Written by General Curator, Chris Massaro
On May 18th, ZooTampa hosted the Next Generation of Elephant Management (NextGEM) workshop. This three-day event brought elephant care professionals from around the nation together to learn from each other’s successes and address challenges in the community in order to collectively advance elephant welfare. NextGEM was the first workshop offered for elephant care professionals to focus almost entirely on improving elephant psychological wellness through progressive, behavioral management strategies. The workshop attendees came from diverse backgrounds including universities, sanctuaries, and many zoos.
Presentations included several accomplishments in the field such as advancing bull elephant socialization and management, international travel for improving care and practices abroad, and successes achieved through positive reinforcement training. It was truly an incredible experience to be a part of a community of professionals from many different backgrounds, perspectives, and philosophies, but all united for elephants around the globe!
We were honored to be chosen to host NextGEM due to our program achievements and commitment to advancing elephant welfare. Why are workshops like these so important? This workshop focuses more on animal welfare than conservation. ZooTampa and their partnering institutions are working together to provide elephant care professionals with the latest strategies for improving the lives of elephants living in the care of people all around the globe.
ZooTampa would like to thank their partnering institutions, the NextGEM presenters and all attendees for their contributions, achievements, and dedication to advancing elephant welfare and helping to secure a bright and sustainable future for all elephants!