STE celebrates 20 years of Saving Elephants!


Frank Pope, COO

Date Published

This year Save the Elephants is celebrating twenty dramatic years working with elephants. Through floods, droughts, airplane crashes and encounters with angry bulls and armed bandits, we’re proud that of the results that our team has consistently produced. From ground-breaking scientific discoveries to delivering early warning to the world of the current ivory poaching crisis, Save the Elephants has helped push elephants to the top of the environmental agenda while making a real difference to the people and the landscapes in which elephants exist.

STE’s founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton also celebrates 50 years working in Africa, having arrived in Tanzania as an intern in 1963. His early behavioural science into African elephants paved the way for many later studies, and when the ivory poaching crisis of the 70s and 80s hit, Iain took to the skies to defend them. The count he led, which charted 1.3 million elephants across the continent in 1979, was a key factor in securing the worldwide ban on international trade in ivory ten years later.

Iain founded STE in 1993 in a new era, with the intention of returning to the investigation of elephant behaviour with which he’d begun his career. Along with pioneering work into the GPS tracking of elephant movements, Save the Elephants’ work detailing the intricate society of the elephants of the Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya have revealed many of the wonders of one of the planet’s most intelligent creatures.

In 2008, however, STE began to see worrying signs of an upsurge in poaching. Ivory markets in the far east began to respond to a one-off sale of ivory allowed by the UN’s wildlife trade body. STE published warnings, and soon the poaching was at crisis levels. In 2013, STE is at the centre of a global coalition that has coalesced around the need to address the new ivory poaching crisis. With united international action and this partnership of individuals, organisations, scientists and governments themselves, we believe the problem can be solved.

To commemorate this milestone, Save the Elephants is celebrating its 20th Anniversary with a special edition Annual Report. You can download a pdf here, or write to us to request a physical copy.