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It takes a team

It takes a team. 

When Zoo Atlanta moved elephants and animal care team members into the new Zambezi Elephant Center in 2019, it was a collective effort. Departments throughout the Zoo worked together for months preparing and eventually executing a safe and seamless move from the former elephant habitat to the new African Savanna. 

Over the past year and half, the Zambezi Elephant Center care team has built a new, progressive elephant care program. In many ways it is an accomplishment that overshadows the move to the new facility. The evolving elephant care training and care strategies encompass all that is critical to the well-being of the elephants. Team members have grown and become better trainers and clearer communicators. 

In some ways a new sense of urgency has emerged. Urgency to build on our elephant program, urgency to create and implement an elephant care and training program that is reflective of the new state-of-the-art facility, and urgency to contribute to the African elephant population throughout the United States and the conservation of their counterparts in the wild. The current state of the elephant population throughout the U.S. is not a self-sustaining model. Only through responsible breeding programs can the population improve.  In many ways the Zambezi Elephant Center represents the possibility to create positive change, to make an impact. Over time, the herd of three elephants at Zoo Atlanta will grow. New herd mates will someday arrive. 

A small team of dedicated, charismatic, loud, and opinionated Elephant Care Team members call the Zambezi Elephant Center home for 40 hours every week. They are driven, dedicated, passionate, and intelligent individuals who are unstoppable in my opinion. When they work as a team, there is no challenge that they cannot overcome, no positive reinforcement training goal that cannot be accomplished, and no amount of care that cannot be executed. 

When I reflect on the last two years, I think about all of these things. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been at the heart of such a historic time for Zoo Atlanta. I am motivated and driven to push the elephant program to continued success in the future, and I am humbled by the team that I get to experience it all with. 

Nate E.
Lead Keeper, Elephants and Elephant Program Manager

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