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Animal Care Specialist - Aquarium/Water's Edge Team (Full Time)

Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium
Kansas City, United States Posted: June 24, 2024

The Animal Care Specialist is responsible for performing routine work assignments involving the daily care and welfare of animals within their area. This position also performs daily maintenance of animal habitats and holding areas, as well as interacts with the public to provide information related to the Zoo & Aquarium’s animal collection.

  • This is a full time position that will work with both the Zoo’s Aquarium and Water’s Edge teams.
  • This position will work with the Aquarium Team, which is responsible for the daily husbandry of over 9,000 marine organisms highlighting the diversity of life found throughout the world’s oceans. 
  • This 60,000 square foot facility follows the currents of the world, holding approximately 600,000 gallons of salt water, within 60 exhibits and holding systems.
  • The Water’s Edge Team is responsible for the daily husbandry of polar bears, California sea lions, southern sea otters, North American river otters, five species of penguins (King, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Macaroni, Humboldt), and trumpeter swans.
  • SCUBA diving, water quality testing, environmental management, and life-support maintenance will be regular responsibilities of the Aquarium Team, in addition to animal husbandry duties.
  • Duties
  • Percentage
  • Performs daily animal husbandry activities, including:
  • Preparing diets and delivering animal feedings.
  • Administering medications and assisting with various animal health procedures.
  • Observing, logging, and reporting issues concerning animal behavior, health, and welfare.
  • Training animals for basic husbandry behaviors.
  • Creating and implementing various enrichment items/strategies.
  • 40%
Completes daily maintenance of exhibits and holding areas, including:
  • Cleaning habitats, holding areas, and staff areas.
  • Performing minor repairs and improvements.
  • Reporting maintenance issues and potential safety hazards to appropriate manager.
  • Lawn and other horticultural maintenance within habitats.
  • 40%
  • Maintains daily reports and other required records.
  • 10%
Interacts with Zoo & Aquarium guests and the public, including:
  • Performing various animal chats and animal presentations, as well as assisting with special events related to assigned area.
  • Engaging with visitors to answer questions about the Zoo & Aquarium and animals.
  • 10%
  • This position may at times be requested to perform other duties or special projects as assigned, which are in the best interest of the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium. 
  • Additionally, specific duties and percentages may vary slightly between each Animal Care Team.
  • All employees must be able to perform the essential functions of this position satisfactorily and, upon request, reasonable accommodations will be made to enable employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their job, absent undue hardship.
  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, zoology, or related field desired.
  • Applicable experience can be substituted in place of formal education on a year-for-year basis for candidates not currently holding a degree.   
  • Previous hands-on experience with the care and management of similar species is desired.
  • Knowledge of animal husbandry, behavior, procedures for proper care, and training of exotic animals.
  • Strong observational skills to recognize and evaluate conditions of animal health, diets, and behavior.
  • Strong computer skills, including Microsoft Office, required.
  • Ability to understand and follow oral and written instructions, including procedures for care and maintenance of animals, habitats, service and holding areas.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Must have or be willing to obtain a SCUBA certification within six months of hire.
  • Open Water SCUBA certification from an internationally recognized certifying agency is preferred.
  • Must pass AAUS-compliant dive physical and swim test within six months of hire.
  • Dive tasks require manual dexterity and ability to safely use tools (e.g. brushes) and operate equipment (e.g. operation/manipulation of dive gear).
  • Must be willing to dive in cold temperatures and in the presence of animals (sharks, penguins, venomous fish).
  • Must have valid driver’s license.
  • Must have or be able to obtain negative TB test.
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds and have sufficient mobility to ensure a safe work environment.
  • Must be able to stand for extended periods of time.
  • Must be able to manage stress, endure high risk situations when feeding, transferring, or restraining animals, and make immediate decisions concerning the safety of animals, staff, or the public.
  • Must be able to work a flexible schedule, including weekends, holidays, and evening hours, in all weather extremes.
  • Must pass a background and drug screening.
  • $16.50/Hour

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