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Ape Initiative

Animal Care Technician for Bonobos

We are currently seeking to fill a full time (40 hours) animal care technician position at the Ape Cognition and Conservation Initiative (Ape Initiative) in Des Moines, Iowa. Ape Initiative is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Great Apes worldwide, as well as responsible and sustainable research aimed at uncovering the evolutionary origins of human language, cognition, and behavior.

The responsibilities of the position include providing all aspects of daily care and husbandry to our bonobos including diet and medication preparation and delivery, enclosure sanitation, data collection, and positive reinforcement training.

The duties of this job also entail assisting the attending veterinarian during veterinary examination, procedures, treatments, and helping maintain medical records and clinical supplies as needed.

Candidate will be required to help with general facility activities including but not limited to constructing and preparing enrichment, facilitating educational tours, supervising and training volunteers, maintaining records, ordering supplies, as well as cleaning and maintaining facility space and equipment.

Candidate must be able to move freely about the outside of animal enclosures, operate enclosure doors and locks, and manually deliver food and other rewards to the bonobos. Once trained, the candidate will be expected to carry out duties and safely work with and around bonobos with minimal supervision. Candidate will assist in behavioral and cognitive data collection with the bonobos so a background in data collection is preferred. Candidate will be required to work weekends and holidays.

Experience Required

Minimum B.A. or B.S. in biology, anthropology, psychology, or related field. Experience working in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited facility is preferred. Previous experience working directly with non-human primates is required. Experience working with Great Apes, in particular bonobos or chimpanzees, is highly preferred. Experience working as a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant would be ideal. Basic computer skills required to fill out computer-based log systems and to assist in data entry. Candidate must be able to work outdoors in extreme weather conditions. Candidate will be required to take specific precautions against biohazards and/or be immunized against potentially hazardous agents. The successful candidate must be willing to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment, both independently, and as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes volunteers, students, and visiting researchers.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume or CV in PDF format to This position will remain open until the position is filled.  Feel free to reach out at anytime with further questions about this posting. 

Ape Initiative
4200 Evergreen Ave
Des Moines, IA 50320
Phone: 262-308-8683

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