Principles of Elephant Management I

Hosted by Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV
February 12 - 17, 2018 

From 2013 through 2017, enrollment in this course will be restricted to current elephant care professionals working in AZA-accredited institutions.  

For more information about the 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.

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, Senior Curator, Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Karen Gibson
Savanna Curator, Dallas Zoo
Daryl Hoffman
, Curator of Large Mammals, Houston Zoo
Sharon Joseph, Director of Welfare, Denver Zoo
Mike McClure, General Curator & Elephant Collections Manager, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Nick Newby, Supervisor of Pachyderms, Oklahoma City Zoo
Tracy Clippinger, Veterinarian, Smithsonian National Zoo

Tuition & Expenses

Registration Rate*
$875 for all elephant care professionals who work at an AZA member institution. Individuals will be registered through their institution's reservation request, if applicable. 

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. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

*Registration price is subject to change

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

Accepted forms of payment for registration are by: credit card, check or purchase order. 

Please note that this course's registration is based on a reservation process. Only institutions who have previously reserved spots will be able to request for a staff member to attend. The Professional Development Program will only reach out to these instiutions to confirm their available spaces in the fall.

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.


Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department .

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