Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 26th, 2014
Originally announced here on Cryptomundo: Relict Hominoids Conference 2015
The first annual World Conference on Relict Hominoids will be hosted by New World Expeditions teaming with Zulu Nyala.
Another guest presenter: Ian Redmond, 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. He served as Ambassador for the UN Year of the Gorilla 2009 and for the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species since 2010.
As with his mentor, the late Dr Dian Fossey, the main focus of his 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 organizations such as the Born Free Foundation, the Gorilla Organization, Orangutan Foundation and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. To encourage such groups to work together, he established and chairs the Ape Alliance (80 organizations linked via www.4apes.com), the African Ele-Fund and the UK Rhino Group (www.rhinogroup.org.uk). He is now Chief Consultant and Envoy for GRASP – the UNEP/ UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership he helped launch in 2001.
Born in Malaysia, Ian’s passion for animals developed during his boyhood in Beverley, a market town in Yorkshire, and after University, took him in 1976 to Africa. There he joined Dian Fossey, studying and protecting the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Zaire. This work also led him into documentary film-making. Ian is the man who introduced Sir David Attenborough to the gorillas in 1978, for the famous BBC ‘Life on Earth’ sequences, and who taught Sigourney Weaver to grunt like a gorilla in 1987, for her award-winning role in the film ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ (in which he is characterized as ‘The Worm Boy’). He has advised in the making of, and/or appeared in more than 50 documentary films for the BBC, National Geographic Society, Discovery Channel, TF1, etc. His books have been translated into many languages and he is in demand as an entertaining and thought-provoking public speaker.
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 Rwanda’s and D.R. Congo’s 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 recognized in 1996 with the presentation of the PAWS Humane Achievement Award, at a ceremony in Hollywood, California. Ian was appointed OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors in 2006 and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Oxford Brookes University in 2011.
Asked to summarize his work, he says, “I am a naturalist by birth, a biologist by training, and a conservationist by necessity. But 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 recognize 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.”
~ Jeff Meldrum
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.