JOB POSTING: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

05/20/2022 4:29 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium


Posting Date:                May 17, 2022                            Removal Date:  Until Filled        

Position Title:              Elephant Manager, ICC  

Department:               Mammals                     

Position Status:            Full-time, Exempt


The ICC Elephant Manager will be directly responsible for the daily oversight of an African elephant herd of 1.4 animals at the zoo’s International Conservation Center (ICC), located approximately 2 hours outside of Pittsburgh. This position will also assist with the zoo’s herd of 0.5 elephants as needed. This position will work with curatorial staff to ensure compliance and excellent standards of elephant care, management, and consistency between the two programs.

The Elephant Manager will also be responsible for preparing and maintaining records for all aspects of elephant management. Supervises, trains, monitors, and mentors staff as well as participates in the care of elephants to meet the long-term goals of the Pittsburgh Zoo’s (PZ) elephant programs. 


·       Responsible for implementing the daily husbandry, welfare, training, enrichment, and reproduction programs of elephants.

·       Under the supervision of the curator develops goals and associated plans for the behavioral management of elephants

·       Oversees the behavioral management of elephants through observations and interactions with the elephants, evolving a positive reinforcement-training program using progressive best practices.

·       Objectively evaluates the welfare of animals within their responsibility and works with a team of keepers, curators, and veterinarians to monitor and make recommendations to enhance animal welfare.

·       Responsible for creating and maintaining a goal-oriented enrichment program for elephants that promotes enhanced psychological and physical health.

·       Develops and maintains protocols and elephant program to meet and exceed the AZA Standards for Elephant Management and Care and USDA standards.

·       Observes and monitors the health of animals in the area, maintains open communication with the Animal Health Team, and ensures adherence to the preventative health program and medical treatments.

·       Ensures safety of elephants, staff, and public in all spaces.

·       Inspects and monitors food preparation and storage areas for safety and cleanliness.

·       Prepares and maintains records of all aspects of animal management; records daily behavior, breeding behavior, capture and restraint, routine and non-routine medical procedures, etc. 

·       Documents all training and enrichment to show measurable outcomes.

·       Responsible for creating an environment where animals are given the greatest opportunity to exhibit natural behaviors.

·       Works with animals on a one-to-one basis such as bathing, collecting blood, cleaning feet, and other management behaviors.

·       Demonstrates good leadership traits including accepting input from employees and colleagues, arbitrating disputes, and instilling a positive work environment. Supervises and monitors the work of employees involved in the care and maintenance of the elephants and ungulates, providing both oral and written instructions and evaluations.

·       Excels at teaching and instructs employees in correct methods, checks and approves work, reviews, mentors, and evaluates employee performance, and establishes plans to develop employees for professional growth.

·       Plans, schedules, and assigns work to staff; establishes priorities. 

·       Coordinates and manages animals for transfer to and from PZ and ICC.

·       Facilitates research projects at the ICC; keeps current with ongoing elephant/animal research including scientific advances. 

·       Corresponds with other institutions and private specialists on current developments in elephant and general animal care and welfare.

·       Participates in the Zoo’s conservation education programming including presenting educational talks, as well as representing the ICC in the media and other public presentations.

·       Coordinates projects and repairs with the Director of the ICC.

·       Other duties as assigned.


·       Experience with elephants includes mixed gender and multi-generational herd management, artificial reproduction techniques, and neonate care in a protected contact environment as well as proficiency with and knowledge of all AZA elephant management techniques.  Experience with ungulates and other taxa is desirable.

·       Experience leading teams of animal professionals.

·       Excellent teaching, communication, and problem-solving skills.

·       Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers.

  • ·       Ability to deliver and receive constructive feedback


·       Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Biology, Zoology, Wildlife Management/Science or a related field or an Associate’s degree is preferred. High School diploma required.

·       Advanced knowledge of natural history and management of elephants in a zoo setting.

·       Minimum of five (5) years, increasing responsible experience in the care, training, handling, and breeding of elephants. Experience with male elephants and calves preferred.

·       Three (3) years supervisory/management experience.

·       Excellent elephant handling abilities, strong leadership and partnering skills, ability to operate as a member of a dynamic and diverse team, strong organizational time management, and problem-solving skills, and proven ability to successfully develop and implement a keeper training program and operant conditioning training program for the elephants.

·       Completion of AZA Principles of Elephant Management Course I required. Completion of PEM II is preferred.

·       Must have a current valid driver’s license with good driving record and the ability to obtain and maintain a PA driver’s license (within 6 months of hire).

·       Must have the ability to foster teamwork within and across teams.

·       Must have astute attention to detail.

·       Must provide documentation of current, negative TB test and Covid-19 full vaccination record.

·       Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.).

·       Manual dexterity and balance is required to operate machinery and equipment. Must be physically able to exert up to ten pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects. Work involves standing, walking, bending, reaching, crawling, crouching, etc. for periods of time. Must be able to lift and/or carry weights of fifty to seventy pounds. Position may require occasional off-site driving.  Must be able to work in various weather conditions, as well as evenings and holidays when required. 

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to:


Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

One Wild Place

Pittsburgh, PA 15206          

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer    


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

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