The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


Employment Opportunities

Director of Elephant Husbandry


Responsible for directing the day-to-day care and husbandry management program for The Sanctuary’s elephants, exclusively using positive reinforcement in a Protected Contact management system. Ensures that the Sanctuary’s mission and core values with regard to elephant management are implemented, and represents the mission and core values when appropriate through The Sanctuary’s education and PR programs.


  • Supervised by the CEO.
  • Supervises the Caregivers and Lead Caregivers
  • Position Type: Full-Time, Exempt
  • Pre-employment Requirements: Drug Test, TB Test, Health Screen for N95 Mask, Valid Driver's License
  • Once employed, is subject to Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement, I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, E-Verify and random Drug and Alcohol Tests, and annual TB Test


Elephant Husbandry

  • Manages and implements the Sanctuary’s elephant husbandry plan. With CEO, Senior Management Team, and Lead Caregivers, develops husbandry plan for all barns and habitats, including elephant acquisitions and elephant husbandry training.
  • Leads Elephant Protected Contact Training programs while ensuring staff safety to support necessary elephant learned behaviors to facilitate essential veterinary care well checks and health care treatments for all resident elephants.
  • Develops the Sanctuary’s Husbandry budget and manages expenses within budget guidelines.
  • Ensures the highest husbandry standards and a professional environment by participating in on-going education activities to ensure standards utilized are current and up to date based on the latest elephant care and husbandry information available.


  • Ensures compliance with the requirements of USDA, TWRA and other federal and state regulatory agencies.
  • Ensures all work practices are safe and legal. Provides support for and insistence on the practice of positive reinforcement within a Protected Contact management system is essential.
  • Ensures all record keeping related to key areas is accurate and timely.


  • Acts as liaison with other elephant facilities and ensures a productive flow of information between external facilities and The Sanctuary.
  • Acts as the spokesperson for The Sanctuary as appropriate.
  • Ensures all messaging regarding husbandry matters is accurate and appropriately communicated. Outlets include press statements and interviews, Trunklines and Ele-notes etc.
  • Provides input as needed into The Sanctuary’s education program.


  • Manages and implements elephant training programs to facilitate elephant learned behaviors, and provides leadership to staff in all areas of elephant training.
  • Manages and leads Caregiver training program. Assists Lead Caregivers in ensuring expeditious and safe training of all new Caregivers. Oversees and evaluates progress. Ensures programs are implemented to enhance education and experience of team members.
  • Works with Lead Caregivers to establish annual goals for Caregivers, and participates in annual performance reviews. Conducts annual performance evaluations of staff to ensure employees are engaged and productive. Provides ongoing professional growth plans for all staff with a focus on employee satisfaction.
  • Manages all Caregiver staff and ensures appropriate Caregiver staffing levels. Responsible for recruiting, hiring, and retaining quality staff.


  • Works in collaboration with the Director of Facilities to oversee facility projects.
  • Works with Lead Caregivers to train staff and ensure safe containment infrastructure (e.g. fence, gates) practices are implemented.
  • Monitors and ensures infrastructure maintains working order at all times. Reports issues identified to the Director of the facilities team and collaborates to resolve issues.


  • Works in collaboration with the Senior Management team to ensure protocol in regards to tuberculosis and other related safety precautions are followed.
  • Participates in elephant escape and other emergency practice protocols and in real emergencies, if required.

Qualifications and competencies

  • Bachelor Degree in related field.
  • Seven to ten years experience in an exotic animal facility, elephant facility preferred.
  • Five years management and leadership experience with a proven track record of successful team building.
  • Knowledge of elephant behavior, physiology, anatomy, nutrition, and pathology, and ability to utilize that knowledge to effectively manage elephants in an exclusively positive reinforcement environment.
  • Working knowledge and experience with elephant management systems with emphasis on Protected Contact.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in Protected Contact elephant management system and supervise and instruct others in fundamentals of Protected Contact.
  • Must be able to stand/work for 8 hours in all weather conditions.
  • Must be able to lift 50lbs repeatedly.
  • Must be able to drive, or learn to drive, large farm equipment.
  • Must be able to walk several miles in hilly, rough terrain.


At-Will Employment: The State of Tennessee and The Sanctuary recognize all employment to be ‘at-will’. This means that you, the employee, as well as The Sanctuary can terminate employment at anytime, with or without advance notice and with or without cause.

Equal Employment Opportunity: It is our policy to treat you and all employees equally without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, veteran status, or disability.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Free Workplace: The Sanctuary is a drug, alcohol, and tobacco free workplace, and prohibits all employees from using non-prescribed drugs, alcohol or tobacco in any form while on duty.

Employees are subject to E-Verify to assure they are eligible to work in the United States.

Forward your resume and cover letter to
    Email: or
    Fax:  931-796-7493
No telephone calls please. All applications will be held in strict confidence.