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  • 03/27/2021 12:10 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    Job Title: Elephant Keeper

    FLSA Status: Non-exempt

    Hours: Full-time

    About us:

    We are an equal opportunity employer that sets out to inspire, educate and engage people to serve as lifelong stewards for animals, their habitats and their conservation, both locally and from a far. Together, we can preserve and enhance the legacy of the zoo and its species for future generations to come! We are Nebraska's #1 tourist attraction and consistently ranked among the top zoos in the world!

    About the team:

    A team of about 300 full-time and 650 part-time staff members strong, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium benefits the lives of more than 1,415 species across 162 acres of land. We also support the efforts of numerous field conservation projects and research projects that help ensure a future for endangered and critically endangered flora and fauna around the world, even right here in Nebraska! Our team makes a big impart and every role is essential to move our conservation mission forward. From the much-needed Keepers to care for our species to the important Food and Beverage employees helping us gain funds to further continue our mission. This is definitely a unique place to work, employees are exposed to a fun atmosphere, where each workday is never the same. Our zoo is world-class with unmatched scenery to help you get through your duties!

    About Omaha:

    There’s just something about living in Omaha. Something that makes you feel alive and in the moment. Maybe it’s the shorter drive times or the lower cost of living. Or maybe it’s the world-class dining, arts and entertainment that are never too far away. Most likely, it’s the combination of those things that help you settle in and show out, living your best life in one of America’s most up-and-coming cities. Here are a few things that make Omaha easy for us to call home!

    ·       Work: The average commute is 20.2 minutes. #8 City for the Best Work-Life Balance. (Kisi, 2019)

    ·       Cost of living: 27% less than the national average. A one-bedroom apartments rent is 21% below average. (National Association of Realtors, “Median Sales Price of Existing Single-Family Homes for Metropolitan Areas”)

    ·       Hobbies: Home to 85+ miles of paved, interconnected trails for walking, jogging and biking. 30+ lake communities along with 14 state parks all within 40 miles. (Yelp, 2017)

    • About the role: 

      We are looking for an enthusiastic and driven animal care professional to join our elephant care team as our herd prepares to grow by one! Multigenerational herd management is the core of this elephant program. Our focus is with maintaining and improving female herd dynamics, facilitating natural breeding, and providing for appropriate male social opportunities. We strive to provide the maximum amount of choice and control to our elephants through our management practices. The elephants are managed in a protected contacted system following AZA’s Standards for Elephant Management and Care. 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 and exhibit maintenance, feeding, enrichment, detailed record keeping, behavioral observations, browse collection, general maintenance, public demonstrations, and husbandry training. This is a 40 hour per week position that includes weekends and holidays. This position reports to the Elephant Manager.

      Duties and Responsibilities (include but not limited to):

      ·       General exhibit and holding area cleaning and maintenance.

      ·       Planning, implementing, and evaluating daily resource management to improve elephant wellness.

      ·       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.

      ·       Assisting with husbandry and veterinary care.

      ·       Public training demonstrations and keeper chats.

      ·       Regular team meetings.

    • Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

      ·       Must have a high school diploma (or GED) with a preference for a bachelor's degree in Zoology, Biology, or a related field. 

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

      ·       Completion of AZA’s Principles of Elephant Management 1 is a plus.

      ·       Experience with operant conditioning techniques utilizing positive reinforcement is preferred.

      ·       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.

      ·       Candidates should be familiar with or capable of learning the safe use of various power tools and heavy equipment including but not limited to chainsaws, drills, and a Bobcat or similar equipment.

      ·       The ability to work well as part of a team, by listening and contributing.

      ·       The ability to work in a fast paced and dynamic environment. 

      ·       Must have a strong work ethic.

      ·       An understanding of behavioral welfare and its importance, along with an understanding of behavior-based enrichment and how to implement and evaluate its effectiveness.

      ·       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.

      ·       Great attention to detail in all aspects of their work and record keeping.

      ·       An excellent safety records.

      ·       Strong public speaking skills are preferred.

      ·       Basic computer skills for data entry utilizing Microsoft programs.

    • Candidates might be required to pass a pre-employment background check, drug test, negative TB test, Covid-19 test, and possess a valid driver’s license with a good history.

      Working Conditions and Physical Effort:

      ·       Must be able to work extended/odd hours including weekends, holidays and some night programs.

      ·       Must be able to work in all weather conditions.

      ·       Must be able to walk long distances across the zoo. 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.

      ·       Must be able to stand, sit, kneel, bend, twist, reach above head and climb.

      ·       Will lift, push, pull, and/or move up to 70 pounds routinely and occasionally up to 100 pounds using safe and proper lifting methods.

    • Employee Benefits:

      Eligible employees at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are provided a wide range of benefits. Throughout the hiring process we will provide you with more benefit details and which ones apply to your role.


      ·       401(k) savings plan.

      ·       Flexible spending account.

      ·       Medical insurance.

      ·       Dental insurance.

      ·       Vision insurance.

      ·       Employee assistance program.

      ·       Life insurance.

      ·       Long-term disability.

      ·       Voluntary term life insurance.

      ·       Vacation, sick leave, holiday and paid-time off (PTO) accrual.

      ·       Uniforms are provided.

      ·       Free annual tickets for rides.

    • Part-Time (the benefits below also apply to full-time staff)

      ·       Free Zoo and Wildlife Safari Park membership for you and your immediate family.

      ·       Employee discounts.

      ·       Behind-the-scenes sneak peek at new exhibits.


    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 https://www.omahazoo.com/workhere

  • 01/17/2021 7:02 PM | Chase LaDue (Administrator)

    EMA is excited to feature new merchandise with artwork by EMA member Andrew Shek! You can browse a variety of items, including shirts, socks, sweatshirts, joggers, and phone cases. To access the new merchandise, click on "SHOP" at the top of this page, or click here.

  • 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.

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