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...]


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...]