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Great Plains Zoo

The Great Plains Zoo is a progressive, mid-sized Zoo with a collection of more than 1,000 animals representing 139 species including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and insects. Additionally, the 45-acre Zoo also serves as a regional rehabilitation facility for raptors and native wildlife. As one of the top attractions in South Dakota, the Zoo welcomes more than 300,000 visitors each year and educates 40,000 children through a multi-pronged education program.

Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator

The Great Plains Zoo is currently seeking an energetic and self-motivated individual to join the Education Department as an Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator.  This team lead position is responsible for training ambassador animals and staff in preparation for wildlife programming and presentations.

The Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator will function as a team lead for the Education Department and will, along with the Education Services Manager, be responsible for training and skill building with education staff and volunteers.  This position also encompasses skilled professional and technical work in the routine daily care and training of assigned animals, enclosures and related facilities of the Zoo’s Ambassador Animal Collection.  In addition to animal training and husbandry duties, the Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator will conduct education programming, including participating in and conducting on-grounds animal presentations, classroom teaching, ZooMobiles, special marketing events, and other wildlife demonstrations. The Ambassador Animal Training Coordinator will be expected to interact and interpret with visitors in a positive manner. The Ambassador Animal Collection includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.  The current Ambassador Animal Collection consists of about 50 animals (34 species).

Experience Required

Bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences or Educational areas (biology, zoology, psychology, Education, etc.) or a related field is preferred. An equivalent level of education and experience will be considered. Demonstrated knowledge and experience with animal husbandry. Demonstrated knowledge and experience using operant and classical conditioning and animal handling techniques. A minimum of one year training experience working with multiple species is preferred (e.g., animal shows, public presentations, free-flight training, wildlife demonstrations, etc.). Demonstrated understanding and ability to apply scientifically based animal training techniques including strong demonstrable skills using positive reinforcement strategies to train and maintain husbandry and show/presentation behaviors. Demonstrated leadership experience is preferred. Strong public presentation skills while working with live animals is required. Candidate must be comfortable with guest interactions and in delivering public presentations in a variety of settings. Must be able to work a flexible work schedule including being able to work holidays and weekends, both regular and irregular hours as required. Must maintain a valid driver’s license.

How to Apply

Additional information, full job description, and employment applications can be found at: If you are interested in this position please send your résumé and completed employment application to: Lisa Smith Senior Director of Animal Programs

Great Plains Zoo
805 S. Kiwanis Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 54104
Phone: (605) 367-8313
Fax: (605)367-8340

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