The Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is proud to announce the dates for our 44th annual conference, hosted by both the Fort Worth Zoo and Dallas Zoo on October 2 to 5, 2023. The conference will include a trip to both zoos, behind-the-scenes demonstrations at both facilities, two days packed with presentations, a banquet and silent auction, and a post-conference trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

EMA President Tripp Gorman stated, "EMA is very excited to have two incredible hosts collaborate and open their doors to elephant professionals from around the world. Delegates will get the opportunity to attend two premier elephant care facilities and learn from colleagues while experiencing Texan hospitality. We are planning a conference that will give everyone plenty of opportunities to discover and exchange new ideas."

Fort Worth Zoo features Elephant Springs, an award-winning habitat, that immerses guests into an Asian-themed fishing village. Lush landscapes and sparkling watering holes provide a continuously enriching experience for the Zoo's herd of Asian elephants. The multiple varied habitats allow for endless exploring and give the herd members opportunities to mix and mingle in ways that they would in the wild. The indoor habitat contains 11 stalls with substrate floors that are interconnected. This complex is equipped with indoor and outdoor training spaces that provide keepers with the ability to get up-close views and, in some cases, hands-on examinations of the animals. Fort Worth Zoo's Elephant Springs is dedicated to caring for a multigenerational herd, providing each member with all the creature comforts.

Dallas Zoo features Giants of the Savanna, another award-winning habitat exhibiting elephants and other large African species in expansive, naturalistic habitats. This project encompasses an 11-acre site, featuring two multi-species habitats for African elephants, giraffe, zebra, kudu, and ostrich—the first in the nation to mix elephants alongside these other species; a dry riverbed habitat for warthogs; and kopje habitats for African painted dogs and lions. The habitats were designed to encourage active and natural behaviors from the animals and provide many enrichment elements including three large swimming holes, three elephant activity stations, and a 40-foot-tall artificial fig tree feeder. The indoor habitat provides the African elephant herd with substrate stalls and training areas so they can participate in their own healthcare.

EMA partners with elephant programs that stand out as leaders in the elephant community to host the annual conference. The annual gathering promotes the cooperative exchange of information, open channels of communication, and meaningful networking opportunities for all elephant care professionals. Host facilities are chosen based on their commitment to elephants, their support of conservation and research efforts, their hospitality, and their demonstrated willingness to foster growth and development in all who work closely with elephants.

EMA's annual conference is the most accessible and affordable opportunity for elephant care professionals to expand their knowledge and professional network. Delegates will receive cutting edge information focusing on professional elephant management trends and will have the opportunity to see firsthand the methods employed by other established elephant programs.

With the help of EMA's Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, both of our conference hosts—Fort Worth Zoo and Dallas Zoo—will have the opportunity to showcase the features that make them premier elephant programs. Please save the dates and join us on October 2 to 5, 2023.

For all conference-related information, please keep an eye on this page, or you can contact the EMA Conference Committee at

Sunday, October 1: Board of Directors meeting (invitation only)

Monday, October 2: Zoo Day and Ice-breaker at Dallas Zoo

Tuesday, October 3: Paper presentations at Fort Worth Zoo

Wednesday, October 4: Paper presentations at Fort Worth Zoo

Thursday, October 5: Zoo Day, Silent Auction, and Banquet at Fort Worth Zoo

Friday, October 6: Post-conference trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (separate registration necessary)

To register for the conference, click here.

All attendees must register online, and full conference registration for EMA members costs $200 (non-member registration costs $245). Late registration for members and non-members (after September 11) will cost $275. Registration fees include transportation to/from hotel, and Dallas Zoo and Fort Worth Zoo; conference meals (including ice-breaker and banquet); and access to paper presentations.

To receive the discounted member rate, EMA members should be log in to the website using their membership credentials. When registering, the email address provided must match the email of your membership.

The post-conference trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center costs $50 (includes transportation to/from hotel and lunch).

The post-conference trip will be at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center near Glen Rose, TX. Fossil Rim is a wildlife park specializing in captive breeding programs for indigenous and exotic endangered and threatened species. A unique wildlife experience, Fossil Rim is home to species such as black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, Arabian oryx, dama gazelle, Grevy's zebra, Przewalski's horse, eastern mountain bongo, sable antelope, scimitar-horned oryx, maned wolf, and cheetah. Registration for the post-conference trip costs $50. To register for the post-conference trip, please click here.

Can't make the whole EMA conference this year? No problem. Sign up for the days you can attend! Prices for individual components of the conference are:

Ice-breaker and Zoo Day at Dallas Zoo: $65

Paper Day 1 (October 3) at Fort Worth Zoo: $50

Paper Day 2 (October 4) at Fort Worth Zoo: $50

Zoo Day and Banquet at Fort Worth Zoo: $60

To register, please click here.

EMA will be celebrating the occasion with conference shirts, and a preview of the shirt will be available soon. All those interested are able to purchase a conference shirt alongside their registration. EMA conference t-shirts are $30 each. To register, please click here.

To book your hotel accommodations at this year's conference venue (Hyatt Place Fort Worth/TCU), please click here. You may also call 1-888-492-8847 to make your reservations and use the group code G-TEMA to receive discounted rates.

The cut-off date for discounted rates is September 11, 2023.

Your stay at at Hyatt Place Fort Worth/TCU will include:

  • Kickstart your morning with a complimentary breakfast, which includes three freshly prepared hot items, assorted cereals, breakfast breads, fresh fruits, chilled juices, and freshly brewed coffee.
  • Enjoy your home away from home in one of the spacious guestrooms complete with Large L-Shape Queen Size Sofa Sleepers in every room, Exclusive Hyatt Luxury Pillowtop Mattress, and swiveling HDTV to stay entertained from every corner of the room. Each room also include an in-room safe, mini fridge, hair dryer, iron, and ironing board.
  • After your cardio workout in the 24-hour fitness center, take a dip in the outdoor pool complete with tanning ledge!
  • End your evening by heading up to the Lot 12 Rooftop Bar, which showcases stunning views of Downtown Fort Worth and TCU Campus, elevated bar cuisine, extensive TCU-inspired drinks, 2,500 square feet of interior space, 6,000 square feet of exterior space, and Topgolf Swing Suites, where leisure meets play.

The EMA Conference Committee is currently seeking donations to offset the costs of the 44th Annual EMA Conference. All contributors will be recognized throughout the conference during our program and throughout signage. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your support for both elephants and elephant professionals. To learn more about how you or your organization can help donate to the 2023 EMA Conference, please view the 44th Annual EMA Conference Sponsorship Letter.

EMA is now accepting papers for our 2023 conference. To submit your paper, please complete the Call for Papers form with your contact information and abstract. All forms are due July 1, 2023. The Call for Papers Committee will be selecting papers that cover all topics in elephant management. Presentations will be 15 minutes long with a five-minute question and answer period. Presenters will be selected and notified by July 23, 2023. Once selected as a presented, the Committee will contact you about the conference schedule and other details regarding your presentation.

In 2023, EMA will offer two scholarship opportunities to be used for members to attend the EMA conference. This year, conference scholarships are being sponsored by Myakka Elephant Ranch. One applicant will be awarded an EMA conference scholarship, and a second will be eligible for the AMZAP EMA conference scholarship. Scholarship winners must present a paper at the conference, be interviewed for a feature in Gray Matters before the conference, and write an article for the Journal of the Elephant Managers Association after the conference.

Scholarship applications are due by July 10, and winners will be notified by July 31. Click here to access the application materials. For more information, please contact Scholarship Chair Nate Elgart (

Each year during the annual conference, the host facility gathers items for a silent auction. The silent auction is held during the conference's banquet night. All proceeds form the silent auction help fund our annual scholarship awards. We are currently gathering elephant books, art, clothing, and collectibles. Even if you are not able to attend the 2023 EMA Conference, you can still donate your items. We encourage all donors to donate items via mail before the conference. All donations must be submitted with a donation form and shipped to the address indicated on the form. To donate, please complete the EMA Silent Auction Donation Form, and print and send with your items to the address listed on the form.

The Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is an international, 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization.

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