Ape Alliance Chairman Ian Redmond wins the Next Generation Award at the 2017 Animal Hero awards

8 September 2017 Ape Alliance News
Ian Redmond wins the Next Generation Award at the 2017 Animal Hero awards Ian Redmond wins the Next Generation Award at the 2017 Animal Hero awards

Read the original article on the Animal Hero Awards website.

One of our leading conservationists, Ian has helped make films that have inspired millions and given young people around the world a unique insight into the natural world.

Best known for his work with mountain gorillas, Ian has been involved in more than 100 documentary films for channels such as the BBC, National Geographic Society and Discovery Channel, and the 3D movie The Last of the Great Apes.

He was also the man behind Sir David Attenborough's famous encounter with a group of mountain gorillas in Dian Fossey's sanctuary in Rwanda.

And he even taught Sigourney Weaver to grunt like a gorilla in 1987 for her award-winning role in the film Gorillas in the Mist - in which Ian is characterised as the Worm Boy.

Working closely with the Born Free Foundation for many years, Ian established and chairs the Ape Alliance, a network of 95 organisations to encourage conservation groups to work together, and is the chief consultant of the Great Apes Survival Partnership.

The GRASP – Ian Redmond Conservation Award was created in 2012 to develop and inspire young conservationists working to protect great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia.

Ian's passion for animals began when he was a young boy, and eventually took him to Africa where he began studying the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Zaire.

But two years after arriving on the continent his life changed forever, when poachers killed Digit, a young silverback gorilla he had got to know.

Finding the headless, handless body of an ape he regarded as a friend was a turning point in his life, and he turned from research to campaigning and protecting the animals.

Ten years later, the shock was repeated - and his resolved strengthened - when some of the elephants he had been studying in Kenya were killed by ivory poachers.

Putting conservation principles into practice, he has led anti-poaching patrols, taken film crews to close encounters with gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and elephants, and worked to support local conservationists during the horrors of civil war in Rwanda and the Congo.

The devoted campaigner for endangered species has also gone undercover playing the role of a potential ape-buyer to infiltrate and expose poaching rings in DR Congo.

Meanwhile, his field research has been recognised worldwide, including the first study and photography of 'underground elephants' living in the caves of Mt Elgon in Kenya, and an acclaimed study of gorilla parasites.

He says:

"Conservation for me isn’t just about saving species. On a larger scale, the planet needs us to save functioning eco-systems. On a smaller scale, we must also recognise that species are made up of individual animals."

"For me, it became personal when I had the privilege of getting to know individual wild animals in the wild. I can truthfully say that some of my best friends are gorillas, and I care passionately about them and the future of all life on Earth."

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