We caught up with elephant expert Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton and scientist Anne Orlando, to ask them a few questions about the elusive desert elephants of Mali. Very little is known about the small pachyderm population, but Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants and Anne Orlando of University of California, Davis, are working to change that.
Read expert bios below and listen to our audio interview.
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton
One of the world's foremost authorities on the African elephant, Iain Douglas-Hamilton at age 23 pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behavior in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park, for which he received a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University. During the 1970s he investigated the status of elephants throughout Africa and was the first to alert the world to the ivory poaching holocaust. 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.
In 1993 he founded the charity Save the Elephants. It aims to secure a future for elephants; to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places where they live; to promote man's delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world; and to develop a tolerant relationship between man and elephant.
As a doctoral student at the University of California, Davis, Anne Orlando, embarked upon the arduous research for her thesis on the behavioral ecology of the "Elephants of Timbuktu," with her first trip to Mali in 1998. In February 2000, she returned to place tracking collars on nine of the desert elephants. Her early research has not only been featured for Animal Planet's The Lost Elephants of Timbuktu, but also in numerous scientific journals.
Orlando earned her B.S. in wildlife biology at the University of Montana. In addition to research on elephants she has worked on field studies with grizzly bears, grey wolves, lowland gorillas, arroyo toads, burrowing owls and other animal species, large and small. Her studies have taken her to research the habits of animals in North America, Latin America, Siberia, and throughout subSaharan Africa.