Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jobs We Need Immediately At Zoological Facilities: The Zouncer

My last blog (the one about guests who just let themselves into animal habitats in zoos and aquariums) brought up a concept in passing that caught some fire.  I was deeply pleased that my fellow colleagues in this field agree that Zouncers are a necessary addition to any zoological team.  

We're gonna need a bigger uniform shirt.

For those of you who haven't read the last blog, I submit that Zouncers (Zoo Bouncers for short) are necessary staff in order to prevent guests from entering employee areas and/or animal habitats.  We trainers/caretakers are often running around from animal group to animal group and are unable to stand guard for the length of a work day to ensure that no wayward customer decides to let themselves into an otter habitat, or dangle their progeny over a crocodile pit.


I've done you all a solid and written up a Zouncer job description.  This makes it easy for you to copy and paste directly to your curators, general managers, and/or board members.  And if any of you reading this carry one or more of the aforementioned titles, feel free to directly paste this description into AZA, IMATA, or any other place you'd post jobs for your zoo or aquarium.  

So without further ado:

Zouncer (Levels 1, 2, and 3)
Organization: Blahblahblah Zoo
Location: (Insert location here)
Job or Internship: Job 

Blahblahblah Zoo is currently seeking to hire a dynamic team of Zouncers at all levels.  The Zouncer position is primarily a daytime security position responsible for preventing park guests of lesser social intelligence from entering animal habitats.  The Zouncer assesses and mitigates any breach of security (perceived or real) with appropriate action, situation-dependent.   

Live for something, die for breaking into the polar bear habitat.

Zouncer I is an entry-level position responsible for overseeing the safety and well-being of all habitats with animals capable of chasing but not ultimately injuring guests, including but not limited to: ducks.  Zouncer I escorts unauthorized guests in employee areas via Wedgie Method (a proprietary method taught to Zouncers at Blahblahblah Zoo), and assures no feeder food from fish or turtle ponds is fed to the incorrect animals.   After a 90 day probationary period, Zouncers at this level may force-feed incorrectly-fed turtle pellets to any rule-breaking guests.   Requirements: 6 months of bouncer experience, must pass the PT test, and be proficient in football sacking.

Presenting, for the first time ever, MY fingers to YOUR beak!

Zouncer II positions maintain perimeter security of all class-2 animal habitats.   This position may require standing menacingly at habitats with low fences and/or gates that may be opened without unlocking a combination lock.  This position requires extreme brute strength for physically throwing guests into large piles of safe but mildly-irritating Time Out Sand that the Blahblahblah Zoo has placed strategically at each animal habitat.  Bicep measurements must be between Zac Efron When He's Really Ripped and Arnold Schwartzeneggar At The Height Of His Steroid Usage.   Women with massively powerful thighs will also be considered in lieu of bicep requirement.  Requirements:  one year at Zouncer I -or- three years as a bouncer, pass the PT test, and a cynical attitude that doesn't believe for a moment that a park guest "didn't see the DO NOT ENTER sign."

A Zouncer II would never allow this to occur

Zouncer III is responsible for preventing guests from entering and/or dangling other humans of any age into or over habitats of animals that any Sane Human Being wouldn't be caught dead trying to give a hug.  Zouncer IIIs are in charge of the security of all class-1 animal habitats.  This position is authorized to use a high-powered rifle delivering a powerful drug combination of truth serum and sedative to be used at the Zouncer III's discretion upon detainment.  This serum ensures the safety of both guest and animal, with the added benefit of forcing honesty from the trespasser for all litigation and media fallout.  Zouncer IIIs must be able to learn to use a jet pack within 90 days of employment.  Requirements: Five years as proven Zouncer II -or- 20 years as a Navy Seal, must pass PT test, and have a good yell-y voice with decibels approaching that of a jet engine. 

Breach of a secondary fence, approaching critical break-in point.  What does a Zouncer III do?

Option A or...

Option B.

The correct answer is: Any or all of the above.  Supernatural and/or brute force are appropriate responses for any Zouncer III.  Thanks for playing!

All positions require lengthy periods of time on feet,  a serious facial expression that cannot be broken (Blue Man group experience a plus), the ability to rip a shirt by just flexing pectoral muscles and/or pants seam-busting with flexion of abductors and quads, and a big giant heart for animals.  All Zouncers must pass a routine drug-screening test and criminal background check.  Must be able to lift 250lbs and feel comfortable in dark, very tight clothing that make muscle groups appear larger.  Crazy eyes welcome but not required.
The perfect Zouncer

This position requires a rigorous physical test (PT).
Compensation range: Commensurate with experience and level; commissioned based on how many guests do NOT enter your habitat and/or how many people maintenance staff must remove from the Time Out Sand at the end of the day.
Bad guests! Bad!!!

Send cover letter, resume, and high-definition video of candidate participating in physical activities such as: Scottish Highland Games.
Excuse me sir, can I interest you in a position at Blahblahblah Zoo?

So what do you think, dear readers?  Sound like something you could swing at your institution?  I sure know we could use one.  I mean, I kind of left it vague for all of us animal caregivers.  I think to have a Zouncer at a place like where I work, there'd definitely need to be some serious water skills needed.  
I also think we can use Zouncers as an educational element to our zoo.  Our education staffs, docents, volunteers, and of course we as keepers and trainers can serve to share information about the natural history, behavior, and conservation topics of the animals under our watch.  We know how valuable zoos are in conveying these things to the general public.  However, I think there is a need for a small group of laymen to really make them understand why they shouldn't oh, hug a panda.
Good point.

Think about this: Zouncers who not only just stand guard at habitats, but have interactive displays with which people can interact.  They can create and implement a board with small mouse traps glued to it and put it in front of say, a penguin exhibit.  The signage would say something like, "THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE BITTEN BY A PENGUIN!"  Zouncers should probably have some First Aid experience.  And a really good lawyer.  
Clearly, I'm at the beginning stages of fleshing out this idea.  But you get what I mean.  
What other jobs would be nice to have at zoos and aquariums?  Share your thoughts and let's see if we can collectively create the dream team at each of our facilities (please be sure to include hot men and women who wash our laundry and/or bring us snacks).

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a keeper anymore, and now that I am a volunteer I ALWAYS bring snacks. (I'm not hot, but no one really cares when you are carrying free snacks.)