Our Story

Founding Forces

On 1st September 2002, under the patronage of the Rajmata of Jaipur and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Elephant Family was officially registered and a new charity was born.

Developed from the friendship of five conservationists and a couple of orphaned elephants, the plight of the endangered Asian elephant was pushed into the limelight Through individual experiences, our five founders learned that these majestic and beautiful animals were teetering on the brink of extinction and that the conservation-conscious western world seemed indifferent to their impending tragedy.

Victims of the battle for space between humans, several significant elephants stole the hearts of our co-founders, evoking the need to turn the situation around. Mark Shand rescued and rode his elephant Tara across India, Dugal Muller fell under the spell of orphaned elephant Jojo, Robin Russell, from a family of conservationists, initiated the rescue of three captive elephant youngsters, from an uncertain future in India and had them flown to a secure and happy life in the broad acres at Woburn. Caroline Casey embarked on her epic journey across South India on an elephant named Kanchi and finally Nicholas Claxton `has used the force of his award-winning filmmaking to highlight issues in wildlife conservation and the environment.

About Mark Shand

Mark dedicated the last 27 years of his life to saving the Asian elephant and approached the task at full throttle. He made his life’s purpose to bring this forgotten animal to your attention and became their greatest champion.

As a passionate conservationist, Mark was closely attuned to their plight. He knew that their habitat was disappearing at a terrifying rate and that it was critical to keep pace. Today just 5% of that habitat remains.

Elephant Family is working with determination to honour Mark’s remarkable legacy and ensure wild elephant populations roam freely across Asia long into the future.