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Animal Care Specialist I: (Sea Lion/Otter)

Odysea Aquarium
Scottsdale, United States Posted: March 12 2023

As part of the OdySea Aquarium animal team, this position works with diverse animals including (but not limited to) California sea lions, Asian small-clawed otters, African penguins, reptiles, and small exotic land animals. A central responsibility of this position will be the operation of educational animal presentations and interactions with guests. Individual will demonstrate operant conditioning within the training department and throughout the aquarium to enhance animal welfare and visitor experience opportunities. Individual will be integral in educating aquarium guests about species survival and conservation through presentations.

  • Responsible for maintaining the highest level of animal welfare including both proactive and reactive identification, communication, and management of areas of opportunity.
  • Responsible for maintaining husbandry and behavioral training of animals in the assigned area.
  • Participate in educational animal presentations, shows, and interactive programs within the Aquarium.
  • Represent OdySea Aquarium off property through educational animal appearances at schools, media events, and other public engagements.
  • Representation of OdySea Aquarium through positive guest interactions and experiences daily.
  • Assists with implementation and execution of all department Standard Operating Procedures.
  • Assist in training and mentoring of intern and volunteer team members.
  • Participate in a cooperative working environment that promotes a culture of teamwork, positivity, inclusion, and growth.
  • Help create and implement enrichment plans for assigned animals.
  • Participate in development of exhibits and educational planning, and research and conservation activities.
  • Inspect exhibits and related facilities daily for cleanliness, safety, and structural integrity.
  • Ensure accurate and appropriate record keeping is maintained within the department.
  • Communicate effectively with the rest of the Animal Care team and departmental leadership.
  • Ensure adherence to aquarium standards and procedures and compliance with the requirements of various professional associations and regulatory agencies.  Maintain highest level of animal husbandry and training practices.
  • Build knowledge of industry innovations and progressive animal care through professional meetings and conferences, trade journals, and communication with professional colleagues.
  • Represent the Animal Care Department and OdySea Aquarium to visiting investors, professionals, guests, and media. 
  • Perform all other duties as assigned by Director.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Biology, Zoology, Marine Science or related discipline preferred, equivalent alternate experience accepted.
  • Minimum 1 year paid experience working with and training marine and/or terrestrial animals at an AZA accredited or equivalent facility.
  • SCUBA certification.
  • Excellent public speaking and showmanship experience.
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds.
  • Must be able to access animal pools, exhibits, and enclosures.
  • Must be a strong swimmer, with the ability to pass departmental swim test.
  • Availability to work evenings, weekends, and holidays, or irregular hours dictated by facility or animal needs.
  • Experience with neonate and juvenile rearing preferred. 
  • Life support experience preferred.
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time, as well as walk.
  • Ability to use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and reach with hands and arms.
  • Ability to balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, climb stairs, or crawl.
  • Required to frequently talk and hear.
  • No impairment of sight, smell, hearing, touch, balance and agility of movement which might interfere with ability to work.
  • Specific vision requirement for this job include close vision, color vision, depth perception, and the ability to focus.
  • Must be able to take directional cues directly or indirectly.
  • Ability to work in an environment that may be loud at times.
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions, including occasional extreme hot or cold, and wet and/or humid conditions.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Must exemplify core fundamentals of the Employee Promise, which states:   

  • I am empowered to take ownership of any opportunity to exceed expectations.
  • I anticipate guest needs and pay attention to the details.
  • I treat all internal and external customers with respect.
  • I am on stage! (Smile)
  • I have an attitude of gratitude.
  • I get it right the first time.
  • I display actions that are moral and ethical.
  • I always provide alternative solutions.
  • I am committed to learning every aspect of our product and services.
  • I use the 10/5 rule, 10 feet I acknowledge my guest’s presence with a smile and at 5 feet. I greet them with a courteous word.
  • I use name recognition at every opportunity.
  • I take personal responsibility for our surroundings.
  • I am accountable for my tools and resources.
  • I value the contribution of every team member.