• 08/21/2020 10:29 AM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    Job Title: Keeper Elephants

    FLSA Status: Non-exempt

    Hours: Full-time


    Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is currently seeking to fill a full-time elephant keeper position in the African Grasslands Exhibit. Elephant natural history is the driving force behind the management philosophy of this elephant program. Maintaining solid female herd dynamics and facilitating natural breeding are the focus of this program while providing the maximum amount of choice and control to our elephants. Our multigenerational herd of 2.5 elephants are managed in a protected contacted system following AZA’s Standards for Elephant Management and Care. Since they are a part of a mixed species exhibit with other hoof stock and birds, good communication is essential to ensure the safety of all staff and animals across departments. Individuals must function as a part of the elephant team to ensure a safe and productive work environment. Duties will include but are not limited to all aspects of the daily management of African elephants including daily cleaning, feeding, enrichment, detailed record keeping, behavioral observations, browse collection, general maintenance, public demonstrations, husbandry training and all other duties as assigned. 

    Responsibilities and Duties (include but not limited to):

    • General exhibit and holding area cleaning and maintenance
    • Planning, implementing, and evaluating daily behavior-based enrichment and foraging schedules
    • Detailed record keeping, following the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care
    • Collection and identification of approved browse species
    • Daily husbandry training via protected contact utilizing positive reinforcement
    • Behavioral observations and video review
    • Preparing diets and following feeding guidelines
    • Assisting with veterinary care
    • Public training demonstrations and keeper chats
    • Regular team meetings
    • Other duties as assigned by the supervisor

    Work Skills: 

    • The ability to work well as part of a team, by listening and contributing
    • An understanding of environmental enrichment and how it impacts animal wellness
    • The ability to follow all protocols and standard operating procedures to assure the highest level of animal welfare.
    • A thorough understanding of and strict adherence to the Occupational Safety Guidelines for elephant care professionals.
    • Be able to give/receive constructive criticism regardless of prior experience
    • Excellent communication skills, written and verbal, both with their peers and all other zoo personnel
    • An ability to work in a fast paced and dynamic environment
    • Great attention to detail in all aspects of their work and record keeping
    • An excellent safety record
    • A strong work ethic
    • Strong public speaking skills
    • Basic computer skills for data entry utilizing Microsoft programs


    • Qualified candidates will possess at least 2 years of paid experience in animal husbandry, preferably with elephants or other large mammals, at an AZA accredited institution.


    • Successful candidates will have demonstrable experience with operant conditioning techniques utilizing positive reinforcement. 
    • Preference will be given to candidates with protected contact elephant experience, however, candidates with applicable experience with other taxa will also be considered. 
    • A working knowledge of the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care and Occupational Safety Guidelines for elephant care professionals is expected. 
    • Completion of AZA’s Principles of Elephant Management 1 is a plus. 
    • Successful candidates will also be familiar with or capable of learning the safe use of various power tools and heavy equipment including but not limited to chainsaws, drills, power augers, and a Bobcat or similar equipment.

    All candidates are required to pass a pre-employment background check, including a drug test, and possess a valid driver’s license.  A negative TB test is also required. Hours may vary and successful candidates must be able to work weekends and holidays.


    • Minimum requirements for this position include a High School diploma with a preference for a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology, Biology, or related field.

    Working Conditions and Physical Effort:

    • Must be able to walk, stand, sit, kneel, bend, twist, reach above head, pull, and climb stairs and ladders. 
    • Must be able to lift 70 lbs. routinely and work outdoors for prolonged periods in the weather and temperature extremes common to Omaha, Nebraska.
    • The position involves working within 3+ acres of outdoor exhibit space and a 25,000 square foot elephant barn.  
    • Exposure to biting flies and mosquitos is likely.


    The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, nor is it to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.


    Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC

    To apply, please visit www.OmahaZoo.com/WorkHere

  • 08/01/2020 9:00 AM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    Earlier this year, the Elephant Managers Association (EMA) announced the annual conference to be held on October 12−16 and hosted by the Milwaukee County Zoo was canceled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. The Milwaukee County Zoo graciously agreed to host the EMA Conference in 2021, but we did not want to wait that long for the opportunity to network and learn from our members and colleagues from around the world. So in 2020, for the first time, EMA will host our annual conference virtually, free to all members!

    We will host the EMA virtual conference the same week as previously scheduled, October 12−16, 2020, via Zoom. All EMA members will be sent a link and password, allowing them access to the virtual conference all week long.

    EMA is now accepting papers for the virtual conference. Please complete and submit the Call for Papers form by September 1, 2020. The Call for Papers Committee will be selecting papers that cover all topics in elephant management and through various formats, including traditional PowerPoint presentations and live feeds on training and enrichment from member facilities. All presentations will be 15 minutes long, with a five-minute question-and-answer period. All presenters must have good, stable internet connections. Presenters will be selected and notified of their acceptance by September 14, 2020. Once selected as a presenter, the Call for Papers Committee will set up an appointment to test their internet connection.

    EMA President Vernon Presley stated, "I am happy that the EMA is continuing its annual tradition and hosting our first virtual conference. In unprecedented times you must adapt, and our Board Members and Executive Committee felt that it was important to fulfill this part of EMA's mission. It is an exciting time to be an EMA member. Not everyone can attend an in-person conference due to cost and staff challenges, but this virtual conference gives all members an opportunity to join us as we discover new ideas together."

  • 07/17/2020 1:08 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    Join the herd! Walk, bike, swim, or hike in honor of elephants around the world on Elephant Appreciation Day, September 22, 2020. By signing up for this virtual 5K event, proceeds will go to the EMA to aid in our mission: enhancing the welfare and survival of the world's elephants through improving communication, husbandry, research, education, and conservation.

    The first 300 people who register for the event will receive a fantastic medal that you can wear proudly to show off your support for elephants and the EMA. Don't worry about your 5K time, this is all for a good cause. However, we would love to see your photos! Please tag us on social media using the hashtag #EMA2020virtual5K.

    Donations are also being accepted if you're not able to participate in the 5K.

    To register for this event, please visit: https://runsignup.com/Race/TX/Houston/EMAElephantAppreciationDay5K

    Thank you for joining the herd and supporting our efforts. 

  • 03/01/2020 7:29 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    The launch of the EMA Small Grant Program in 2019 was a huge success. In 2020, EMA will award a grant of up to $2,000 to support work that furthers EMA's mission. This opportunity is open to anyone, including keepers, conservationists, and researchers.

    The deadline for the grant application is April 15, 2020 at 11:59pm PST, and proposals can be submitted to grants@elephantmanagers.com. The complete instructions can be found by clicking here. For questions, please contact April Yoder at grants@elephantmanagers.com.

  • 12/02/2019 7:33 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    We are proud to share the Conference Proceedings from the 40th Annual EMA Conference, hosted by Denver Zoo in October 2019. Inside the proceedings, you'll find abstracts and slides from over 30 presentations spanning topics such as training, husbandry, veterinary care, research, education, legislation, and conservation.

    To access proceedings, navigate to the members-only section of the website. An exclusive benefit of being an EMA member is gaining access to EMA's digital library, which includes 600 other presentations from EMA conferences dating back to 1980, along with a near-complete collection of past issues of JEMA and Gray Matters.

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

All rights reserved. © 2020 Elephant Managers Association.

1513 Cambridge Street, Houston TX 77030

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software