European Elephant Management

Mr. Alan Roocroft



Elephant Business
16326 Swartz Canyon Rd.
Ramona, CA 92065 U.S.A.
office: 760-788-1002
fax:    760-788-1022


1991-Present Elephant Business, Owner/Operator of a small consultancy company.
The business offers a wide range of elephant management techniques and husbandry practices. Primary assisting zoological institutions, circuses and government agencies responsible for the care of captive elephants.

1996-2002 Elephant Care Specialist, Zoological Society San Diego, Advisor to the behavioral staff on elephant health issues.

1989-1996 Manager of Elephant Programs, Zoological Society of San Diego.
Developed and implemented a comprehensive free contact training program for the San Diego Zoo. Position also involved fund-raising, publicity, liaison between ZSSD and fellow elephant-holders, (zoos, circuses, private exhibiters.) Advisor to the behavioral staff on the development of a protected contact elephant program.

1983-1989 Animal Training Supervisor, Zoological Society of San Diego. Responsible for the daily management of 23 Asian and African elephants and the training and supervision of 11 elephant handlers. Also performed elephant rides, shows, off grounds presentations, education programs for schools, TV commercials and talk show appearances, with elephants. Initiated Asian elephant breeding program. Supervised a Camel and Llama ride, oversaw Wildlife Workshop an educational program with mixed animals.

1982 Elephant Trainer, Miami Metro Zoo. Responsible for the training of the elephants and staff.

1973-1983 Elephant Handler, Hagenbeck`s Tierpark, West Germany.

1967-1973 Elephant Department Supervisor, North of England Zoological Society, Chester Zoo. Responsible for elephant care and staff supervision.


Conducted field studies in Sri Lanka (three expeditions) and Thailand (two expeditions) to study working elephants.

Conducted field studies in Tanzania and Kenya (twice each) to study elephant conditions in the wild and in game preserves.

Thoroughbred Horse Ranch, Ramona, CA. Stallion management through breeding season, and mare and foal care during birth.

Developed working knowledge of training and management techniques involving dromedary camels, snakes and other animals.

Published photographer of horses, elephants and other animals.

Speaks fluent German, and maintains important and valuable relationships with zoological peers throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.


University of San Diego, College of Graduate & Extended Studies, 1990-1993. Instructors course for elementary school teacher’s cross- curriculum planning focusing on endangered species.

University of San Diego, 1991. “ Creative Kids”
summer sessions on endangered species.


Kiwanis Club, Escondido
Rotary Clubs, Escondido and San Diego
Masonic Lodge, Escondido.
American Association of Zookeepers, San Diego.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 1999.
Guest Speaker at a student-training course Amersfoort Zoo, Holland, Guest Speaker at zoo members meeting, 2002.


Toledo Zoo, April 2003.
Coordination and assistance with the successful birth of an African elephant.

Safari de Peaugres, France, April 2003.
Elephant program overview evaluation and the introduction of future design concepts for keeper and elephant training.

Madrid Zoo, April 2003.
Protected Contact program implementation evaluation and elephant health check.

Philadelphia Zoo, March 2003.
New elephant facility design meeting and program evaluation.

Toledo Zoo, March 2003.
Program evaluation and discussion into the transition to Protected Contact.

Beekse Bergen Safari Park Holland, March 2003.
Program evaluation and transition to Protected Contact.

Chester Zoo, November 2002.
Review of Protected Contact Training with Chang and Upali.

Boras Zoo, Sweden, November 2002.
Elephant Program evaluation and assistance with facility redesign.

Santa Barbara Zoo October 2002.
Feasibility of crate training and moving two Asian elephants.
Also advise on redesign of their elephant facility into a Protected Contact facility.

Madrid Zoo, September 2002.
Elephant immobilization and feet pedicure under the observation of Dr Andrew Greenwood.
Elephant program evaluation at the Madrid Zoo & Velwo Safari Park.

Chester Zoo August, 2002.
The training of “Chang” the male elephant into a Protected Contact handling system.

Toledo Zoo, Ohio, July 2002.
Assistance with the planning and preparation for the birth of an African elephant.

Dublin Zoo, Ireland, July, October, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation, with recommendations with a particular emphasis on elephant handling and husbandry foot care and pedicure also facility remodeling and redesign.

Munster Zoo, Germany, May 2002.
Elephant program evaluation, with recommended
safety changes.

Amersfoort Zoo, Holland, May, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation, with recommended
safety changes. Foot abscess trimming and treatment.

Beekse Bergen Safari Park, Holland, May, November, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation, re-design, and implementation.

San Antonio Zoo, Texas, March, 2002.
Foot care assistance and future treatment of a female Asian elephant.

Field trip to Sri Lanka, March, 2002.
A trip sponsored by the Philadelphia Zoo to explore the possibilities of developing cooperation and providing funding for Wildlife and Zoo related projects in Sri Lanka.

Mudumalai Elephant Camp, Tamil Nadu,
Southern India. 2002.
Foot care assistance and husbandry techniques evaluation of a
forty year old working male elephant at the camp.

Amsterdam Zoo, “Artis”,2001, 2002.
Chute training for future semen collection procedures & the
development of a protected contact program for their male
elephant “Murugan”.

Chester Zoo, 2001, 2002, 2003.
Elephant program development, implementation, and consultational support with an emphasis on keeper training and elephant health.

Albuquerque Biological Park, 2001, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation with an emphasis on teamwork, footwork and future program requirements.

Zurich Zoo, Switzerland, 2001, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation & keeper training program development and design.

Basel Zoo, Switzerland, 2001, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation & keeper training program development and design.

Detroit Zoo, 2001.
Demonstrating to elephant staff and vets appropriate foot abscess trimming and after care techniques.

Toledo Zoo, 2001, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation & keeper training program development and design.

Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros Circus, 1998, 2000, 2001,2002.
Elephant program evaluation with an emphasis on foot care and general elephant husbandry practices.

San Diego Wild Animal Park & Zoo, 2001.
Guest teacher at the U.S.D.A. Elephant Inspectors Training Course.

Mexico City, Chapultepec and Aragon Zoos, 1998-2001.
Elephant program evaluation and redesign at Aragon Zoo and consultational support at Chapultepec Zoo.

Calgary Zoo, Canada,2000, 2001.
Elephant program evaluation & keeper training program development and design.

Oregon Zoo, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation, foot care implementation program and keeper training program criteria.

Rogar Williams Park Zoo, Providence, 2000, 2002.
Elephant program evaluation & keeper training program development and design.

Philadelphia Zoo, 1991-2000, 2002.
Elephant program development, design and implementation.

Hagenbeck`s Tierpark, Hamburg, Germany, 2000.
Elephant foot care program evaluation with demonstrations and future recommendations.

Rotterdam Zoo, Holland, 2000, 2002.
Elephant program development and design, with an emphasis on keeper training, protected contact training of the male elephants, and foot care.

Dallas, Fort Worth, 2000.
Guess speaker at the U.S.D.A. Elephant Inspectors Training Course.

North Carolina Zoological Park, 2000.
Guest teacher at an Active Environment Protected Contact Workshop.

Vancouver Zoological Center, Canada, 1997-2000.
Elephant program development and design with an emphasis on keeper training and foot care.

Moscow Zoo, Russia, 1999.
Assisted the Moscow Zoo with the safe immobilization, restraint and crating of a five year old male Asian elephant, for transport purposes to an Armenian Zoo.

Melbourne Zoo, Australia, 1999.
Teaching zoo elephant staff how to safely train an adult female elephant to lay down for health inspections by the veterinarians.

Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Sorocaba Zoos, Brazil, 1999.
Consultation on elephant management issues for an Animal Welfare Organization.

Chester Zoo, 1999.
Demonstrating to elephant staff and vets appropriate foot abscess trimming and after care techniques.

Tampa, Florida, 1999.
Guest teacher at the U.S.D.A. Elephant Inspectors Training Course.

Utah`s Hogle Zoo, Zoo, 1999.
Removal of chain hobbles from a female African elephant’s legs.

Melbourne Zoo, Australia, 1999.
Elephant program evaluation and facility design concepts for a new proposed elephant facility. Foot care
techniques for managing abscesses in a adult male elephants feet.

Taronga Zoo, Sidney, Australia, 1999.
New elephant facility and program concept design.

Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo, Australia, 1999.
Elephant program evaluation.

Auckland Zoo, New Zealand, 1999.
Elephant foot care instruction and implementation.

Rotterdam Zoo, Holland, 1999.
The evaluation of three For the Melbourne Zoo, Australia.
female Asian elephants with the view of acquiring them at Melbourne.

Neverland Valley Ranch, 1998 & 1999
Elephant program evaluation, redesign and recommendation implementation.

Tish Family Zoological Gardens, Jerusalem, Israel.1998.
A 10 day evaluation of the elephant program with particular attention to future growth possibilities, keeper training and foot care.

El Paso Zoo, 1998.
Successful assistance with elephant immobilization and foot surgery (with Drs. Mark Lloyd and Dr Gary P. Goldberg of William Beaumont Army Medical Center).

Seattle, Washington, 1998.
Guest teacher at the U.S.D.A. Elephant Inspectors Training Course.

Santa Barbara Zoo, 1998-1999, 2002
Elephant foot care consultation.

San Diego, California, 1998.
Guest teacher at the U.S.D.A. Elephant Inspectors Training Course.

San Francisco Zoo, 1998-1999.
Assistance with an elephant introduction and the implementation of correct foot care techniques.

Houston Zoo, 1997.
Foot abscess trimming and treatment in a male Asian elephant.

Expert witness.
An ongoing consultation on high profile elephant accident cases in circuses and zoos.

Ceaser`s Palace, Las Vagas, 1997.
Part of a creative team for Gordon Group Holdings Ltd.
Development of animal element for the new Forum Shopping Mall extension. ITT Sheraton Development Plan.

San Diego Natural History Museum, 2/25/97-4/20/97.
Elephant! 40 Million Years of Evolution. Visiting Curator of the exhibition. Also assisted in design and marketing of the exhibition.

FantaSea Cultural Project. Phuket, Thailand, 1997.
Elephant buildings & program concept design and elephant management consultation.

Anchorage Zoo, 1997.
Foot abscess care, treatment and continued consultation on a 30-year old Asian female elephant ( with Dr. James

Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, 1997.
Directed the successful introduction of a female African elephant to the resident elephant.

Houston Zoo 1997.
Advised and assisted in the transportation of a 10-year old Asian male elephant by air to the Berlin Zoo, Germany.

Veterinary Conference Houston, Texas, 1997.
Presented an elephant foot care program with Drs. James Oosterhuis and Laurie Gage for the American Association of Veterinarian.

Portland Zoo, 1996-1998.
Elephant foot care program evaluation and correct foot care technique implementation.

Barn Yard Attractions Inc., South Carolina, 1996.
Elephant Program development, implementation and health care guidance.

Houston Zoo, 1996.
Assistance in successful immobilization & tooth extraction (with Drs. Boyd Walsh, Daryl Heard and Joe Flanigan).

Santa Barbara Zoo, 1995-1996.
Six-month consultation involving program development, keeper training, and elephant health monitoring.

Albuquerque Zoo, 1994.
Assisted in training young Asian elephant, born at the zoo.

San Francisco Zoo 1994.
Elephant program development and implementation, facility redesign, ( with AAZPA, and Asian elephant SSP advisory group)

Los Angeles Zoo, 1993-1997.
Design, development and implementation of an elephant keeper-training in both Protected and Free contact handling program. Assistance with elephant facility remodeling.

Los Angeles Zoo.
Assistance and consultation on the recovery of an injured and fallen African bull elephant.

Anchorage Zoo, 1993.
Tusk operation on an African female elephant (with Drs. Oosterhuis and David Fagan).

San Antonio Zoo, 1993.
Elephant program evaluation, redesign, and implementation.

Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom, Florida, 1993.
Walt Disney’s Imagineering Team, Glendale, California.
A comprehensive elephant management presentation for the imagineering team who designed & drew review of the proposed elephant facility.

“Have Trunk Will Travel” facility Riverside, CA. 1992.
Bull elephant immobilization.

Columbus Zoo, 1991
Elephant program evaluation for “Active Environments”.

El Paso Zoo, 1991.
Assistance in successful Endoscopic procedure on Asian elephant (with Dr. James Oosterhuis).

Caldwell Zoo, (Tyler Texas), 1991.
Directed successful behavioral modification of African bull elephant prior to necessary immobilization and root canal procedure, (with Dr David Fagan ).

Anchorage Zoo, 1990.
Assisted in successful tooth extraction on an Asian female elephant.

Anchorage Zoo, 1988.
Development, design and implementation of an elephant program.

Sacramento Zoo, 1988.
Elephant program evaluation, development, design and implementation.


Discussion paper: The Case for Domesticating African Forest Elephants. A feasibility study submitted to the Government of Gabon, co-authored with Dr Richard Barnes of Wildlife Conservation International, October 1990. A version of this paper is available in French.

American Association of Zookeepers Forum Magazine. Articles on elephant management, 1984, 1990, 1991.

Series of endangered species books, Animals Animals Animals, for young readers, co-authored with Allison Tibbitts-published 6/92.

Zootiere. “Elephant-Inflicted Injuries.” An article co-authored with Dr. Kurt Benirschke, 1992.

Zoo Biology. “Estrogen Metabolism in the Asian Elephant.” An article co-authored with N.M. Czekala, M. Bates, Dr. J. Allen, Dr. B.L. Lasley. 11:7580. 1992.

“Managing Elephants”. An Introduction to their Captive Management and Training. A book co-authored with Dr. Donald Atwell Zoll. 1994.

“Enhancing the Utilization of Relocation of the African Elephant.” An unpublished monograph co-authored with Dr. Donald Atwell Zoll.

ZOO ZEN, September 1998, Vol. XIV, Number 2. Zoo Outreach Organization & Information Exchange. Network Journal, Tamil Nadu, India: “Elephant Husbandry & Hygiene”.

Elephant Dental Pulp Tissue: Where is the Pulp? Co-authored with D.A. Fagan, D.D.S., K. Benirschke,M.D., J.H.S. Simon, D.D.S.

Significant Dental Disease in Elephants”, Co-authored with Drs.David Fagan and James Oosterhuis, presented at the Elephant Keeper Conference, Vienna, Austria, 1999.

The Elephants Foot, Iowa State University Press. Part II, Approaches to Routine Foot Care pp 21-52. Co-authored with Dr. James Oosterhuis, 2000.

Captivity Disorders in Elephants Impacted Molars and Broken Tusks. Published in “Der Zoologische Garten”, journal for the Zoological Gardens of Berlin, Germany. Co-authored with Drs. David Fagan, and James Oosterhuis. March 2001.

Biological value of vitamin E forms for elephants. Report to the Zoological Society of San Diego, 1991.
Co-authored with D.E.Ullrey, J.B.Bernard, J. Oosterhuis, and W.T.Magee.

References available upon request.

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