Gary has worked as an elephant keeper at Taronga Zoo for the past seven years. Prior to this he spent many years working with both Asian and African Elephants at several international zoos including San Diego Wild Animal Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. With his level of expertise, working closely with elephants he has also consulted at many zoos in the United States.
Although Elephants are by far his favourite animal to work with, Gary also has extensive experience working with a wide variety of mammals, reptiles and birds.
When Gary first started at Taronga, he led a team of elephant keepers to Thailand where they lived for several months getting to know our elephant family before flying with them to Cocos Keeling Islands for a quarantine stay and then on to their new home in Sydney. Gary and the elephant team have managed a very successful Conservation Breeding Program ever since. Since arriving in 2006, three calves have been born at Taronga which tops the list for Gary as the most memorable events of his zoo career. “Being present for each of the births and supporting each first-time mother as she learns the ins and outs of motherhood has been incredible” says Gary.
With wild elephant numbers across Asia as low as 34,000, having viable breeding programs in Australasian Zoos contributes as an insurance program against sudden wild population slumps. The elephants also act as ambassadors for their species and motivate the community to support elephant conservation programs in their range states.