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Animal Care Float Keeper

The Living Desert Zoo And Gardens
Palm Desert, United States Posted: April 04, 2024


The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens Animal Care Keeper is responsible for providing the highest quality daily care, husbandry, and behavioral advancement of a defined portion of The Living Desert’s (TLD) animal residents and habitats.


  • The Animal Care Department is expected to support the Zoo in its mission “to support desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation.” 
  • The team embraces a forward-thinking vision of a modern zoo and inclusive culture.
  • The Animal Care team strives to be a strong, cohesive team working to deliver uncompromising excellence in animal care, welfare, and guest engagement while working for the greater good of the zoo and its mission.
  • Each Animal Care Keeper is encouraged to lead from where they are, bring innovative ideas forward and provide a high level of well-being for each individual in their care.
Animal Care Float Keeper
  • The float keeper will work with the Curators and Assistant Curators of African Safari, Rhino Savanna, Australia, Americas, and Wildlife Connections in the husbandry and care of animals across the Living Desert.
  • This position will train in all areas of the facility, making communication, problem solving, and excellent animal care standards a must.
  • Duties will include, but are not limited to, learning the husbandry and care of mammals, reptiles, birds, and invertebrates, using operant conditioning in the behavioral husbandry of animals to improve their wellbeing, communicating the mission of the Living Desert to guests through public keeper connections, maintaining records, using USDA guidelines to prepare diets. There is flexibility & potential for other projects dependent on the keeper’s areas of interest.
  • This position reports directly to the Assistant Curator of Behavior & Wellbeing but interacts with staff in all areas.
  • This posting is a summary of the typical duties of the role, not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all possible job responsibilities, tasks, and duties.
General:
  • Must represent The Living Desert in a professional manner
  • General knowledge of zoological animal husbandry, natural history, and observational skills
  • Ability to use critical thinking skills to trouble shoot issues and reveal solutions to move the animal team forward
Husbandry:
  • Diet/meal preparation, feeding and restocking of feed supplies as needed and as prescribed
  • Daily cleaning and general maintenance of animal habitats, service areas, holding units, and support areas utilizing various tools, instruments, disinfectants; and with the ability to do so safely 
  • Continue education on the animal residents; research scientific journals, create environments that induce breeding and welfare goals and recommended habitat design options
Behavior:
  • Participates with daily behavioral husbandry, operant conditioning, and enriching experiences of the animal collection
  • Condition behaviors for animal management and welfare advancement, and educational programming according to accepted training culture
Communication:
  • Ability to provide and accept feedback professionally and effectively
  • Strong organizational and communication skills with the ability to accurately report daily information written, orally and with computer programs
Guest Engagement:
  • Excellent guest service and communication skills for effective and engaging public speaking;
  • Gives knowledgeable and engaging tours/talks for guests, staff, and donors
  • Participate in guest education programs on or off-site, formal, and informal animal presentations, scheduled and impromptu keeper talks and provide accurate, effective, and engaging presentations; Assist Animal Care Curator or Director of Animal Care with development of connection messaging
Safety:
  • Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals under the Two Key/Two Lock/Two Keeper and Lock Out Tag Out Engineering Control systems
  • Must be capable of emergency response handling to avoid injury to self, others, and animals
  • Ability to remain calm and professional in the event of an unpredictable situation and follow through until situation is over
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.
Experience Required
  • AA, AS,BA, or BS degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related degree preferred.
  • One year of exotic paid animal experience is also preferred 
  • 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 or the ability to obtain one
  • Must be insurable on The Living Desert's automobile policy
  • Must provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 including booster if eligible
Perks
  • Benefits:
  • Paid time off and sick leave
  • Employee health care package covered by TLD
  • Yearly stipend for work footwear
  • Opportunity to participate in 8hrs of TLD conservation project work
Salary
  • $18.67/hr

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