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Curator of Mammals and Birds

Full Time With Benefits

The Curator of Mammals and Birds is responsible for the direct management of the living mammal, bird, amphibian and program animal collection. The Curator of Mammals and Birds oversees the care and management of all mammal, bird, amphibian and program animal specimens, exhibits, life support systems, programs and the supervision of staff associated with these areas.

Essential Functions

  • Directs and supervises the Assistant Curator of Mammals and the Assistant Curator of Birds; oversees activities of the mammalogist, aviculturist and program animal husbandry personnel
  • Assists and advises the Vice President of Husbandry on issues relating to the care and management of the mammal, bird and program animal collection
  • Ensures compliance of all regulations and permit requirements pertaining to captive marine mammals, birds and program animals
  • Supervises the routine maintenance of all exhibits and ensures that animal and exhibit standards are maintained to a high standard
  • Ensures AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquarium) standards are met
  • Works cooperatively with members of other departments to ensure the smooth operation of programs and activities that affect the mammalogists, aviculturists and program animal specialists. Oversees frozen animal food acquisitions for the entire department; includes periodically reviewing availability, sustainability and costs as well as conducting nutritional analysis
  • Ensures accurate record keeping associated with all aspects of mammal, bird and program animal collection
  • Oversees and manages operating budget specifically related to mammal, bird, and program animal sections
  • Hires and conducts annual performance evaluations of assistant curators and ensures that all mammalogist, aviculturist, and program animal specialist evaluations are completed on time
  • Responsible for the implementation and written documentation of all animal care regimes and standards (e.g., proper animal handling, diet preparation and feeding, monitoring of growth and breeding activity)
  • Create and maintain aesthetically pleasing and environmentally correct marine animal displays that are appropriate for the health of the animal collection and visually stimulating to the guests
  • Is a member of various committees and planning groups that have a direct impact on the activities of Mammal and Bird Section (Research Advisory Committee, Animal Welfare Committee, etc.)
  • Participates in fundraising and after hours events when necessary
  • Ensures compliance with established safety procedures and protocols
  • Responds to emergency situations within the section
  • Participates in AZA committees and inspections as requested
  • Train, develop, coach and counsel staff members
  • Maintains knowledge of industry innovations and new techniques
  • Creates and delivers high quality presentations when requested (e.g., all staff meetings, conferences, outreach)Attends professional meetings and conferences when necessary
  • Communicates regularly with staff members and colleagues at other institutions
  • Represents the section in various interdepartmental capacities as needed. Conducts media interviews at the request of the Marketing Department
  • Role model for all employees in words and actions
  • All other duties as required

Knowledge & Skills

  • Thorough and complete understanding of the physical, mental, emotional and physiological needs of marine mammals, birds, and program animals including but not limited to diseases and treatments, habitat requirements, enrichment needs, nutrition, metabolism, and natural history
  • Thorough knowledge and experience with all aspects of the care and training of captive marine mammals (particularly pinnipeds and sea otters)
  • Thorough knowledge and experience regarding all aspects of the care of captive birds Thorough knowledge and experience with all aspects associated with the care of amphibians and a wide range of program animals
  • Ability to supervise a team of highly motivated staff including volunteers/interns in a challenging, dynamic environment
  • Maintains knowledge of industry innovations and new techniques
  • In-depth expertise in a specialized discipline of zoo or aquarium science (e.g., training, nutrition, animal enrichment, project management, animal husbandry)
  • Thorough and complete understanding of life support systems necessary for maintaining marine mammals, birds, and program animals
  • Ability to present and develop factually correct and stimulating public presentations about the mammals, birds and/or program animals in the Aquarium’s collection
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Familiarity with animal record keeping software such as Tracks or Species 360
  • Knowledge of MS Office


  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Zoology or related field or equivalent experience
  • 6+ years experience as an animal trainer at a public aquarium or zoo caring for pinnipeds and/or sea otters (both preferred)
  • 5+ years experience working with birds (esp. aquatics) at an aquarium or zoo
  • 3+ years supervisory experience
  • Extensive experience and proficiency with operant conditioning training techniques
  • Extensive experience with general avian husbandry techniques, especially breeding Extensive experience and comfort with developing and presenting public presentations
  • Extensive experience coaching and mentoring staff
  • Experience leading teams of volunteers and/or staff to the successful accomplishment of a major task or objective
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • SCUBA Certification
  • Valid drivers license
  • Understanding of basic aquatic and avian life support systems
  • Familiarity with MS Office and record-keeping software

Physical Demands

  • Ability to sit, stand, and walk for long periods of time
  • Ability to balance bend, squat, climb, kneel, crawl, twist, climb ladders
  • Ability to lift and carry up to 0-75lbs
  • Ability to pull and push up to 0-100lbs
  • Ability to swim, SCUBA certification in dive aquarium habitats or open ocean
  • Full functional range of motion in all major body joints from reaching, twisting, bending, simple and power gripping, fine and gross motor skills

Work Environment

  • Ability to respond to unpredictable and potentially dangerous marine mammals, birds and program animals
  • Exposure to injury from animals
  • Food preparation with fish and shellfish
  • Exposure to variations in temperature, humidity or wetness
  • Wet, dirty, uneven surfaces and walkways
  • Elevated platforms
  • Use of special auditory, visual, fall arrest and personal protective equipment
  • Exposed to working with bio-hazards
  • Use of hand tools, machinery and company vehicles
  • Aquarium habitats and open ocean environments

Interested or Qualified?

If you meet the requirements of this position, click on the link below to “APPLY NOW.” You will be directed to our web application process, the successful completion of which is required by all applicants. There are THREE simple steps to this process, which is administered by HireSelect.:

  1. You will complete a brief web application;
  2. You will attach or build your resume;
  3. You will complete the PCI aptitude assessment.

Upon completion of all THREE steps, your submission will be forwarded to our hiring team for consideration. If you are among the most qualified applicants, we will contact you within two to three weeks. If you do not hear from us within that time, feel free to reapply in the future as other opportunities arise. Thank you so much for your interest in the Aquarium of the Pacific! The Aquarium of the Pacific is an Equal Opportunity Employer.