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Associate Animal Care Specialist, Birds and Ambassador Animals

Mississippi Aquarium
Gulfport, United States Posted: March 24, 2024

It is an exciting time to join the Bird and Ambassador team at Mississippi Aquarium! We are currently in the process of building the Ambassador Program and increasing guest engagement, as well as adding several new exhibits including Beavers, Sloth, Reptiles, Amphibians, and African Penguin.

  • Mississippi Aquarium is looking for a highly motivated individual who will work well in a team setting. 
  • The Bird and Ambassador Animal Team cares for a diverse collection including, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibian species.
  • This is an entry level position, with preference given to those with some experience either working with an ambassador program or with multiple avian species. 
  • The individual chosen for this position will be responsible for all aspects of animal care, including animal health, welfare, exhibit maintenance, enrichment, training, and recordkeeping, as well as providing excellent guest engagement through daily keeper chats and encounters.
  • This position requires a candidate who is willing to be part of a team and will work to uphold Mississippi Aquarium’s three pillars of Education, Conservation, and Community.
  • This position is responsible for adhering to all aquarium safety, protocols, and standard operating procedures.                    
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Provides care for a multi-taxa collection of animals through proper husbandry protocols involving daily observations, feedings, behavioral enrichment, training, and environmental enrichment.  
  • Animals under the team include birds (a free-flight aviary housing 20+ species of birds from around the world, African Penguin, Macaws, Conures, Turacos), mammals (Two-toed Sloth, American Beavers, Three-banded Armadillo), and herps (alligators, a variety of turtles, snakes, frogs, and other reptiles).
  • Participates and supports daily guest interactions by participating in Keeper Chat’s, Ambassador presentations, and Encounters.
  • Helps communicate the aquarium’s conservation and education messaging.
  • Ensures animal health and welfare through physical and behavioral observations.
  • Maintains exhibits and keeps support areas clean, organized and safe.
  • Complies with all SOPs pertaining to daily operations and safety.
  • Maintains records in accordance with protocols or as directed.
  • Promotes conservation, animal welfare, and good stewardship in daily tasks.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.
  • Identifies and resolves problems with minimal assistance
  • Undertakes special projects as assigned by manager(s)
  •  A four-year degree in aquatic sciences, zoology, biology, psychology or related field 
  • 1-2 years of experience working at a zoo or aquarium setting or equivalent facility.
  • Experience with one or more of these above outline species is preferred.
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug screening.
  •  Multi-taxa knowledge of a large variety of birds, mammals, birds, reptiles. 
  •  Knowledge of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement animal behavioral conditioning techniques
  •  Record-keeping, collection management experience.
  • Familiarity with basic medications and administration.
  • Knowledge of proper animal conformation & body conditions, gestation/incubation periods and nutrition.
  • Excellent observation and communication skills
  •  Strong interpersonal skills and ethics that generate and sustain a positive team atmosphere and professional environment
  •  A valid driver’s license and the ability to travel if necessary
  •  Valid SCUBA certification preferred but not required.
  • Ability to work weekends, holidays, days closed due to inclement weather, and to travel for extended periods of time to perform collecting and other duties.
  • Experience in preparing and conducting public educational programs.
  • Able to lift a minimum of sixty (60) pounds.
  • Strong command of the English language, both written and verbal.
  • This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job.
  • Duties responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.
Team Requirements:
  • Safety & Security - All Team Members are required to adhere to all Mississippi Aquarium safety and security standards.
  • Attendance & Appearance - To maximize the guest’s experience, all Team Members are required to adhere to Mississippi Aquarium standard operating procedures regarding attendance and dress code policies as it relates to individual job functionality.
  • Sales & Guest Services - Our forward-thinking business model requires listening and understanding the needs of our guests both internal and external.  To that end, we must always be focused on the guest experience which is the key driver for return guest visitation and increased sales.
  • Team Partnership - All Team Members are focused on supporting each other to complete the guest experience.  Therefore, supporting, facilitating, and participating in activities that promote team effectiveness is vital to our organization.
Physical Demands & Work Environment:
  • The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 60 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to weather conditions prevalent at the time. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
  • Position will involve exposure to inclement weather, dust, potentially dangerous and unpredictable animal species, and potentially dangerous machinery, restraint devices and toxic chemicals and/or drugs. 
  • Occasional use of protective clothing or equipment is required e.g. goggles, mask, gloves, and gowns. 

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