Western Painted Turtle Husbandry Technician
August 15 - March 31, 2022, possibility of extension dependent on funding
British Columbia’s only remaining native freshwater turtle species; the Pacific Coast population of Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii ; WPT) is federally endangered and provincially red-listed. Head-starting involves captive breeding and rearing individuals to a larger size, and benefits the population by increasing the juvenile survivorship rate.
The BC Conservation Foundation (BCCF) is seeking a husbandry technician or biologist for the Western Painted Turtle Recovery Project based out of North Vancouver. Under the technical direction of the provincial species-at-risk biologist and in conjunction with the Western Painted Turtle recovery team, the successful candidate will be responsible for the care and release of captive-reared painted turtles.
This position is flexible in the nature of the relationship with BCCF in that contractors are welcome to apply, though for individuals for whom employment support is required, the opportunity exists to be hired as a BCCF employee. Please indicate your preference on your application (note contractors require Workers Compensation Board coverage and Commercial General Liability coverage and will be required to provide evidence of each).
Daily care of the turtles is required to ensure each turtle remains healthy and fit for future release. This position will be responsible for 4 daily checks each week with occasional support for the other days of the week. Two feedings will be added Aug-Nov on the days when the filters/tanks are cleaned.
Weigh-ins for ALL (adults/other species/other sites) the turtles will occur the first week of every month. Each individual turtle will be weighed and measured (carapace width and length), and inspected for any obvious health issues. Turtles may be relocated to different tanks based on their current size, condition, and history of growth rates. Sick turtle shall be quarantined; small turtles shall go into individual care.
Weigh-ins and sick turtle care
Weigh-ins for small or sick turtles may occur daily with one on one care and treatments. Each individual turtle will be weighed and measured (carapace width and length), and inspected for any obvious health issues. Turtles may be relocated to different tanks based on their current size, condition, and history of growth rates. Familiarity with Excel or ipad apps that include Forms Connect is considered an asset as data is collected in a database specific to each turtle’s plastron photo. Additional trips to the vet or Animal Health Lab maybe required.
Weekly Water Change and Filter Maintenance
Weekly water changes are required to maintain turtle health. Each tank must be thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis, removing accumulated waste and debris, and any algae forming on tank walls. Filters mush be washed or replaced. Filters will be changed once a month or sooner as needed. Detailed tracking of the tank and filter maintenance is required.
Cleanliness and disinfecting of the facility is of the utmost importance for turtle health, as well as the health and safety of all staff and volunteers on site. The entire facility is to be cleaned and tidied, including garbage removal, floor sweeping and washing/disinfecting counters and sinks on a regular basis. This position is responsible for ensuring these tasks are completed. Larger scale facility needs are also to be reported to Project Leads (lighting, renovation, plumbing etc).
During the hatchling season, twice daily feedings are required (scheduling between the positions will occur). Tank cleaning for the sensitive young turtles must also happen on a more regular basis, so during this time tank cleaning will occur 4 days of the week, removing turtle waste and left over food. Hatchlings are fed a wide variety of food, including bloodworms, krill, shrimp, solid turtle food and fresh greens. Older turtles are fed a diet of solid turtle food, fresh greens, and frozen seafood. The successful candidate must be comfortable feeding the variety of food items the turtles require.
Filters, lights, and heaters are to be inspected daily for proper functioning. Inventory must be maintained for turtle food, cleaning supplies, and any other facility requirements. During the hatching season, incubators must also be monitored for correct temperature and humidity and detection of any emerging hatchlings. Familiarity with the program ‘Forms Connect’ will be considered an asset as data will be collected and recorded on a provided iPad.
Releases, reporting and assistance with other components of the WPT project
Additional time may be added to accommodate turtle releases and helping with other components of the turtle recovery project. An annual report shall be compiled that summarizes the results from the lab. Data shall be compiled in Forms Connect and excel format.
Wages, Accommodation and Working Conditions
This part-time, 8 month position will consist of 4 days/week. However, the hours required per week will vary, more being worked during the hatchling season when increased water changes, feedings are required.
- Applicants must have previous animal care or husbandry experience, preferably with reptiles.
- Applicants must be physically fit, capable of lifting 50lbs, and be prepared to spend a significant amount of time cleaning.
- Applicants must be willing to work a varied schedule and be available to work any day of the week on a rotating schedule with other staff.
- Applicants must be independently organized, take pride in their work, and show excellent communication skills to coordinate with off-site team members.
- Applicants must adhere to all health and safety regulations, legislations and policies.
- Applicants must have strong data entry and management skills.
- Applicants must be eligible to work in Canada.
- Applicants must have transportation to the North Vancouver site.
- Previous biological work experience in the conservation of threatened and/or endangered species,
- Understanding of animal behavior and reproductive biology of turtles
- Competency in using Excel and Word,
- Valid First aid certification
The British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) is committed to ensuring that no person is denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability, and to achieving and maintaining a workforce that is representative of women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.
BCCF undertakes to identify and remove any discriminatory policies and practices found in the recruitment, selection and hiring, promotion, training, retention and termination of employees in all levels and categories of employment.
Applicants are to submit a cover letter and resume using the form below (please include your name in the file name, .pdf format preferred). Be sure to clearly indicate in your cover letter how you meet each of the Essential Qualifications. Indicate your interest in an employee position or a contractor role if you meet the qualifications for being an independent contractor.
This position is scheduled to start August 15th, please do not delay in applying as interviews may be conducted as suitable candidates are found. The posting will close on August 4th at 4:30 PM.
No phone calls or emails please.