Aviculturist- Auckland Zoo

Posted:12 February 2024| Full-Time |Deadline: 15 March


Auckland Zoo is looking to hire an experienced and motivated aviculturist to undertake the daily husbandry and management of the ex situ population of the Critically Endangered Fatu Hiva monarch (Pomarea whitneyi).

This position is an exciting new opportunity to be at the front line of the conservation effort for one of the most endangered bird species in the world. Working alongside the Auckland Zoo bird and veterinary teams and the biologists of the Polynesian Ornithological Society (SOP Manu), you will play a pivotal role in a team committed to preventing the extinction of the Fatu Hiva monarch.

The Fatu Hiva monarch is endemic to Fatu Hiva Island in the Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia). Fatu Hiva is only accessible by boat, it’s a very remote island with only 600 people. Formerly widespread, the monarch population suffered a catastrophic decline after the arrival of ship rats and feral cats to the island. The entire current population, of only circa 20 individuals, is now restricted to one 29ha. valley. For the last 15 years Manu POS has implemented an intensive invasive species management programme that prevented the extinction of the monarch, however, the slow breeding biology of the species and the recent confirmation of avian malaria, is preventing the population from recovering. While the threats continue to be addressed and a long-term solution found, an intensive ex situ management programme including egg-harvesting, head-starting and eventually a conservation breeding program started on the island in 2023, as a collaborative effort between SOP Manu and Auckland Zoo.

about the role

This is a Full-Time Service provider position for six-months, with the possibility of renewal. The position will be contracting to SOP Manu and reporting to the Curator of Birds of Auckland Zoo. The status of service provider is easy to create in French Polynesia with few constraints.

Salary is Euro 3,000-3,500 per month, depending upon skillset & experience. Transportation to/from Tahiti and Fatu Hiva, housing on Fatu Hiva, and access to a program vehicle is included in the position.

Due to the need of filling this position as soon as possible, European Union applicants not requiring a working visa would be preferable.


As aviculturist on site, you will be responsible for the daily husbandry of the Fatu Hiva monarch at the project facility at Fatu Hiva Island. This is a multifaceted role, and your responsibilities will encompass a wide range of tasks, including: artificial incubation of wild collected eggs, hand-rearing the resulting chicks, daily husbandry of the birds that have been successfully reared, basic aviary maintenance, food insect culturing, behavioural observations, data recording and report preparation. During quiet times with few or no birds, you will be expected to assist the field team with the daily monitoring of the birds in the valley. This fieldwork is in a dense and humid tropical forest on with much very steep terrain and requires a good level of fitness for daily hiking and basic ornithological field skills. Due to the remote and unpredictable nature of the job, flexible working hours and days are needed as required by the workload.

To be considered for this role, you must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Theoretical understanding and practical proficiency in avicultural techniques including artificial incubation and hand-rearing of passerines and/or other small insectivorous birds.
  • Ability to carry out and supervise daily keeping duties to the highest standard ensuring all husbandry and welfare needs are met.
  • Strong personal discipline and organisational skills, aptitude for creative problem-solving and ‘can-do’ attitude.
  • Pro-active, consistent and efficient communicator, verbally (including via online mechanisms) and written records/reports.
  • Experience with undertaking ornithological field work and/or bird husbandry in field environment.
  • Experience and/or aptitude to work effectively with a multi-cultural team in a remote location.
  • Physical fitness – able to lift items up to 15kg and walk up to 2hrs/10km in a tropical climate.
  • Fluency in English is essential and conversational French is highly desirable but not required.
  • Undergraduate degree in biology, zoology, or a related field or equivalent academic/scientific experience.

application details

For further information on SOP Manu, please visit the webpage: https://www.manu.pf
For further information on Auckland Zoo, please visit the website: https://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz

Applications close March 15th 2024, for a start in April. If interested in this role, submit your CV and cover letter to juan.cornejo@aucklandzoo.co.nz

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