Chimp Haven

Behavior Specialist


Keithville, LA


Full Time


Behavior Specialist 

Title Class: Behavior Specialist 
Shift: Days—7am-4pm. Emergencies as needed, shifts determined with supervisor and based on the needs of the organization. Will work one weekend day and may work on some holidays. 
Risk Level 3
Reports to: Director of Behavior
Direct report: None

 ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW:  At Chimp Haven we believe we’re not that different, humans and chimpanzees. Chimps have personalities, emotions and relationships, just like us, and we’re on a mission to connect them to the happy healthy lives they deserve. That’s why we’re providing and promoting personalized care for chimpanzees (most of whom were retired from biomedical research) by helping them, for their remaining years, live a good life – the chimp life. Chimp Haven serves as The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary and is located on 200 forested acres in northwest Louisiana just outside of Shreveport.  Chimp Haven provides excellent care for more than 300 chimpanzees retired from research or no longer used in the entertainment industry or as pets.  As more retired chimpanzees make their way from research institutions to sanctuary, our population continues to grow. Chimp Haven has a well-designed facility to support the physical and emotional well-being of all animals, experienced staff and high standards for operational excellence.  Chimp Haven offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits, extensive training and an opportunity for professional advancement.  Equal Opportunity Employer. 
Plan and provide enrichment and training to chimpanzees and improve chimpanzee well- being via observational studies and evaluation of enrichment procedures. Assist with behavioral management goals including leading and assisting with introductions.
Conduct formal behavioral observations of chimpanzees for new and existing behavioral welfare metrics and studies as approved. Develop welfare protocols and present information to staff; assist with behavior and enrichment interns and visiting scientists. Provide and promote excellent standards of care for the chimpanzees. Inspire others to support the mission of Chimp Haven by ensuring a superior guest experience. 

(Please note this job description is not all inclusive of responsibilities and is subject to change as needed.)

·       Plan enrichment and observation schedules according to goals and with senior staff approval.
 ·       Prepare and distribute enrichment to chimpanzees and/or to husbandry staff to distribute.
 ·       Order supplies according to approved budget. Assist the Director of Behavior with maintaining a precise budget for the department.
 ·       Conduct behavioral observations according to approved schedule.
 ·       Maintain and oversee behavior and enrichment records.
·       Assist other animal care staff in maintaining food preparation areas and cleaning enrichment devices.
·       Carry out chimpanzee training objectives using positive reinforcement, including training chimpanzees on advanced medical procedures.
·       Mentor staff in the positive reinforcement training program.
·       Recruit, supervise and coordinate activities of Behavioral Wellness interns.
·       May lead educational activities including presentations to staff, the public and at scientific meetings.
·       May serve as Behavioral Wellness Team Leader.
·       Lead and assist in chimpanzee socialization procedures including introductions.
·       Train animal care staff, including new behavioral staff, on enrichment and observation procedures.
·       May assist husbandry, veterinary or other departmental staff as directed.
·       May train additional data collectors from other departments.
·       Assist with or suggest behavioral studies, including literature reviews, data entry, data summarization, report generation, manuscript preparation and presentations. May plan and implement behavioral studies with approval from supervisor.
·       Work with, train, and supervise visiting scientists, interns, volunteers, donors, and/or educators.
·       Assist with colony management decisions and make recommendations for improvements to program.

•        Must be able to routinely lift and carry 50 lbs. for short distances. 
•        Work may involve considerable outdoor work in various weather conditions. 
•        Potential exists for animal bites and scratches. 
•        Participation in a medical monitoring and surveillance program that includes hepatitis B and other inoculations is required.
•        Safety training, equipment, clothing and supplies will be provided.
•        Duties may require driving Chimp Haven’s vehicles which requires a valid driver’s license. Must also meet Chimp Haven’s motor vehicle operating standards.


·       Bachelor’s degree in related field required, at least 5 years (paid experience) working with nonhuman primates—chimpanzees preferred.
·       At least 5 years (paid experience) in enrichment, training or behavioral observations of nonhuman primates required.
·       Three years of experience with formal behavioral observations on nonhuman primates is required.
·       Experience with nonhuman primate introductions is preferred.
·       Experience with presentations and publications is preferred.
·       Must enjoy working with both animals and people as well as being comfortable leading meetings and having crucial conversations with others.
·       A combination of education and/or experience may be considered.


We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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