The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


Employment Opportunities

Elephant Caregiver

Position Summary
Provides daily care for elephants utilizing 'Protected Contact' elephant management and using only positive reinforcement.

Roles and Responsibilities

Elephant Care

  • Prepares pre-established daily diets; feeds in accordance with animal care protocols and related safety guidelines.
  • Observes, appropriately interprets and appropriately responds to elephant behaviors to optimize elephant husbandry and minimize environmental stressors for the elephants.
  • Adheres to weekly schedules for both day care and night feedings.
  • Observes/notes consumption; distinguishes/reports significant changes in consumption.
  • Is proficient in or has the ability to develop proficiency in implementation of foot care.
  • Assists Veterinary staff in assessments of animal health and implementation of preventative care and other medical care.
  • Ability to interpret and reports signs of elephant health issues.
  • Assists in preparation and deliveries of browse and other forms of environmental enrichment.
  • Safely and efficiently works with the elephants, with the elephant’s behavioral responses in mind, to effectively shift or move elephants within their barn, into or out of their barn, or within habitats.
    • This requirement acknowledges the elephant's option to ignore any such requests at any given time. Must demonstrate the knowledge and/or ability to effectively encourage the elephant to cooperate, using strictly positive reinforcement.
  • Implements behavior modification program utilizing Protected Contact elephant management using only positive reinforcement.
  • Trains elephant to new or maintains pre-existing behaviors to facilitate blood collection, trunk wash, pilling, foot care, or implementation of other husbandry or veterinary procedures to ensure the health and well-being of the elephant.
  • Maintains daily logs and record keeping.


  • Consistently ensures/checks containment infrastructure (e.g. fence, gates) to ensure elephant containment. Monitors and ensures infrastructure in constant working order; reports breakage/failures in a timely manner to supervisor.
  • Provides daily cleaning and upkeep of elephant facilities, including but not limited to barn service areas, elephant stalls, habitats, and any other related infrastructure, all in Protected Contact system of elephant management.
  • Makes minor repairs to infrastructure; contacts Lead when nature of repair requires assistance.

Maintenance / Supplies

  • Assists in unloading hay deliveries.
  • Monitors and maintains feeds and husbandry supplies.  Orders/purchases supplies at best prices following existing ordering protocols.
  • Does basic maintenance on vehicles; ensures the safety of all vehicles at all times.


  • Ensures that all tasks are performed in a safe manner around elephants: maintains safe distances from elephants or elephant barriers in accordance with existing safety guidelines; is constantly aware of own, elephant and other Caregiver's posture and position when working in protected contact in close proximity to elephants; maintains constant awareness of elephants and safety of other Caregivers in proximity.
  • Observes established protocol in regards to TB and other related safety precautions as necessary.
  • Participates in elephant escape and other emergency practice protocols and in real emergencies, if required.

Administrative / Other

  • Participates in any training as required by supervisor or Sanctuary policies.
  • Monitors ele-cam location and provides appropriate text.
  • Makes presentations to the local community at events as required.
  • Provides written updates for internal newsletter (Ele-buzz) and other communications as needed.
  • Observes and adheres to all policies of the Sanctuary.


  • Team Oriented – Develop strong working relationships with other Sanctuary employees, senior management and the board. Keep supervisor and the Director of Elephant Husbandry informed of issues, concerns and problems and be prepared with recommendations to resolve issues as they arise.
  • Good Communicator – Communicate respectfully and effectively with others. Keep management informed of both internal and/or external issues and concerns. Good communication skills both verbal and written.
  • Self-Motivated – Perform the job with minimal supervision and learn other general aspects of The Sanctuary. Strong work ethic and professional demeanor. Ability to recognize and understand issues and problems, then resolve them in a practical manner.
  • Dependable and Reliable – Come to work and be on time. Follow procedures and maintain accurate records related to all aspects of elephant care and all areas of responsibility.
  • Training – Identify and engage in on-going training for self.  Work with supervisor to address training needs and develop training plan to ensure on-going professional development.


  • One year combined volunteer, intern, or paid experience working with exotic or native wildlife preferred; elephant experience preferred.
  • One year preferred experience working in protected contact and positive reinforcement-based training systems.
  • Bachelor Degree in related field preferred.
  • Valid Driver's License, insurable to drive company vehicles, and ability to provide own transportation to/from work.


  • Must be able to stand/work for 8 hours in all weather conditions.
  • Must be able to lift 50lbs repeatedly during loading/unloading supplies.
  • Must be able to drive, or learn to drive, large farm equipment.
  • Must be able to perform repetitive manual tasks, (cutting produce, pressure washing).


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 any time, with or without advance notice and with or without cause.

Equality 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.