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Professional Animal Handler

Department: Animal Care, Ranch Maintenance
Supervisor: Executive Director
Classification: Exempt
Terms: Full Time, Long Term
Salary: Commensurate with experience

The Animal Director is responsible for overall handling, health, and wellbeing of the animals at Earthfire. Training skills are required for developing co-workers’ basic animal care expertise, understanding, and reflection of what the animals are thinking and doing, and why. Keeps the animals and the visiting public safe and the public inspired.

  • Responsible for overseeing daily animal care
  • Look after physical and emotional welfare of animals
  • Present animals for educational programs
  • Teach and supervise animal care staff
  • Oversee ranch maintenance relevant to animal welfare


Ultimately responsible for daily animal care and welfare

  • Provide the animals with the best quality of life possible
  • Continually enhance animal habitat and enrichment
  • Evaluate animal nutrition and health needs
  • Serve as the person who is able to personally handle the wild animals of Earthfire to check their weight and overall health
  • Consult with animal nutrition and behavior experts to come up with the best care and feeding plans

Look after physical and emotional welfare of animals

  • Research specific needs of each species of animal at Earthfire
  • Give input on the design animal environments
  • Observe when animal environments need upgrades
  • Creates an animal acquisition protocol and life management plan for residents of Earthfire Institute, along with the executive director, caretakers, and veterinarians
  • Cultivates veterinary relationships and researches medical alternatives for animal care, including holistic alternatives

Present animals for educational programs

  • Serve as a bridge between the animal and human worlds, supporting the Executive Director, who tells the animals’ stories with the assistance of the Animal Director’s interpretations
  • Translate actions of the Earthfire animals to human visitors
  • Work with the Earthfire animals to educate visitors, community members, donors, etc.

Teach and supervise animal care staff

  • Make weekly checks on animal care staff to determine which tasks are getting done properly, and which still need to be done
  • Teach animal handler staff how to handle wild animals for veterinary care
  • Train staff in wild animal handling techniques, as well as safety and capture

Oversee ranch maintenance relevant to animal welfare

  • Observe all animal enclosures and habitats for signs of weakness or wear (rust, broken fence posts, etc.) and ensure animal caretakers know what to look for
  • Make repairs where needed; rent equipment or buy tools necessary to do the job; research and hire contractors to help with larger jobs
  • Thorough familiarity with Earthfire maintenance plans, irrigation system

Personal Qualifications

Please note, you will be working with domesticated but still wild animals.

  • Primary requirement: A natural animal-like alertness and a natural confidence working with wild animals
  • Instinctive ability to bond with and understand animals
  • Intuitive, resourceful, flexible, patient, persistent, observant
  • Quiet, self-possessed, introverted temperament preferred
  • Reliability and responsibility are primary requirements
  • Serious about animal care, and about the fate of animals worldwide
  • Willing and able to make a long-term commitment
  • 3-5 years of experience working with animals
  • Ability to handle wild animals for vet care
  • In good physical shape, quick reflexes
  • Willing to work under all weather conditions and periodic long hours
  • Ability to stay calm, clear-headed, and able to perform duties in an emergency

*Onsite housing may be an option

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