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Ian Redmond – Saving the Gorilla’s

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Ian Redmond is a tropical field biologist and conservationist, renowned for his work with great apes and elephants. For more than 30 years he has been associated with Mountain Gorillas, through research, filming, tourism and conservation work. A Year of the Gorilla ambassador, the main focus of Ian’s work shifted in 1978 from research to conservation work, after poachers killed Digit a young silverback in one of the Karisoke study groups to sell his skull and hands. Finding the headless, handless body of a gorilla he regarded as a friend was a turning point in his life. Ten years later in Kenya, the experience was repeated when some of the cave-elephants he was studying were killed by ivory poachers.

As a result, he became a conservation consultant and advisor for organisations such as the Born Free Foundation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Wildlifeline and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. To encourage such groups to work together, he established and chairs the Ape Alliance (70 organisations linked via www.4apes.com), the African Ele-Fund and the UK Rhino Group (www.rhinogroup.org.uk). He is now Chief Consultant for GRASP – UNEP/ UNESCO Great Apes Survival Project he helped launch in 2001.

Putting conservation principles into practice, he has led anti-poacher patrols, guided film crews and/or special interest tours into close encounters with gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, elephants and erupting volcanoes, and worked to support local conservationists during the horrors of Rwandas and D.R. Congos civil wars. Under-cover investigations led him to play the role of a potential ape-buyer in order to infiltrate a poaching ring in Congo-Brazzaville and more recently a potential Coltan dealer in DRC. His work on behalf of animals was recognised in 1996 with the presentation of the PAWS Humane Achievement Award, at a ceremony in Hollywood, California. He was appointed OBE in the Queens Birthday Honours in 2006.

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