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Elephant Zookeeper

North Carolina Zoo
Asheboro, United States Posted: March 27, 2024

The NC Zoo is seeking an enthusiastic team member to be part of its Watani Grasslands section working with African elephants. Responsibilities include the daily assessment and care of elephants both on-habitat and off-habitat animal areas. 

Daily duties also include:
  • Systematic observation of animal health and behavior. Participation in a behavior focused program that utilizes trust-based relationships, animal choice and control, and positive reinforcement operant conditioning to work cooperatively with the elephants to provide optimal care.
  • Participation in the Elephant Care Specialist staff development program which is based on proficiency.  The program provides a framework for learning and the ability to achieve greater opportunities and responsibilities for improving the care and management of the elephants.
  • Development and implementation of a holistic behavioral management program which utilizes training, enrichment, variability, and research to provide a dynamic environment for optimal welfare.
  • Heavy lifting of hay, grain, manure, substrates, etc.; heavy duty cleaning and scrubbing is a routine occurrence.
  • Record keeping for computer databases.
  • Participation in NC Zoo programs, to include: behavioral management, enrichment and Environmental Management System (EMS) programs.
  • May be assigned to work with other animal species in other work units as needed.
Position/Physical Requirements:
  • Job offer is contingent upon passing a pre-employment screen conducted by assigned provider.  
  • Required to participate in the zoo's occupational health program due to potential exposure to zoonosis.
  • Must be able to work a rotating schedule that involves working weekends, holidays and after regular work shifts.
  • Position is considered "Essential/Mandatory Staff" requiring work on adverse weather days and during zoo emergencies.
  • Must be able to capture, handle and restrain live exotic and potentially dangerous animals and use associated capture equipment.
  • Must have the ability to perform strenuous physical work with alertness to surroundings in extremes of weather and challenging physical environments with or without an accommodation .
  • Must be able to frequently lift up to 50 lbs. with or without an accommodation.
  • Must have, or be able to obtain, and maintain a valid NC driver's license to drive a state vehicle.
  • Learn about the NC ZOO: https://www.nczoo.org   
  • Learn about employee perks/benefits: https://oshr.nc.gov/state-employee-resources/benefits 
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities / Competencies
  • Demonstrated hands-on animal care experience with elephants and/or large potentially dangerous animals at an AZA accredited zoo, sanctuary setting or related facility to include the following:             
  • Positive reinforcement based operant conditioning
Environmental enrichment
  • Observing and understanding the complexities of animal behavior, including individual animals and larger social context
  • Demonstrated experience of animal husbandry to include thorough working knowledge of biology, including animal anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior and safe practices around dangerous animals and mammals gained from working at an AZA accredited zoo, sanctuary setting or related facility.
  • Demonstrated experience with record-keeping.
  • Demonstrated experience using computers and MS Office.
  • Proven communication skills such as visitor interactions, public speaking, reporting and/or team interactions.
Minimum Education and Experience Requirements
  • Some state job postings say you can qualify by an “equivalent combination of education and experience.” If that language appears below, then you may qualify through EITHER years of education OR years of directly related experience, OR a combination of both. See oshr.nc.gov/experience-guide for detail. 
  • Bachelor's degree in biology, zoology, natural sciences,
  • or related curriculum from an appropriately accredited institution and
  • one year of experience working in a zoo-based or related animal care facility;
  • or
  • an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • https://oshr.nc.gov/state-employee-resources/benefits

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