Animal Keeper Specialist - Elephants
General Summary: The Animal Keeper Specialist 1 (“Trainee”) will provide care and maintenance of the animals and their associated exhibits and holding areas. Achieving and maintaining this position will be contingent upon the elephant Animal Keeper Specialist 1 maintaining a satisfactory safety rating and performing successfully on written and practical skill assessments based on key duties and responsibilities on a semi-annual basis as outlined in the Elephant Staff Training and Skill Level Program document. This position and all requirements are specific to the staff engaged in the regular and direct care of elephants in the elephant area as is required under the AZA “Maximizing Occupational Safety of Elephant Care Professionals at AZA-Accredited and AZA Certified Facilities” policy.
• Observe changes in animals’ appetite, disposition, habits, and in physical appearance and/or excreta to detect indications of stress or illness;
• Inspect enclosures, fencing, pools, and furniture for cleanliness and/or structural defects and to perform minor repairs as needed;
• Prepare diets for animals, clean and fill water containers, and place food in exhibits at specified times;
• Clean facilities, exhibits, and associated animal areas according to the area protocols or as directed by management;
• Transfer animals in accordance with departmental policy and standards from one enclosure to another for husbandry purposes;
• Provide species appropriate and approved enrichment to animals;
• Assist in data collection for approved research projects;
• Provide routine maintenance of facilities and minor repair of equipment, exhibits, and all associated animal areas;
• Maintain familiarity with all animal recapture and restraint equipment;
• Capture and restrain animals for routine veterinary, emergency, training or husbandry, and management procedures;
• Assist with medical care procedures and administer medication as directed;
• Provide general maintenance of grounds in and around exhibits and associated facilities;
• Act as a member of the Animal Recapture Team as needed and directed;
• Drive to specified locations as needed;
• Perform other duties as assigned; and,
• Adhere to all policies and procedures of the Zoo.
• Read the S.T.A.R.S. manual and observe the zoo’s elephant Animal Keeper Specialist 2 (or above) staff demonstrating the S.T.A.R.S. system.
• Learn and demonstrate proper understanding and execution of training techniques and tool use.
• Learn the 20 standardized exercises in the S.T.A.R.S. manual and can carry them out successfully.
• Understands the zoo’s policies and procedures regarding the elephant program and zoo protocols to follow during emergencies.
• Begin learning and participating in husbandry procedures including but not limited to foot care, blood collection, enemas, body exams, restraint, stretching exercises, skin care, ultrasounds, etc.
• Learn bath routine and begin learning to safely move elephants into and out of the barn at normal times, begin to perform elephant exercise routines.
• Recognizes both normal and atypical behavioral responses from the elephants on both a health and social basis.
• Familiar and proficient with all aspects of daily barn routine (both cleaning and care of the animals). This includes safety procedures, diet preparation, routine building repair, pen sanitation, facility assessment, gate operation, exhibit maintenance, pool cleaning, manure removal practices, etc.
• Demonstrate knowledge of chain construction techniques, proficiency with maintenance tools, proficiency with elephant specific tools (guides, restraints, chainfall, straps, hydraulic restraint, etc) and knowledge of the use of ropes.
• Learn record keeping system for elephant area including daily diary, keeper reports, enrichment logs, daily health logs, pest control logs, foot care records and all AZA required documentation.
Communication (Internal and External):
• Maintain reports on all animal conditions in daily reports, diary, records, etc.;
• Provide regular updates to the Area Manager on the condition and status of the animal collection;
• Attend Zoo general staff meetings and departmental meetings;
• Interpret the Zoo to guests, donors, and zoo associates;
• Attend all staff training sessions as directed; and,
• Promote the mission of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
Management of Resources (financial, human resources, facilities):
• Unload and store commissary items; and,
• Maintain equipment and tools in a good state of repair.
• Bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, or related field preferred.
• Two years of paid or unpaid species specific animal experience excluding pets;
• Must possess a valid driver’s license; and,
• Must be familiar with computer operations including Microsoft Office programs and data entry.
• Ability to work with a wide variety of individuals from ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds;
• Ability to operate both independently and as part of a team in a productive and efficient manner with proper time management skills;
• Extremely well organized;
• Self-directed, collaborative, and detail oriented; and,
• Possess a positive attitude and a general philosophy/outlook in line with the Zoo’s mission.
• Must be able to operate a variety of machines and equipment including computer, telephone, radio, and vehicles, hand tools, animal restraint and capture devices, incubators, gardening/carpentry tools and machinery, computer, scales, etc.
• Must be able to exert up to 50 pounds of force occasionally, 25 pounds frequently and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects. Physical demands are in excess of those for sedentary work; must be able to remain on feet for periods of time, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, push, pull, climb, balance;
• Must be able to lift 75 pounds with assistance and 50 pounds unassisted as needed;
• Must be able to travel large areas of the Zoo on foot as needed;
• Ability to work a flexible schedule to include weekends, holidays, and special events;
• Must be able to stand and remain active for an eight hour shift;
• Must be able to work in an outdoor weather environment in all seasons and weather, including heat/humidity, cold temperatures, and/or wet conditions;
• Must be able to climb a ladder carrying up to 15 pounds;
• Exposure to zoonotic diseases and risk of animal attack;
• Exposure to potential environmental hazards such as poison oak/ivy, uneven terrain, and insect bites/stings; and,
• Initial tuberculosis (TB) test and physical required;
The statements above are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities,
duties and/or skills required of all personnel so classified. Therefore, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed when circumstances change.
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