with all levels of staff, volunteers, vendors, and guests.        
Experience Required
  • Minimum Qualifications:
  • High school diploma or GED.
  • Three years of experience in animal training in a zoological setting, park or related setting are required.
  • Must possess a Driver license.
  • Must be able to work days, nights, holidays, and weekends on a varied work schedule.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, biology, zoology or a related field and five years of experience training and caring for a wide range of species is highly preferred.
Further Comments
  • Now is a great time to join our family and be a part of Zoo Miami’s dynamic future as we strive to “To Inspire people through engaging experiences to preserve nature in South Florida and across the globe”.
  • Zoo Miami is focused on five key commitments: Conservation, Our Team, Our Animals, Our Guests, and Our Community through our core values of Welcoming, Caring, Fun, Collaborative and Dedicated.
  • Zoo Miami is proud to be active in many global wildlife and environmental conservation initiatives and is involved in over 36 projects taking place on six continents.
  • The largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida, Zoo Miami is the only tropical zoo in the continental United States, occupying almost 750 acres (340 developed), the Zoo is home to approximately 2,500 animals representing nearly 400 different species.
  • This is a full time position with excellent benefits with Miami-Dade County.

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