One of the world's foremost authorities on the African elephant, Iain Douglas-Hamilton pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behaviour in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park at age 23.
He received a D Phil in zoology from Oxford University for the work. During the 1970s he investigated the status of elephants throughout Africa and was the first to alert the world to the ivory poaching holocaust. He chronicled how Africa's elephant population was halved between 1979 and 1989 and helped bring about the world ivory trade ban.
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton and his wife Oria have co-authored two award-winning books, "Among the Elephants" and "Battle for the Elephants" and have made numerous television films. He founded Save the Elephants in 1993 at the suggestion of Felix Appelbe in order to create an effective and flexible NGO dedicated specifically to elephants.
He serves on the data review task force of the African Elephant Specialist Group of IUCN, and the Technical Advisory Group for MIKE. He also conducts regular lecture tours and works with the media to promote STE's mission and awareness of elephants in general. Over the last few years Iain has spoken at numerous conferences including the Wildlife Conservation Network, the 7th World Wilderness Congress, the International Elephant and Rhino Research Symposium in Vienna, the CIWF Animal Sentience Conference 2005, and was the keynote speaker at the International Elephant Foundation conference on 'Human-elephant relationships and conflict' in Sri Lanka. Additionally, Iain has spoken at Universities, Zoological Societies and private fundraising functions throughout Europe and America.
His chief research interest is to understand elephant choices by studying their movements.
For his work on elephants he was awarded one of
conservation's highest awards the Order of the Golden Ark in 1988.
Dr Iain Douglas-Hamilton was named the recipient of the 2010 Indianapolis Prize, one of the world's leading awards for animal conservation. In recognition for his lifetime achievements, he received the Lilly Medal at a gala ceremony presented by Cummins Inc., at The Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.
On May 24th, 2012, Dr. Douglas-Hamilton spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Ivory and Insecurity: The Global Implications of Poaching in Africa.