Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, D.Phil., CBE, is an authority on elephant behaviour and conservation. He attended Gordonstoun School, and later Oxford University where he earned a degree in Zoology and a D.Phil studying the Ecology and Behaviour of the African Elephant. His work in the 1960s paved the way for much of today’s understanding of elephants and current conservation practices. During the 1970s, he investigated the status of elephants throughout Africa and was the first to alert the world to the ivory poaching crisis. He chronicled the diminution of Africa’s elephant population by half between 1979 and 1989 and was instrumental in bringing about the world ivory trade ban. In 1993, Douglas-Hamilton founded Save the Elephants (STE) a charity dedicated specifically to elephants. Since that time Save the Elephants has conducted research on elephants across Africa and has increased public awareness of the many dangers that threaten elephants and the habitats in which they live. Fundamental to his work at STE, Douglas-Hamilton pioneered GPS tracking of elephants in Africa, which has become a standard and widely emulated survey technique; it also guides the deployment of rangers to protect vulnerable and key elephant populations. Douglas-Hamilton and his wife, Oria, have co-authored two award-winning books, Among the Elephants (1975) and Battle for the Elephants (1992), and have made several television films. Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton was awarded the 2010 Indianapolis Prize, one of the world’s leading awards for animal conservation. In 2013 The Elephant Crisis Fund (a joint initiative between Save the Elephants and San Francisco based NGO Wildlife Conservation Network) was established to confront the threat to elephants by supporting the most urgent, important and catalytic projects across the crisis to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and end the demand for ivory. In October 2014 he was presented with the George B Rabb Conservation Medal by the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) for his authoritative work to benefit African elephants. In 2015 he was awarded the Commander of the British Empire and was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by San Diego Zoological Society with most recently being awarded the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute’s (TAWIRI) Tanzania Wildlife Research Award for his lifelong devotion to elephants. Currently, he is focused on winning hearts and minds to help reduce the demand for ivory, and focus on understanding elephant’s reasons for movements, and their deep history in time.