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Animal Care Keeper- Greater Africa

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 Greater Africa Keeper
  • The Greater Africa keeper oversees animals located throughout the zoo and supports the Animal Department’s culture of providing conservation connections with our guests through demonstrating the natural behaviors of the animals. The Greater Africa area is comprised of a variety of ungulates, birds, and some carnivores distributed through two sections, Rhino Savanna and African Safari.
  • This team member should foster enthusiasm, demonstrate strong guest engagement skills, have an energetic presence, and be able to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • The Animal Care team is expected to demonstrate skills in both formal and informal presentations throughout the park and taking time to interact with guests.
  • We are looking for candidates that mesh with the Greater Africa team with a position opening on both the Rhino and Safari halves.
  • A successful candidate will work with all Africa area animals including black rhinoceros, giraffe, African painted dogs, various birds, and other ungulates.
  • Join us in improving animal care through forward thinking programs such as our black rhino multi-species habitat and our extensive giraffe management/training program.
  • Depending on experience and skills, successful candidates may have the opportunity to specialize in one of the six strings to help focus on moving our habitat/ecosystem management philosophies forward.
  • All Greater Africa keepers have the goal to be cross trained in all animal sections to help move breeding, training, management, and well-being goals forward.
  • 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
Experience Required
Qualifications:
  • 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
  • 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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