Asian Elephant Support has had representation at many Elephant Managers Association (EMA) conferences, even before AES became a non-profit. Because we believe these conferences are a valuable resource in Asian elephant conservation, the AES Board members are willing to pay their own travel costs in order to attend.
The EMA is an international non-profit organization of professional elephant handlers, administrators, veterinarians, researchers, and elephant enthusiasts. These are the people who share the joys and never forget the sorrows that are part of being dedicated to the care and future of this magnificent animal. The EMA is dedicated to the welfare of the world’s elephants through conservation, husbandry, research, education and communication. Members adhere to a code of professional ethics and are committed to providing care for elephants at the highest professional level.
The conference always begins with a social event for people to see old friends and start developing new relationships centered on working with elephants. October 7 and 8 were full of interesting presentations from elephant keepers, managers, zoo directors, conservationists, researchers, and veterinarians from around the world.
This was an opportunity for us to gain first-hand knowledge of the work being done around the world to improve the lives of elephants in captive situations and in wild populations. It is also a time to share the work that AES has been able to accomplish over the year as a result of the generosity of our supporters.
Director, April Yoder, gave a presentation on AES and we were also given a display table so we could educate the attendees on our conservations efforts and of the needs of elephants in Asian range countries.
The individuals who work closely with elephants every day have a unique opportunity to share information with the general public. It is this knowledge and awareness that will truly make a difference for the future of Asian elephants.
While many of the people who attend the EMA conferences work directly with elephants in some capacity, it is not a requirement for membership. The EMA members who are elephant enthusiasts are a power force in the battle for the elephants’ survival. Our president, Linda, received an award from the EMA board of directors for founding AES and for her continuing enthusiasm for elephants.
The remainder of the conference provided similar opportunities to share knowledge and experiences. The day at the Dallas Zoo included behind the scene tours, demonstrations, and workshops. Even the evenings were full of events and plenty of conversations about elephants.
We would like to thank the Dallas Zoo staff for making the 34th annual conference a great experience and we encourage everyone to become involved in the EMA and the elephant community. The 2015 conference will be in Toledo, Ohio. YOU are invited! To learn more about the EMA visit www.elephantmanagers.com.