The hope for this site is to provide a comprehensive and collaborative resource for elephant professionals and enthusiasts. Topics will range widely from husbandry and exhibit design to training and enrichment, but will be connected in their focus on safety and elephant well-being.
Sorry to all who have reached out through the website in the last 60-90 days as LesOBrien.com was hacked. I have been working with the web host to better secure the site and hope we have corrected the problems that come with a hacked website. Thank you for your patience during this hack and I hope to get back to posting more information very soon.
Thank you to Megan and her team for the great opportunity to speak at her facility. ‘But that’s an elephant’ was a fun talk to a new audience for me, and I hope is the first of many more to come. Behavioural science is NOT species specific, we all follow the laws of behaviour.
Thanks to all that came out in the harsh weather for this talk. Hope to see you all again very soon. Stay tuned for my next round of talks coming very soon!
I am very proud to announce that I will be doing a behaviour talk in partnership with Megan Stanley from dogma behaviour and education centres. This up-coming talk in Calgary will be titled ‘But that’s an elephant’. This talk really boils down to understanding that the basic principles of behaviour do not change despite species, general discussion on ethics, how to respond to cruelty, and of course, more science on learning.
I am most proud to be given a chance to speak at dogma and hope to see you there, this coming February the 3rd, at 7pm. Hope to see you all there!
Many thanks to these great trainers from my home town Calgary, for attending my Training/Behavioural Basics talk. These great people were most engaging and open. I am so proud to have done a talk for such a great group! Hope to see you all again very soon. Stay in touch!
This June, I had the great opportunity to visit the new Emmen Zoo, now known as ‘Wild Lands Adventure Zoo Emmen’. I got to spend some time with a few members of the elephant team and see their brand new facility.My
congratulations goes to these people for making a huge investment into relocating their facility and offering their animals more space and an updated facility. My thanks goes to Wybo Walstra, Harry and Luke for their time and allowing me to come see their new facility!
I was most honoured to be a guest speaker at the recent Recon workshop in Cheyenne Mountain Zoo this last May. This progressive workshop was a thrill and the staff at Cheyenne Mountain were first class. Thank you to all those that attended and to our hosts. See you for the next one!
Dr Fred Kurt
It was a sad 2015 for the elephant world. Dr Kurt, my good friend and mentor, passed away leaving another huge void in the elephant world. Dr. Kurt and his unwillingness to compromise his ethics gave me the courage to try to do the same. Dr. Kurt’s knowledge and commitment to truly understand elephants, was a beacon of hope for a species on the brink. Dr. Kurt will be missed. For those that have never heard of Dr Kurt, his impact went far beyond just elephants. For those that do know of Dr Kurt’s work, here is a reminder, perhaps one of the best works that Dr Kurt ever did was this; The Asian Elephant in Captivity; A Field Study, co-authored with Dr Marion Garai.
Fred, you will be missed but not forgotten.
My friend, and mentor – Dr. Kurt! You
are missed my friend!
Sri Lankan Saying
‘You can’t get enough elephant’s’
My hero – who I call dad
No one person can be held more responsible for the creation, and success of this website and my career; than my dad. My dad ‘Jack’ was a 20 year plus supporter of elephant programs I engaged in worldwide and taught me the biggest lesson I ever learned on this planet – be honest. Above all else, that one lesson has been my staple and will continue to be a foundational building block of everything I do, even if it hurts to say or hear.
You don’t need to be a so called expert to provide help and make a difference. My father did by always supporting what he believed and opposing what he did not openly. Because of that, dad was the direct contributor to many of the program corrections I made in my career. He loved the elephants I had the privilege to work with, and he kept me honest to one truth above all else: I do not have the right to be anything but kind to those animals. He never let me forget and because of that, I am so grateful! He had the courage to say what few others would and be brutally honest!
That hero to, not only me, my brother and my mother, but to elephants, died March 12th – leaving a void in this world never to be filled. His support to elephant programs around the world never ceased, including the one I worked with… right to the end.
Thank you dad! You’ve done enough, it’s our turn now.