Principles of Elephant Management I

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PEM Elephant

The elephant in the classroom!

February 8-13, 2016
Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV

From 2013 through 2016, enrollment in this course will be restricted to current elephant care professionals working in AZA-Accredited institutions. 

Contact the AZA Professional Development Program Manager at to reserve spaces for keepers at your institution.

For more information about the new PEM courses and requirements, view our FAQs.

Course Description

Principles in Elephant Management I focuses on the foundation necessary for developing comprehensive and proactive elephant management programs. Students will take away skills for creating self-sustaining elephant management programs. AZA Accreditation Standards require that at all elephant care professionals (keepers, managers, and directors) at institutions keeping elephants attend this course.

Tuition & Expenses

Registration Rate:
$850 for all Elephant Care Professionals work at an AZA Member Institution

Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
Final Registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

The AZA registration fee above covers only tuition for the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and meals. For more information about costs and logistics for courses hosted by Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV, visit our Wheeling Courses Travel Information page.

Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process.


Target Audience

This course is designed for elephant managers, curators who oversee elephant programs and elephant handlers.  At least one elephant manager at each institution keeping elephants is required to attend this course.   


None.  Priority will be given to individuals associated with AZA accredited institutions. If you are not employed by a zoo or aquarium, please submit a letter describing your interest in taking the course; instructors will then determine whether the class would suit your needs.  

Course Registration

Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices.  Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made.

Travel & Accommodations

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is the closest airport. Airport Limousine Plus and First Class Limo provide a shuttle service between PIT and the hotel.

Course participants stay at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia and classes meet on-site.

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Course Topics & Instructors

  • SSP/TAG Updates
  • Standards and Protocols
  • Training theory and terminology
  • Conflict Resolution
  • System Definitions
  • Behavioral Components
  • Public/Media Relations
  • Animal Welfare Issues
  • Enrichment
  • Tools/Equipment/Facility Design
  • Problem Solving
  • Medical Management
  • Elephant foot care
  • Elephant Reproduction/Birth Management/Calf introductions
  • Successful Elephant Program Components 

Bryan Amaral, Zoological Manager, Elephants
Disney's Animal Kingdom

Daryl Hoffman, Curator of Large Mammals
Houston Zoo

Sharon Joseph, Vice President of Animal Operations
Houston Zoo

Mike McClure, General Curator & Elephant Collections Manager
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Nick Newby, Supervisor of Pachyderms
Oklahoma City Zoo 

Ellen Wiedner, Veterinarian
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
The National Elephant Center



For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department or call (301) 562-0777 ext 251.