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The Living Desert

The Living Desert

Animal Care Team Keeper

Principal Function:

Support The Living Desert’s mission in desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation.

The Living Desert is seeking a qualified applicant to join our Animal Department in a full-time position as an animal care team keeper.  This is a key, animal department position that requires a motivated, dedicated team player who is willing to make a significant commitment to the organization. This requires a motivated individual with communication, decision making and organizational skills.


Reports directly to an Animal Care Manager.  Directly supervises interns and volunteers.

Position Summary:

The animal care team keeper is a front line staff position responsible within a routine for the daily care and behavioral management of a defined portion of The Living Desert’s animal collections and is responsible for the daily care of assigned animal exhibits and other associated animal facilities including, but not limited to a variety of African hoofstock, carnivores and birds.

Specific Skills:

  • General knowledge of zoo animal husbandry and observational skills.
  • Proven ability in the use of operant conditioning techniques.
  • Ability to work with potentially dangerous animals.
  • Must be capable of emergency response handling to avoid injury to self, others, and animal. 
  • Ability to remain calm and professional in the event of an unpredictable situation and follow through until situation is over.
  • Must represent The Living Desert in a professional manner, and act accordingly at all times.
  • Ability to speak in public and give animal presentations to public both informally and formally.
  • Ability to accurately enter animal daily reports using ZIM’s.
  • Good observational skills.
  • Must have strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to articulate and record observations intelligently.
  • Ability to give and comprehend written and oral instructions, and to accurately carry out such instructions.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
  • Must be a motivated self-starter who needs minimal supervision.
  • Ability to work with others in a team setting.


Prefer AA /AS or higher degree in Zoology, Biology, Animal Science or other related field with at least six months of exotic animal care experience.  May substitute training and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities. Must be energetic with good communication skills.  Applicant must be able to acquire a CA driver’s license and be insurable on TLD’s auto policy.  Must be able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds, bend, stoop, stand for long periods of time and work outdoors in a very hot desert environment. Must be able to work holidays and weekends.

Physical Description:

ESSENTIAL PHYSICAL TASKS: Standing, walking, twisting, climbing, crawling, kneeling, reaching motions, lifting up to 50lbs.

TYPICAL WORKING CONDITIONS: Exposure to extreme heat, chemicals, and dust/airborne materials. Work with potentially dangerous animals (i.e. large ungulates, carnivores, venomous animals).

HOLIDAY WORK: Holiday and weekend work required.

TRAVEL: Occasional conference and workshop attendance available, if funding available. Some or all expenses paid.

Equipment Used:

PC computer, general office equipment, telephone, radio, electric and gas cart, vehicles including medium to heavy equipment such as bobcat, tractor, pepper spray (Counter Assault Bear Deterrent), rake, shovel, wheel barrow, catch pole, capture net, baffle board, snake hook, weight scale, garden hose, small hand held and power tools such as hammer, screwdriver, drill, wire cutters etc.   

How to Apply

To apply send cover letter, resume and 3 references to: Wendy Enright, Animal Care Manager, The Living Desert, 47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, CA 92260 or by e-mail: Include in cover letter how you will help move The Living Desert forward in your role as an animal care team keeper. Please write “Animal Care Team Keeper” in subject line of email. Deadline for application materials is 24 February 2017.

The Living Desert
47900 Portola Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Phone: 760-346-5694

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