Conservationist to discuss protecting elephants and gorillas

Ian Redmond

Ian Redmond, longtime field biologist known for his work with gorillas and elephants, is coming to the University of Oregon to discuss efforts to protect the animals.

Redmond’s talk, “Conserving the #GardenersoftheForest: Apes, Elephants, & Climate Change,” will address how the need to mitigate climate change is related to the need to conserve species across the planet. It will take place in Room 282, Lillis Hall at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22.

With more than 35 years of experience in tropical biology, Redmond’s focus is on anti-poaching and conservation of gorilla and elephant populations.

“While his case studies are international in nature, what happens in the tropics affects us all, including here in Oregon,” said Colin Brand, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology. “Among the many reasons to protect these species is their ecological role on Earth.”

According to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, also known as the CMS, Redmond reached a turning point in his career when a gorilla named Digit was murdered by poachers — Digit was one of the most famous mountain gorillas studied by Redmond’s mentor, Dian Fossey.

Since then, Redmond has worked as a conservation consultant and advisor for various organizations, including the Born Free Foundation, the Orangutan Foundation and the Gorilla Organization. Redmond is also known for teaching Sigourney Weaver how to act and sound like a gorilla for the film “Gorillas in the Mist.”

In 1996, Redmond created his own organization titled Ape Alliance in hopes of getting conservation alliances to work together.

We’ve known for some time that wild ape and elephant populations are considerably endangered compared to a century ago,” Brand said. “Despite this, elephant poaching rates have increased in the last few years and wild ape populations continue to rapidly shrink. Redmond’s work not only increases awareness but helps fund and coordinate the efforts on the ground, both important components to the conservation of these animals.”

To learn more about Redmond’s work, visit the Ape Alliance website. To read the CMS biography on Redmond, see “Ian Redmond” on the organization’s website.