The Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is proud to announce the dates for our 45th annual conference, hosted by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on October 6 to 10, 2024. The conference will include a trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, behind-the-scenes tours, two days packed with presentations on various elephant management topics, a banquet and silent auction, a pre-conference trip to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, and a post-conference trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.

EMA President Tripp Gorman stated, "EMA is very excited to have the Columbus Zoo host the EMA conference again. We look forward to our pre- and post-conference trip destinations at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the Indianapolis Zoo to learn about their newest herd members and visit a new elephant facility. This conference location has so many great facilities nearby. It is one of the US's hotspots for any elephant enthusiast. We look forward to this year's conference and presentations by elephant professionals from around the world. We are planning a conference that will give everyone plenty of opportunities to network and discover new ideas."

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to seven Asian elephants. The Zoo's giants reside in a five-acre complex with one of the largest indoor facilities in the country. Although elephants have been part of the Zoo for a very long time, the building was built in the mid 1970s with major renovations in 1999. Since our visit in 2016, more renovations have been in progress to ensure modern-day creature comforts are provided to each herd member. Columbus Zoo's elephant programs continues to specialize in many aspects of elephant management, from breeding and calf management to geriatric and bull elephant care.

EMA partners with elephant programs that stand out as leaders in the elephant community to host the annual conference. The annual gathering promotes the cooperative exchange of information, open channels of communication, and meaningful networking opportunities for all elephant care professionals. Host facilities are chosen based on their commitment to elephants, their support of conservation and research efforts, their hospitality, and their demonstrated willingness to foster growth and development in all who work closely with elephants.

EMA's annual conference is the most accessible and affordable opportunity for elephant care professionals to expand their knowledge and professional network. Delegates will receive cutting edge information focusing on professional elephant management trends and will have the opportunity to see firsthand the methods employed by other established elephant programs.

With the help of EMA's Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, both of our conference host—Columbus Zoo and Aquarium—will have the opportunity to showcase the features that make them a premier elephant program. Please save the dates and join us on October 6 to 10, 2024.

For all conference-related information, please keep an eye on this page, or you can contact the EMA Conference Committee at

The conference schedule will be posted here closer to October 2024.

Registration for the 45th Annual EMA Conference is now open!

All attendees must register online, and full conference registration for EMA members costs $225 (non-member registration costs $270). Late registration (after September 11) for members costs $275 and for non-members costs $295. Registration fees include transportation to/from hotel, and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; conference meals (including ice-breaker and banquet); and access to paper presentations.

To receive the discounted member rate, EMA members should verify they are in good standing by logging in to the members only section and using their membership credentials. Conference hosts and EMA Conference Committee members will verify your membership status after conference registration is completed.

The cost for the pre-conference trip to Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on October 6 is $50 (includes transportation to/from the Zoo and lunch).

The cost for the post-conference trip to Indianapolis Zoo on October 10 is $50 (includes transportation to/from the Zoo and lunch).

To register for the conference and/or the pre- and post-conference trips, please click here.

Can't make it to the whole EMA conference this year? No problem. You can register for the days you can attend! Prices for individual components of the conference are as follows:

  • Day 1 Conference Registration (October 7): $100
  • Day 2 Conference Registration (October 8): $100
  • Day 3 Conference Registration (October 9, includes closing banquet): $150
To register for single days of the conference, please click here.

To book your hotel accommodations at this year's conference venue (Embassy Suites Columbus Dublin), please click here. You may also call 800-220-9219. Please use the following group information when booking your hotel room:

Group Name: Elephant Managers Association (EMA) Room Block

Group Code: 90B

The conference hotel room rate of $149 per night (plus tax) is good through September 15, 2024, at 11:59:59pm.

If you have trouble using the conference hotel link, the hotel suggests using either Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome as your web browser; there have been reported problems with Safari.

EMA will award four scholarships to attend our annual conference in 2024, available to EMA members:

  • A $1,000 Ashley Sheppard Scholarship (in memory of Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Elephant Manager, Ashley Sheppard), available to EMA members who are elephant caretakers.
  • A $1,000 scholarship available to an EMA member who is also a member of AMZAP
  • A $2,000 scholarship available to international EMA members (i.e., not working in the US)
  • An additional $1000 scholarship available to all EMA members

Click here to download the scholarship instructions and application. Scholarship applications and supporting information are due by June 17, 2024.

The EMA Conference Committee is currently seeking donations to offset the costs of the 45th Annual EMA Conference. All contributors will be recognized throughout the conference during our program and throughout signage. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your support for both elephants and elephant professionals. To learn more about how you or your organization can help donate to the 2024 EMA Conference, please complete the Sponsorship Form or contact

The EMA conference host and committee are finalizing these details. The keynote speaker will be announced soon.

DEADLINE EXTENDED! EMA is now accepting papers for our 2024 conference. Please complete the Call for Papers Form to submit your abstract. All forms are due July 31, 2024. We will be selecting papers that cover all topics in elephant management. All presentations will be 15 minutes long with a five-minute question and answer period. Presenters will be selected and notified in early August. Once selected as a presenter, the Conference Committee will contact you about the conference schedule and other details regarding your presentation.

Each year during the annual conference, the host facility gathers items for a silent auction. The silent auction is held during the conference's banquet night. All proceeds form the silent auction help fund our annual scholarship awards. We are currently gathering elephant books, art, clothing, and collectibles. Even if you are not able to attend the 2024 EMA Conference, you can still donate your items. We encourage all donors to donate items via mail before the conference. All donations must be submitted with a donation form and shipped to the address indicated on the form. To donate, please complete the EMA Silent Auction Donation Form, and print and send with your items to the address listed on the form.

The Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is an international, 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization.

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