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Assistant Curator

Posted: April 26, 2024 Expired: May 24, 2024
Wildhaven Ranch

Wildhaven Ranch

Assistant Curator

Basic Purpose and Responsibilities:  Reporting to the Animal Curator and Director, the Assistant Curator is responsible for coordinating the daily operations of multiple animal areas of the Sanctuary animal care facility. These duties include the daily care and husbandry of the Animal Ambassadors, and rescue department, the functional efficiency of the sanctuary and supervision of the animal department staff.  The Assistant Curator position is responsible for supervising, mentoring, and evaluating interns, Apprentice Keepers, Senior Keepers, and Team Lead keepers in assigned areas. 
Essential Functions:
  • Manage and provide animal keeping if necessary for day-to-day animal care logistics and operations in assigned areas to provide uncompromising animal care and wellbeing for the animals and high engagement and satisfaction for guests. This includes ensuring that all animal care husbandry routines meet or exceed industry and government standards and that all sanctuary guidelines and protocols are being followed.  Exhibits, holding, and back of house areas should be clean and presentable at all times. Must be able to train animal keepers in daily husbandry, care, and welfare of assigned animals/areas.
  • Under the Direction of the Sanctuary Curator, this position helps manage personnel ( interviews, gives input on hiring, writes/ delivers performance evaluations, writes/ deliveries disciplinary actions, etc.)
  • Conducts weekly team and department meetings as directed.
  • Under the direction of the Curator, supervises and coordinates implementation of enrichment, welfare improvement initiatives, and operant conditioning programs with Team Leads and keepers in assigned areas.
  • Position is considered “Essential/Mandatory Staff” and will be required to work on adverse weather days and during emergencies.
  • Supervises guest engagement activities to ensure safety and high-level guest engagement.
  • Ensure assigned teams are reporting animal medical issues to the veterinary department in a timely manner and following all proscribed treatment plans.  Participate in the scheduling of routine physical exams, medical procedures, and other preventive or treatment procedures to ensure health of the animals.
  • Oversee supply acquisition and inventories to ensure that essential materials, supplies, equipment and food supply are available for assigned areas.
  • Help to oversee and train Sanctuary staff on all emergency protocols, scheduling safety drills, coordinating the Emergency Response Team, and maintaining inventory of emergency and personal protective equipment.
  • Lead both veterinary visit and capture and restraint team as needed. Must be able to or willing to learn how to shoot a firearm and capture dart guns and operate other emergency equipment as required and/or directed to assist in the animal escape and recovery plan.  Must be able to calmly respond to emergency situations.
Position Qualifications:
Education (Minimum Needed):
  • Minimum two-year Associates Degree in one of the natural sciences or closely related field plus experience.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of behavioral management, including operant conditioning philosophy, techniques, and terminology, as well as knowledge of benefits and goals of environmental enrichment preferably obtained through classes, workshops, and other formal learning environments.
Special Skills:
  • While this position works with multiple teams and a variety of species, experience with carnivores, bears and birds of prey is highly desirable. 
  • Experience with physical animal restraint equipment, vehicles and related maintenance equipment is a plus. Must be willing to be trained to be on the weapons team.
  • Must be able to provide and accept crucial, productive feedback. Able to provide mentorship and guidance for keepers and animal area volunteers including ownership of process, organization, and communications.
  • Working knowledge of personal computers and software applications (e.g., MS Word, Excel, Power Point, and Outlook email and Google DOCs); be able to produce needed reports and summaries; ability to enter accurately/audit animal daily logs, daily feeding sheets and reports.
  • Assistant Curator will be on 24-hour call.  May be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Must provide proof of negative Covid tests and other required immunizations like Tetanus.
  • Be organized and exhibit “follow through” on tasks and goals.
  • Display a positive attitude, demonstrate presence and self-confidence.
  • Must possess a driver’s license and have an average or better driving record based on the evaluation process of our insurance company. 
Physical Demands:
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  And other duties as assigned by the director.
A large percentage of duties are performed outdoors in various weather conditions, ranging from rain, wind, snow, ice, and cold to heat.  All staff is required to snow shovel and be ready for evacuations of all kinds.
The Wildlife Sanctuary is an At Will employer and all employees are subject to employment eligibility and background security checks as well as testing for illegal substances, including alcohol, marijuana, and drug use as allowed by law.  NO SMOKING ON PREMISES DUE TO WILDFIRE DANGER.
Equal Opportunity Employer
Experience Required
• Must have knowledge of animal husbandry, preferably with at least one-year wild animal care experience at an accredited facility or sanctuary. Diversified experience in the husbandry and management of bears, carnivores and raptors is preferred. • One year leadership experience at an accredited AZA institution preferred. • Must have the ability to motivate, lead, and coach a team. Must be a capable leader/manager and an effective role model that can create a supportive team environment.
This is a full-time, non-exempt position and pay is commensurate with experience.

How to Apply

Please email Curator at with a cover letter and resume and 3 business references in the field of animal husbandry, especially experience with bears, herbivores, carnivores and birds of prey. Submit the application using the information provided on the original job listing located on

Wildhaven Ranch
Lake Arrowhead, CA

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