Job Postings

Elephant Handler


Natural Bridge Zoological Park

Closing Date
October 23, 2020

Natural Bridge Zoo is seeking a FULL TIME Elephant Handler.
This position works in FREE CONTACT with ONE FEMALE AFRICAN ELEPHANT that is 36 years old. The cow has resided at the park since 2 years of age.
This position reports directly to the park’s curators and director.

Daily Responsibilities/duties include, but are not limited to:

-Maintaining all elephant voluntary husbandry behaviors and providing the best care through a robust animal training program.
-Ensuring the elephant’s well-being is prioritized through behavior based enrichment and proper feeding strategies.
-Handler is responsible for providing overall daily care, maintenance and inspection of the elephant’s habitat, holding areas, equipment and related public areas to ensure animal health and safety, staff safety, and public safety through standard operating procedures for animal care as set forth by USDA.
-Performs minor maintenance and repairs on enclosures, equipment and habitat furnishings
-Daily monitoring of the elephant’s physical and mental wellbeing to check for changes in behavior, diet consumption, signs of illness etc.
-Providing all skin, foot, tusk care etc. Maintaining records of any changes.
-Handler will be responsible for cleaning the inside of her barn, maintaining her yards, and other access areas.
-Working with the veterinarian in assessing any issues, and providing medical care as directed.
-Picking up food from other locations in the park and delivering them to the elephant area.
-Daily diet preparation, foraging enrichment, supplements etc. to provide the proper balance of ingredients; ensures food preparation area is clean, disinfected and properly sanitized.
-Continuing the elephant’s daily operant conditioning/behavioral sessions, maintains trained behaviors and conditions new behaviors.
-Handler is also responsible for a few other small tasks outside the elephant area in the form of assisting in providing feed to antelope groups.

Additional Requirements :
Natural Bridge Zoo is one of the few zoological facilities that does interactions with the visitors to the park. During the months of May- September, the elephant participates in limited elephant rides. Ride time is generally 12-3pm with breaks taken in between.

Private tours are conducted at the park and the elephant is featured, where the handler or other speaker gives a short educational talk about elephants, and visitors are permitted to experience an elephant’s trunk taking a carrot from their hand. There is a barrier fence between the visitors and the elephant.
Educational demonstrations to help meet the elephant’s daily exercise needs.

Education and Pre-requisites

Experience Required Minimum Qualifications:
-5+ years of experience in FREE CONTACT elephant work. This is non-negotiable.
-Must possess a Driver license.
-Must be able to work days, nights, holidays, and weekends on a varied work schedule. -This position is 6 days a week, and sometimes 7 if the park director is away.
-Proficiency in operant conditioning and behavioral monitoring of elephants.
-Ability to operate pressure washers and other hand tools.
-Ability to drive a skid steer with bucket and fork attachment a plus.

Compensation and benefits

This is a Salary based position. The handler will be provided a furnished multi bedroom house with a yard that is on NB Zoo offsite property. Electric and water are included. Yard maintenance is provided.

NBZoo is a privately owned and operated facility. Our single elephant is the handler’s primary responsibility, and requires them to be in the elephant area during visitor hours. Beyond daily chores, the handler has ample leisure time during the day to create enrichment, work on continued positive training, etc. We encourage creativity and new ideas to help generate fun stimulating experiences for the elephant, the visitors and help provide additional funding for the elephant department. NBZoo is willing to arrange additional compensation for additional revenue brought in.

Application instructions

Please send resume, cover letter and at least 3 references (with their contact information) to Attn: Elephant Director