Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, CBE
Founder & Senior Scientist
One of the world’s foremost authorities on the African elephant, Dr 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 DPhil in zoology from the University of Oxford.
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.
Iain 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, and the 7th World Wilderness Congress. In 2012, Dr. Douglas-Hamilton spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Ivory and Insecurity: The Global Implications of Poaching in Africa. In 2013, Iain’s high level meeting at the White House was followed by both the Obama Executive Order, and the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to action to Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking and Stop the Demand for ivory. Additionally, Iain has spoken at Universities, Zoological Societies, Embassies 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 and the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2015. 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.