This year the Elephant Manager's Association conference was held in Toledo, Ohio and hosted by the Toledo Zoo. Ben Whitebread, their elephant manager, and his crew put together a wonderful program full of a wide variety of topics to both educate and entertain. AES was well represented at the conference with three directors and one chairperson in attendance. AES president Linda Reifschneider presented on behalf of AES, while Vice President, April Yoder presented on behalf of the EMA Conservation Committee (another hat she wears). You may remember in the past an effort in collaboration with the EMA to provide hoof knives for mahouts in Assam, India. This year AES is supporting the EMA/IEF effort to raise funds for the knives which will be sent to Myanmar this go around.
We were also pleased to become reacquainted with the two co-founders of Wildlife SOS, Geeta Sheshamani and Kartick Satyanarayan, who work diligently in India to rescue and rehabilitate not just elephants, but sloth bears among many other animals in need. We discussed the possibility of collaborating with SOS Wildlife in the future and will be looking for ways to work together to improve the care and conservation of elephants in India.
All in all the trip was full of friends and colleagues, old and new, the chance to visit two elephant programs at both Toledo and Cleveland, and two days full of engaging presentations. Again, we'd like to thank the Toledo Zoo and all of those who made this conference possible.