FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ELEPHANT MANAGERS ASSOCIATION
Who We Are
What is the Elephant Managers’ Association (EMA)’s mission?
EMA is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare and survival of the world’s elephants through improving communication, husbandry, research, education and conservation.
Its goals include the following:
- To promote and advance the profession of elephant training and management.
2. To promote research on elephant behavior, training and husbandry.
3. To promote conservation issues relative to elephants.
4. To promote high standards of safety and humane treatment in elephant training and husbandry.
5. To disseminate accurate and scientifically based information about elephants.
6. To promote better communication and relations among elephant managers through an annual conference and publications.
How does the EMA act out its mission?
The EMA holds an annual conference, hosted by a leader among the elephant management community each year. The conference gives members an opportunity to network, share information, and listen to presentations from elephant professionals, researchers and conservationists. The conference’s hosts allow members to tour their facility, and schedule trips to nearby facilities. Scholarships are available for EMA members.
The organization also raises funds to support several in-situ conservation efforts in Africa and Asia.
2011- 2015 “Hoofknives for Mahouts”
This program is a collaborated effort with the International Elephant Foundation to provide mahouts with footcare tools such as: hoofknives, rasps and files. Each year our efforts benefitted a different area throughout Asia in need of these tools (Sumatra, India and Myanmar). We have provided almost 500 tools to the mahouts within these areas.
2011 “Sumatran Training Workshop”
On behalf of the EMA, the Conservation Committee submitted a grant to the Phoenix Zoo’s Conservation and Science Department. The grant was approved and the EMA received $2950 for ongoing training for the mahouts in Sumatra. The Workshop was held on November 11-13, 2011 at the Minas Elephant Camp in Riau province. There were 59 registered participants with representatives from all of the Sumatran Elephant Conservation Centers (ECCs), Conservation Response Units (CRUs), and other elephant patrol units, as well as several zoos and safari parks from Java, Sumatra, and Bali.
2014 “FOKMAS- Sumatran Mahout Communication Forum”
FOKMAS- Sumatran Mahout Communication Forum was established in 2006 and is the first time that Indonesian mahouts have organized as a professional entity. FOKMAS’ goal is to increase the professionalism of the mahouts in their daily work with their elephants and in conservation efforts. EMA funding supported the annual Mahout Workshop. Improved communication and ongoing training via various modules during the annual Mahout Workshops has increased the capacity of its membership to participate and provide meaningful data to help Sumatran wildlife conservation and habitat protection efforts.
2015 “Conservation Response Unit (CRU’s) Mahouts Workshop”
Conservation Response Unit (CRU’s) mahouts from Bengkulu and Aceh, Sumatra, had the opportunity to attend a two-week training course at the (3) Way Kambas CRU basecamps. These EMA funded workshops are led by FOKMAS chairperson, Nazarruddin.
2015- 2016 “Elephants for Africa”
Elephants for Africa (EfA), founded by Dr. Kate Evans, is a small charity dedicated to the conservation of African elephants through research and education. EMA funding supported current its work in Botswana and South Africa. EfA strives to protect, conserve, and educate to ensure a future for wild populations of African elephants and to work towards the goal of humans and wildlife living alongside each other harmoniously.
The EMA also circulates two publications, The Journal of the Elephant Managers Association and Gray Matters, which have information on elephant husbandry, enrichment, conservation and more. In addition to these printed resources, the EMA’s website offers a Members’ Only section that contains documents on elephant management, educational resources, and access to our library of past publications.
The EMA is very active in working with lawmakers across the country to make them aware of the science behind elephant training, and is proud of its ongoing constructive efforts with city, state and federal regulatory agencies on all matters relating to elephant welfare.
Who are its members?
Most of the EMA’s members provide daily care to elephants in facilities throughout the world. Animal care administrators, veterinarians, researchers, educators, zoo volunteers and wildlife enthusiasts make up the remainder of our membership. However, any individual who cares about elephants and is interested in the objectives and goals set forth by the EMA is welcome to become a member. Currently, our work is accomplished through more than 300 individual members and 29 institutional members.
How did the organization begin?
In the early 1980’s, elephant professionals in North America began to gather for informal meetings, realizing the need for and the benefits of sharing information about elephant husbandry and training. In 1988, participants in the annual meeting held at the Jacksonville Zoo voted to officially form the EMA, and a steering committee of leading professionals in the field of elephant care was selected.
What We Do
How is the EMA affiliated with other organizations?
While the EMA is not formally linked with any other organization, many of its members work closely with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) on issues of conservation and continuing professional development. The EMA has also served in an advisory capacity to many regulatory agencies, including USDA/APHIS.
Does the EMA have a stance on banning ivory?
The EMA supports actions that will directly reduce the poaching of elephants in Africa and help end the illegal ivory trade, including the nationwide ban on the illegal ivory trade recently adopted by the U.S. However, we recognize that there is still progress to be made toward the goal of preventing the illegal poaching of elephants for their ivory. We fervently hope a solution can be reached before wild populations are negatively affected any further.
My legislators are proposing a ban on elephant tools. What’s the EMA’s stance on the use of tools such as the training guide and tethers?
Existing federal and industry regulations effectively govern the use of tools with animals. To enact legislation to further regulate these tools will only serve to negatively impact the ability of professional animal managers to properly care for their charges. All animal species are vastly different in their husbandry needs and each species requires specialized equipment to ensure proper care.
Tools such as elephant guides (or bullhooks) are safe and productive components of elephant care and training. As with all specialized equipment, their effective use requires skill and training while their complete elimination inhibits effective and proper management techniques that are specific to elephants due to their size and unique evolutionary adaptations. Elephant tools are not intended to injure or harm the animal and are proven and humane husbandry tools that are widely utilized by knowledgeable and experienced elephant care professionals in a variety of settings. They also add an increased degree of safety for the trainer, the animal, and the public.
How will my membership fee be spent?
Your membership fee will be used to defray the organization’s administrative costs and assist with the costs of the annual conference. The Board of Directors also meets at the end of the year to allocate funds to elephant conservation projects.
What do you hope to accomplish as an organization in the next ten years?
- We hope to increase individual and institutional memberships.
- We hope to become the number one source of elephant information for individuals connected to the elephant community and those who need general elephant information.
- We hope to continue fostering improved communication, husbandry, research and education through our annual conference, website, social media and publications.
- We hope to continue our conservation initiatives: Fieldwork, Education and Husbandry Tools.
How You Can Get Involved
How can I join?
There are several different levels of membership in the EMA. Your professional experience and affiliations will determine which level is right for you. Please visit our website at the following link to get started with your membership: http://elephantmanagers.com/join-the-ema-2/membership-caterogies/
Can I make a donation?
Yes, thanks! If you’re not interested in becoming a member but would still like to support our mission to help the world’s elephants, please contact the Board of Directors at email@example.com, or visit https://squareup.com/store/elephant-managers-association.
What is the best way to stay informed and updated on EMA news and happenings?
When you become a member you will have access to our publications, which will serve to keep you up-to-date on the significant happenings within the EMA. Attending a conference is another excellent way to keep in touch with news from the elephant community. Additionally, follow us on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit us at http://www.elephantmanagers.com to learn more.
What can I do to help wild elephants?
Great question! Elephants in Africa and Asia are disappearing every day and we’re so happy that you want to help the EMA in its fight against elephant extinction. Here are a few easy ways you can help the world’s elephants:
- Educate yourself on the issues affecting elephants and their habitats so you can vote in the most informed way possible.
- Contact your local government officials and voice your concerns about the issues pertinent to elephant conservation.
- Visit your local zoo or elephant facility. Their employees are well-informed about vital elephant conservation efforts that you may consider supporting.
- Be a conscientious shopper. Steer clear not only of ivory, but of products that contain palm oil, non fair-trade coffee and wood that has not been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. With these choices, you are supporting the companies who are managing their use of the wild elephants’ habitats in a responsible manner.
- Donate to EMA’s Conservation fund or support our partner organizations, the International Elephant Foundation and Elephant for Africa.
EMA’s Conservation Fund- https://squareup.com/store/elephant-managers-association
International Elephant Foundation: https://elephantconservation.org/
Elephants for Africa: http://www.elephantsforafrica.org/
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