Pittsburgh Zoo Rejects Group’s Elephant Safety Procedures

Elephants at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium follow Willie Theison around like puppies. Theison, the zoo's elephant program manager, says the animals know him and trust him. He built that bond through years of interaction and said it allows him and other keepers to approach when the animals are stressed and most dangerous. “If they're ill, if they're injured, we can go in,” said Theison, who has worked with elephants for 37 years, 24 of them at the Highland Park zoo. “(When they're ill), that's not the time to go in and build up a relationship.” Theison and other elephant keepers at the Pittsburgh zoo said Friday that they strongly disagree with safety rules adopted by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums that require keepers to tend elephants from behind protective barriers. The zoo opted to sever ties with the national accrediting group rather than abide by the rules, which say keepers can share unrestricted space with elephants only when they're tending to calves or … [Read more...]


From the Center Ring – by Rodney Huey

Labor Day is upon us, which means that vacation time is over, it’s back to school for the kids, and once again the American circus scene has enjoyed another summer of success in spite of blistering heat, forest fires, flash floods and violent storms that swept across the nation (the Circus City Celebration performances in Peru (IN) had to be cancelled due to severe wind damage to its tent). Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus XTREME kicks off September in San Francisco’s Cow Palace for the Labor Day Weekend. Note that the Cow Palace is located in Daly City (CA), so the ban on performing animals in the City of San Francisco does not apply to Ringling’s engagement. Then it’s on to Bakersfield and Sacramento to complete its 2015 tour of the Golden State and heading out to Salt Lake City (UT). Meanwhile, Circus Vargas plays across the Bay in Newark (CA) over Labor Day, then outflanks Ringling’s itinerary by opening near Sacramento (CA) in Citrus Heights on September 10, just … [Read more...]


Seeking 2016 OABA Hall of Fame & Pioneer Award Nominations

OABA is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Hall of Fame and recipients for the Pioneer Award. Do you know someone who, through their work and achievements, has made a significant contribution to the mobile outdoor amusement industry? Well, now is the time to help us honor and recognize that outstanding individual and submit your nomination for OABA's most prestigious honor, the OABA Hall of Fame and Pioneer Award. In order to be nominated, the individual must have made substantial achievements and/or contributions to the OABA and/or the mobile amusement industry. Nominees may either be currently active, retired or deceased, and represent any facet of our industry. Nominations received in prior years will be considered once again in 2015. For a list of current OABA Hall of Fame inductees and Pioneer recipients, please click here. Please take a few minutes today to complete the form and submit your nomination for these prestigious honors in the mobile amusement industry. … [Read more...]


OABA-Duke Smith Memorial Education Fund Scholarship

The Mobile Amusement Industry, Inc. (MAI), through its OABA-Duke Smith Memorial Education Fund, is interested in furthering the educational goals of young people within our industry. The youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow and will require the education necessary to be competitive in an increasingly complex business environment. Individual and company contributions to the OABA-Duke Smith Memorial Education Fund and the annual generosity of Allied Specialty Insurance Company and Gold Medal Products provide opportunities to eligible applicants for financial assistance with advanced education. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS Each applicant must be a member in good standing of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association. Each applicant must be a graduating high school senior or a continuing student at a university, junior college or trade school or be employed in the mobile amusement industry. Each applicant must have plans of attending an accredited educational … [Read more...]


OABA’s Commitment to Owners of Performing and Exhibition Animals

The Outdoor Amusement Business Association’s (OABA) Board of Directors believes that performing and exhibition animals are an integral part of the circus, fair and festival experience. Exhibition animals provide an opportunity to both educate and entertain while imparting to our patrons the value of the human/animal bond, an appreciation for animals in agriculture, and the importance of species conservation. The care and handling of performing and exhibition animals is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly and one that requires a great deal of commitment and experience. Our Guidelines, re-published in 2012, reflect the combined expertise of OABA's members and incorporate by reference the most current best practices available for the care, housing, transport and handling of exotic and performing animals in the public display and mobile exhibition community. These guidelines are consistent with, but not limited to, the rules and regulations set forth by federal, state and … [Read more...]