Iain Douglas-Hamilton

"Conservation is all about nurturing the deep, symbiotic relationship between humans and wildlife. The Great Elephant Migration serves as a poignant reminder of this bond, urging us all to acknowledge our responsibility in the cycle of life and to to leave behind a lasting legacy of hope. Elephants possess extraordinary social intelligence, and empathy. They are also a mirror of our relationship with our living planet: if we are careless we will live in conflict, but with respect and consideration we can live together in harmony. As the herd sets forth on its monumental journey, I send unwavering support for its inspiring mission to help safeguard the splendour and ecological balance of the natural world for future generations."

Iain Douglas-Hamilton is one of the world’s foremost authorities on wild African elephants. Born in Dorset, UK, he was inspired from a young age to explore Africa and its wildlife. He pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behaviour in Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park at age 23, paving the way for much of today’s understanding of wild elephant behaviour and movement, and current conservation practices.

He was the first to alert the world to the ivory poaching crisis, chronicling how Africa’s elephant population was halved between 1979 and 1989. Iain founded Save the Elephants (STE) in 1993 to establish an effective and flexible organisation dedicated specifically to wild African elephants.

As a fundamental part of his work at STE, he pioneered GPS tracking of elephants in Africa, which has been widely emulated. His research and aerial surveys provided the scientific basis for advocacy efforts and has been used to create early warning systems for changes in poaching intensities and elephant population trends.

The impact of his research and work to protect Africa’s elephants throughout his life has earned him numerous accolades locally, regionally and internationally, including three of conservation's highest awards - the Order of the Golden Ark, the Order of the British Empire, the Commander of the British Empire (CBE). Iain is also a recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, one of the world’s leading awards for animal conservation.