• ELEPHANT WELFARE ADVISOR - VIETNAM

Animals Asia is recruiting an experienced elephant manager to be based in Vietnam and to work in partnership with the Elephant Conservation Centre and Yok Don National Park to provide welfare advice to optimize the welfare of elephants within our partner projects. 

Yok Don National Park (YDNP)

In July 2018, Animals Asia signed a 5-year agreement with Yok Don National Park to end the use of captive elephants in the park in elephant riding tourism, and to transition to an ethical elephant experience. This new tourism model has been operational since October 2018. The park currently has four elephants as part of the tourism model and it is anticipated that additional elephants will join the programme as it expands.

The elephants are free-roaming in the national park, with their mahouts, during the day and are tethered on long chains in the forest at night.

Tourists are able to book tours to be taken to the elephants and spend time following them in the forest and learning about them and their natural habitat from the guides and the mahouts.

Elephant Conservation Centre (ECC)

The ECC is a government-supported organization tasked with preventing the extinction of the Asian elephant in Vietnam and providing care for orphaned wild elephants and the captive elephant population (currently used within tourism). 

The ECC has been commissioned by the central government to build an elephant facility to house former ‘tourism’ elephants. Construction of this facility has not yet begun. The facility has been designed as a ‘Protected Contact’ facility.

ECC currently manage two young bull elephants within a temporary enclosure, both of which were wild-born individuals that due to human activities have been separated from their herds and are now in need of care.

Elephants coming to the facility will do so with diverse histories; some may be injured or orphaned wild elephants, others retired from the tourist industry. The aim of the facility is to provide optimal care for this diverse group of elephants and manage them where possible, as a herd to encourage natural socialization and species appropriate behaviours.

The facility is being configured in such a way that future integration with adjacent wild populations is also a possibility.  

Key duties - YDNP

In partnership with the YDNP tourism department ensure that the welfare of the elephants is maximized, staff and visitor safety is secured, and provide advice to the YDNP staff and Animals Asia staff on animal management and operational protocols.

Provide support to the YDNP science department to manage rescued animals, implement practices which improve animal welfare and help the national park develop a rescue and release facility.

Develop and oversee necessary staff training. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Develop management protocols which maximise the welfare of the elephants
  • Support YDNP and Animals Asia staff in implementation of day to day operations in line with the elephant experience regulations and agreements to ensure visitor expectations, safety and elephant welfare are met and maintained
  • Provide on-site oversight, advice and support to maximize the welfare of captive elephants and other rescued animals.
  • Ensure effective evaluation and monitoring of standard operating procedures with regards to animal management and staff safety
  • Coordinate the delivery of animal management and veterinary training and raise awareness of animal welfare concepts.
  • Support the Ethical elephant tourism supervisor providing training, information and technical assistance as required

Key duties - ECC

Provide support to the ECC elephant carers and veterinary staff, deliver training in the care of captive elephants to meet their physical and behavioural needs, and provide advice on management and operational protocols, to ensure a high standard of welfare for the elephants and safety for staff and visitors.

Advice the ECC on the implementation of management plans and safe working practices and provide advice and support to ensure that the welfare of the individual animals is the highest priority within the ECC reproductive programme.

At times this role may contribute to the wider programme of management that includes the protection activities of the wild population.

Key Responsibilities

  • Support ECC management in managing elephants, stimulating natural behaviours and building social herds.
  • Support the activities of the elephant carers and veterinary staff to implement approved protocols to ensure the welfare of the elephants is optimized, and the safety of the staff is maximised
  • Coordinate the delivery of animal management and veterinary training
  • Ensure effective evaluation and monitoring of standard operating procedures with regards to animal management and keeper safety.
  • Coordinate with international partners on the development of the facility and care of the elephants in line with the facility’s mission, vision and strategic objectives.
  • Provide animal care advice for captive elephants external to the facility.
  • Coordinate the implementation of a nationwide elephant welfare assessment survey

Key Skills

  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience in elephant management
  • Experience of working within the elephant tourism industry
  • Experience of working with people from different cultural backgrounds
  • Self-motivated and independent with ability to work under difficult conditions
  • Strong organizational skills in both operational and administrative areas
  • Good communication skills with a calm manner and a diplomatic personality
  • Experience in training staff in animal care
  • Willingness to learn Vietnamese (a translator will be provided)
  • Physically fit for the required tasks
  • Knowledge and experience of establishing, maintaining and ensuring compliance with standardized operating procedures
  • Knowledge and experience in risk assessment
  • Experience in leading a team

Additional responsibilities

  • Provide animal management support to other facilities within Asia under the guidance of Animal Asia and our international partner organisations

Additional information

  • This is a unique opportunity to work in Vietnam and significantly contribute to a programme that aims to be a leading tool in saving Vietnam’s elephant population for future generations, and developing high standards of care for captive elephants within the tourism industry.
  • The position is based in Buon Ma Thuot (Central Highlands of Vietnam).
  • This is a 12-month post (initially), extension of this post is funding dependent.
  • Animals Asia will provide support to aid relocation to Vietnam and to obtain the necessary work permits and visas.

Animals Asia position on the use of elephants in tourism

  • Animals Asia does not support the use of elephants in performances/shows which involve animals performing unnatural behaviours
  • Animals Asia does not support the use of elephants for direct contact experiences with the public (riding/bathing/photos with elephants)

For further details and/or to send an application letter and CV indicating present and expected salary please write to David Neale at dneale@animalsasia.org

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified. Applicants not hearing from us within six weeks from the date of advertisement may consider their application unsuccessful.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need. Personal Data collected will be used for recruitment-related purposes only.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 2nd September 2020