Assistant Curator of Wildlife
Division: Wildlife Department
Classification: Salary, Full Time Employee with Benefits
Pay Scale: Dependent on experience
Reports To: Curator of Natural History
Supervises: Seasonal Wildlife Specialists, Interns, and Volunteers
The High Desert Museum is a non-profit organization focused on the biotic and cultural elements of the High Desert region of the Western United States. Located near Bend, Oregon, on the edge of the beautiful Deschutes National Forest, the Museum melds the natural history of diverse habitat types with human history of the environment into a unique blend of indoor and outdoor exhibits, living history, and living collections. The Museum maintains about 325 animals of 57 native species of varied taxa, from invertebrates and reptiles, to raptors, bobcats, otter, and lynx. Public education grounded in documented science is a core value of the Museum. A portion of the Museum’s living collection is dedicated to public programs where trained captive wildlife is exhibited in a natural settings; providing visitors with up-close encounters with species of the High Desert.
We are seeking an Assistant Curator of Wildlife to provide all aspects of training for the Museum’s wildlife (avian and mammal) collection and responsible for day-to-day execution of all programs. Experience caring for and training collections in a zoo (or other educational institution), research, or private setting is key. Experience in falconry and/or related raptor husbandry and training is emphasized. In addition to performing training and husbandry duties, the ACW will also conduct public education programs associated with the collection. The Museum emphasizes scholarship: the successful candidate will have a familiarity with wildlife research techniques and current scientific literature and will incorporate this knowledge into training, care and husbandry and programs as well as ongoing regional monitoring efforts of priority wildlife.
The Museum requires a high level of interaction between wildlife staff and visitors – contributing positively to the visitor experience is a central part of the position. The position requires a high degree of interpersonal skills and the ability to thrive in a team environment. A positive demeanor, high level of professionalism, and the ability to learn new skills quickly are essential traits.
• A Bachelor’s Degree in a biological or wildlife science or related discipline, including behavioral science.
• 5 years practical experience in the animal field; emphasizing raptor training, husbandry, and public programs.
• An equivalent combination of education, training, and experience which provides the required skills, knowledge and abilities may be accepted.
Avian and Mammal Training:
• Must have experience training or handling captive wildlife, especially raptors species of North America.
• Familiarity with husbandry, care, and housing standards of trained birds and mammals.
• Be able to demonstrate application of operant conditioning (emphasizing Positive Reinforcement) for the purposes of demonstration or visitor programs.
• Ability to accept and utilize constructive criticism and direction from managers to improve programs.
• Experience in public speaking, educational demonstrations, or shows.
• Experience in developing educational programs/shows based on accurate scientific information -- including scientific literature review, synthesis of literature, curricula development, and script writing.
• Experience working in interdisciplinary teams
• Experience managing and training a volunteer program of more than 15 volunteers in which volunteers handle raptors and mammals and participate in programs. Recruitment, conflict resolution, and volunteer recognition/positive reinforcement are necessary skills.
• Weight management for wildlife and excellent record keeping.
• Proper use and manufacture of raptor equipment (jesses, extenders, leashes) for the tethered management of raptors.
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
• Ability to work both autonomously and a team environment.
• Proficiency in identifying wildlife endemic to high desert eco-regions of North America
• Ability to assist in Museum wildlife science and conservation initiatives including regional raptor and songbird monitoring efforts.
• Ability to perform physical tasks including, but not limited to, lifting 50 pounds, carrying, stooping, bending, extensive walking, crawling, or climbing and withstand working outside in the extreme weather conditions typical of Central Oregon.
• Ability to work flexible hours including weekends, holidays, some evenings, early mornings, and occasional overtime.
Basic Job Responsibilities:
• Interface with the Curator of Natural History and Wildlife staff on a regular basis to discuss training objectives, husbandry, and interpretive content and schedules.
• Produce training plans for birds.
• Oversee all training of birds and day-to-day execution of avian-related programs.
• Perform daily formal and informal wildlife presentations.
• Supervise day-to-day care for program birds, including, but not limited to, all cleaning, feeding, watering, observing, and record keeping, maintaining enclosures, and opening and closing duties.
• Cover the duties of other Wildlife staff, when needed.
• Coordinate training and supervision of Volunteers and interns needed to enhance and support training and program execution. This includes scheduling daily informal and formal interpretive programs.
• Coordinate organization, cleanliness, and safety of bird of prey areas (mews and kitchen).
• Consult with Curator of Natural History to assure programs/shows are mission driven and attendance building.
• Coordinate the equipment inventory, food, and cleaning supplies for all birds as necessary.
• Work closely with contract veterinarian as needed and provide appropriate level of avian veterinary assistance.
• Supervise training of Wildlife Specialists and Seasonal Employees assigned to wildlife avian programs.
• Participate, with the Curator of Natural History and other staff in the development and administration of the Wildlife Department budget.
• Under the supervision of the Curator of Natural History, help plan and coordinate animal acquisition and disposition.
• Comply with all Museum policies, procedures, and safety regulations.
• Comply with all state and federal wildlife regulations.
• Other duties as assigned.
Division of Labor
25% Animal care and husbandry
25% Animal training
25% Program delivery
15% volunteer & intern training and supervision
10% record keeping