Guest Speaker advanced course
Otto has been the Elephant Manager at Busch Gardens Tampa (BGT) since 2004, when the park transitioned to a PC/PRT program. Prior to that, he was Senior Trainer and Research Coordinator at SeaWorld Orlando, where he worked with marine mammals beginning in 1987.
In addition to working with a terrific team of talented trainers, Otto is heavily involved in research and elephant welfare. He has written, spoken, and presented on topics including desensitization, husbandry training, anthropomorphism, natural history, facility design, cognition and comparative psychology, safety, staff development, thermoregulation, elephant personality, and positive reinforcement in numerous venues including seven different college campuses.
Otto has consulted on elephant behavior issues both in the US and across the pond in the UK.
He is an Advisor to the AZA Animal Welfare Committee and also serves as BGT’s IR for Elephants and Animal Welfare. He is also a member of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis (FABA) and The Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA), for which he formerly served as a board member and chair of the Government Affairs Committee. He is also a past member of EMA, as well as the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) and the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA).
Otto gratefully acknowledges that he has personally benefited from learning from some of the top animal training and animal care professionals in the world, and feels that the day that his learning stops is the day he’ll hang up his whistle. He enjoys working with smart and dangerous animals, passionate and professional people, and engaging in lively debate.