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Elephant Keeper

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo And Aquarium
Omaha, United States Posted: February 02, 2024

We are looking for an enthusiastic and driven animal care professional to join our team as our herd continues to grow! Multigenerational herd management is the core of this elephant program. Our focus is with maintaining and improving female herd dynamics, facilitating natural breeding, and providing for appropriate male social opportunities. We strive to provide the maximum amount of choice and control to our elephants with everything that we do. The elephants are managed in a protected contacted system following AZA’s Standards for Elephant Management and Care. Individuals must function as a part of the elephant team to ensure a safe and productive work environment. Duties will include but are not limited to all aspects of the daily management of African elephants including habitat cleaning and maintenance, feeding, enrichment, record keeping, behavioral observations, browse collection, general maintenance, behind the scenes tours, and husbandry training.

Responsibilities and Duties:
  • General habitat and holding area cleaning and maintenance
  • Daily removal of all feces and uneaten hay
  • Use of the bobcat to repair and improve all spaces
  • Maintaining clean and organized service areas
  • Basic equipment use and maintenance (hand and power tools and vehicles)
  • Planning, implementing, and evaluating daily resource management (hay, browse, and other food items) to improve elephant wellness
  • Detailed record keeping, following the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care
  • Collection and identification of approved browse species
  • Husbandry training utilizing positive reinforcement as assigned
  • Behavioral assessments through live observations and video review
  • Assisting with the completion of necessary husbandry and veterinary care
  • Public training demonstrations, keeper chats, and behind the scenes tours
  • Attending and participating in regular team meetings
  • Completion of Omaha Zoo’s animal trainer certification courses
  • Occasional evening event coverage
  • Occasional remote overnight video monitoring as necessary for elephant management
  • Occasional overnight hours as needed for birth/calf/EEHV management
Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • At least 2 years of paid experience in animal husbandry, preferably with elephants or other large mammals, at an AZA accredited institution.
  • A bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Biology, or related field is preferred.
  • The ability to work well as part of a team, by listening and contributing
  • An understanding of behavioral welfare and its importance
  • An understanding of behavior-based enrichment, how to implement and evaluate its effectiveness
  • The ability to follow all protocols and standard operating procedures to assure the highest level of animal welfare and safety.
  • Be able to give/receive constructive criticism regardless of prior experience
  • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal, both with their peers and all other zoo personnel
  • An ability to work in a fast paced and dynamic environment
  • Great attention to detail in all aspects of their work and record keeping
  • An excellent safety record
  • A strong work ethic
  • Strong public speaking skills
  • Basic computer skills for data entry utilizing Microsoft programs
  • All candidates are required to pass a pre-employment background check, including a drug test, and possess a valid driver’s license. 
  • A negative TB test is also required.
  • Hours may vary and successful candidates must be able to work weekends and holidays.
Working Conditions and Physical Effort:
  • Will sometimes work extended/odd hours including weekends, holidays, and some night programs.
  • Must be able to work outdoors for prolonged periods in the weather and temperature extremes common to Omaha, Nebraska.
  • Must be able to stand, sit, kneel, bend, twist, reach above head and climb.
  • Will lift, push, pull, and/or move up to 50 pounds routinely and occasionally up to 70 pounds using safe and proper lifting methods.
  • Must be able to walk long distances across the zoo.
  • Will routinely work outdoors for prolonged periods in the weather and temperature extremes common to Omaha, Nebraska.
  • The position involves working within 4+ acres of outdoor exhibit space and a 25,000 square foot elephant barn. Exposure to biting flies and mosquitos is likely.
  • Employees will be regularly exposed to water, chemicals, loud noises, dust, hay, etc.
  • Standard workday may have minimal keeper/elephant interaction
  • The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification.
  • It is not designed to contain, nor is it to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.
  • Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC.

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