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Zookeeper - Cypress Swamp

North Carolina Zoo
Asheboro, United States Posted: February 10, 2024

The NC Zoo is seeking an enthusiastic team member to be part of its Cypress Swamp work unit. Species within the work unit include but are not limited to: American alligators, Cougars, Great Horned Owl, Alligator snapping turtles, Puerto Rican crested toads (breeding colony), Eastern indigo snakes and various other reptile and amphibian species, particularly those found in the North Carolina Sandhills region. There is also potential for training on additional North American native species housed in the sister work unit of Streamside. Responsibilities include the daily assessment and care of both on-habitat and off-habitat animal areas.

Daily duties also include:
  • Daily assessment, observation and care of all species in section, while following all work unit Standard Operating Procedures
  • Daily diet preparation and assessment of consumption
  • Physical plant maintenance of work unit buildings and habitats, including pest control
  • Detailed observation and monitoring of animal health and behavior
Participation in NC Zoo Behavioral Management Program :
  • Training - Implement positive reinforcement operant conditioning as the primary tool for animal training.  Provide optimal care by teaching behaviors for cooperative participation in daily husbandry care and for mental/physical stimulation.  Build trust-based relationships and allow for animal choice and control. Develop training plans and complete all associated documentation.
  • Enrichment – Develop environments that focus on the animals’ physical, psychological, and behavioral needs. Develop enrichment plans that are goal behavior driven and implement programs to elicit species-typical behaviors. Complete all associated documentation.
Participate in animal welfare assessments
  • Keep extensive records for computer database, to include daily reports, logbooks, specimen records, nesting records, Behavioral Management Program records (training and enrichment plans, enrichment calendars, etc.).
  • Guest enhancement through interaction with guests in formal and informal settings; to include Keeper Talks and participation in a variety of tours/camps/special events/etc., while presenting high quality educational and conservation messaging.
  • Build effective teamwork, maintain and facilitate open communication, cooperate with others to achieve goals.  
  • Active participation in team problem solving and the decision-making process. 
  • Maintain accountability. Maintain organization skills and attention to detail
  • Complete annual Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) Performance Plans with biannual performance evaluations of the assigned organizational goals and values
  • Provide training and coaching to new staff, existing staff and students/interns/volunteers  
  • Maintain knowledge of all NC Zoo response/emergency plans and procedures with emphasis on work unit specific responses. Follow all Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, NC Zoo, Animal Section and work unit safety policies and procedures
  • Participate in NC Zoo Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Programs
  • May be assigned to work with other animal species in other work units as needed
Job Requirements:
  • 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.
  • Required to participate in the zoo's occupational health program due to potential exposure to zoonosis.
  • Must have good physical agility, strength, vision, and hearing, and the ability to perform strenuous physical work in extremes of weather and challenging physical environments.  Such as walk, stand, see animals and habitats for observation and safety as well as hear animal's sounds, radio communication and emergency situations.
  • Must be able to frequently lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Must have, or be able to obtain, and maintain a valid NC driver's license.
  • Must be able to capture, handle and restrain live exotic and potentially dangerous animals and use associated capture equipment.
  • Job offer is contingent upon passing a pre-employment screen conducted by assigned provider.  
  • Must have excellent communication skills and be able to learn and strictly follow all safety protocols.
Department Information:
  • The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) takes care of the things that people love about North Carolina, literally from A to Z.
  • We encourage you to apply to become a part of our team.
  • Check out this amazing video about our Department. 
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities / Competencies:
  • Demonstrated hands-on animal care experience with North American reptile, amphibian, mammal and/or avian species gained from working 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 working experience of animal husbandry to include thorough working knowledge of biology, including animal anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior and safe practices around a variety of North America native taxa 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 to include visitor interactions, public speaking, reporting and/or team interactions.
Management Preferences:
  • Demonstrated hands-on experience with safe handling of adult crocodilians and associated safety protocols.
  • Current SCUBA certification
Experience Required
  • 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
  • $31,688 - $43,570

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