Principles of Elephant Management I

Hosted by Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV
February 13-18, 2023

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 all elephant care professionals (keepers, managers, and directors) at institutions keeping elephants attend this course.

Course Objectives
  • 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

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening ceremony
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Classes meet all day

Last Day
- Classes meet
- Closing Ceremony

Attendance is required for course participants for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed. 


Bryan Amaral, Senior Curator - Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Jennifer D'Agostino, DVM, DACZM, Director of Veterinary Services - Oklahoma City Zoo
Daryl Hoffman
, Curator of Large Mammals - Houston Zoo
Sharon Joseph, Project Manager - Birmingham Zoo
Mike McClure
, General Curator & Elephant Collections Manager - Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Nick Newby, Elephant Program Manager - White Oak Conservation Center
Vernon Presley, Curator - Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Is This Course Right For You?

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 to for consideration.

Travel & Accommodations

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

Lodging information coming soon.

Course participants stay at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia and classes meet on-site. All lodging reservations are priced per person at a package rate. Your accommodations will include breakfast, lunches, dinners, and snacks throughout the entirety of your stay. 

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.

For information regarding our code of conduct, registration, and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

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

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