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Herpetology Keeper / Senior Keeper

Employer
Audubon Nature Institute Inc
Location
New Orleans, Louisiana, US
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
May 16, 2022

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Herpetology Keeper / Senior Keeper

Audubon Zoo is seeking an enthusiastic and ambitious individual to join its Herpetology Department as a reptile and amphibian keeper or senior keeper (dependent upon experience). Audubon Zoo's Herpetology Department maintains a diverse reptile and amphibian collection that comprises more than 100 species including, but not limited to Sunda Gharials, Grand Cayman Blue Rock Iguanas, Shingleback Skinks, Texas Blind Salamanders, Psychedelic Rock Geckos, Aldabra tortoises, venomous viperids, elapids and helodermatids, and several species of monitor lizard including the Komodo Dragon. The department is involved in several ongoing research projects including a study on the urban ecology of the introduced Cuban tree frog in New Orleans and is a principal participant in the Louisiana Pine Snake conservation breeding and recovery program.

Reporting to the department's assistant curator, the herpetology keeper will be responsible for providing daily husbandry and ensuring the health and welfare of all animals under their care, as well as maintaining excellent condition of their assigned exhibits and workspaces and participating in all departmental projects and activities as needed. Candidates must have a genuine interest in herpetology and possess prior husbandry experience and familiarity with the natural history and biology of reptiles and amphibians. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in reptile and amphibian husbandry and propagation, prior venomous handling experience, excellent time management skills, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.

Essential Duties

* Utilize evidence-based husbandry techniques to ensure the health and welfare of assigned animals
* Maintain exhibits, life support systems, service areas, husbandry equipment, tools and live plants
* Maintain detailed and accurate records
* Closely observe and document animal behavior, health and welfare, reporting irregularities to supervisors immediately
* Work closely and cohesively with other members of the herpetology team and other zoo departments
* Participate in open departmental discussions and meetings
* Develop and provide novel forms of enrichment to promote natural behaviors and optimum welfare
* Assist with medical exams, procedures and treatments
* Engage visitors and the general public through keeper chats, demonstrations, media appearances, lectures, and casual interactions
* Maintain live feeder invertebrate colonies
* Assist with conservation and research activities, with opportunities to develop independent projects of their own
* Represent Audubon Zoo and its herpetology department on in-house zoo committees and task forces as requested
* Supervise and mentor herpetology interns and volunteers
* Perform all other duties as assigned

Qualifications

* Bachelor's degree in the biological sciences (biology, zoology, ecology, conservation, etc.)
* Minimum of 2 years paid professional experience working with reptiles and amphibians in a zoological park or related facility preferred

Desired Skills, Qualities and Competencies

* Demonstrated experience and familiarity with the care and breeding of reptiles and amphibians
* A clear understanding of the role that herpetology departments have to play in zoo biology
* Open-mindedness, and a willingness to consider new ideas and perspectives
* A desire to learn through collaboration, reading, and experimentation
* Previous experience working with venomous reptiles
* Excellent verbal and written communication skills
* Excellent observational skills
* Excellent record keeping skills and demonstrated attention to detail
* Demonstrated ability to work closely and cohesively with a diverse team of colleagues with different backgrounds and perspectives
* Prior experience with crocodilians, large constrictors and large varanid lizards preferred
* Prior experience with maintaining aquatic life support systems and water quality preferred
* Demonstrated technical skills such as carpentry, plumbing, exhibit design and fabrication, and plant propagation a plus
* Prior research and writing experience a plus

Physical Demands

* Ability to perform strenuous work and lift at least 50 pounds
* Ability to sit, stand, bend and stoop
* Ability to work both indoors and outdoors in a typical New Orleans climate and under field conditions (heat, humidity, plant allergens, spiny plants, biting/stinging insects, etc.)
* Ability to pass a drug test, TB test, and pre-employment background check
* Ability to work weekends, holidays and evenings as needed
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