Sea lion keeper / trainer

Organization: Turtle Back Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: West Orange, NJ, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Turtle Back Zoo is seeking two qualified candidates for the position of full time keeper/sea lion trainer. Located on 20 acres in West Orange, NJ, Turtle Back Zoo is home to over 700 animals. Turtle Back Zoo is completing a 6 million dollar state of the art new sea lion exhibit as well as an attached touch tank exhibit featuring rays and sharks. The sea lion exhibit will feature a 100,000 gallon salt water system and will house both sea lions and seals.

Essential Functions

• Participates in the primary care and training of the marine mammal collection.

• Maintain marine mammal exhibit, fish exhibits and other areas as assigned.

• Maintain all life support systems for marine mammals and fish.

• Participates in all areas of marine mammal husbandry and programming.

• Participates in behavioral enrichment.

• Prepare food and feed according to established procedures.

• Observe animal behavior and report unusual/abnormal behavior to supervisor.

• Assist Veterinarian during marine mammal medicals.

• Maintain all feeding, behavior, training and medical records.

• Adhere to all USDA/APHIS regulations.

• May enter exhibits by use of SCUBA equipment to clean exhibitry, provide animal care, and/or feed.

• Abide by all zoo Policies and Procedures as outlined in the Employee Manual.

• Adhere to all Animal Husbandry Policies and Procedures as outlined in the Marine Mammal and Animal Husbandry Manuals.


• Advanced knowledge of the maintenance, training and husbandry of pinnipeds.

• Knowledge of USDA/APHIS regulations.

• Knowledge of pinniped biology, physiology and behavior.

• Knowledge of fish husbandry preferred.

• Knowledge of advanced life support systems for marine environments

• Skills in public speaking and programming.

• Open Water SCUBA certification.

• Strong swimming skills and ability to pass swim test.

• Ability to use data processing equipment, i.e. keyboard, printer.

• Ability to perform and interpret water quality testing.

• Ability to work evenings, weekends, holidays as required, including the ability to work a rotating shift as assigned.

Any combination of education and experience which would likely produce the required knowledge, skills and abilities; a Bachelor's degree in biology, zoology, psychology or related field preferred. A minimum five years professional experience in pinniped husbandry and training required.

Working Conditions:

Work is performed both in- and outdoors, in a variety of weather conditions. Physical ability to lift up to 60 pounds, walk, stoop, bend, reach, and to perform strenuous duties while both in and out of water is required. May be subject to bites and stings by animals.

Special Qualifications

• Willingness to work overtime and be available for emergency work

• Must be able to work weekends and holidays

• Understands the physical and health related risks inherent to working with wildlife and zoo animals

• Able to work as a member of a team as well as individually with minimal supervision

Please email cover letter, resume, list of three people to contact for reference, and contact information to: . Please put “Sea lion keeper” in the subject line.