Conservation Influencers

The International Elephant Foundation


Established in 1999, the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) is credited with being inspired and created by Michael Fouraker, Executive Director of the Fort Worth Zoo in the USA. In its words, IEF ‘creates a sustainable future for elephants’. It claims to generate and effectively invest in resources to support elephant conservation, education, research, and management programs worldwide. It says that it puts most of its effort and money into programmes that combat poaching in Africa and Asia and into research designed to find the means to reconcile ‘communities and elephants’, so that they can live together without conflict.

The International Elephant Foundation is one of the leading bodies behind the publication of the Elephant Husbandry Resource Guide, which sets out the standards for managing elephants in circuses, non-AZA zoos, private individuals, sanctuaries, and corporations. In the USA, animal rights groups led by Humane Society US and Fund for Animals are hostile to IEF because of its support for keeping elephants in captivity. As part of their anti-captivity campaign, these militant animal rights NGOs were forced to pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus a total of USD25.2 million in damages for making false accusations (note: the circus’s Vice President for Government Relations Tom Albert is also vice president and secretary of IEF).


Dr. Barbara Baker is the current president and Tim Morrow is president-elect and treasurer.


The organisation is self-governing. The IEF’s board members are largely elephant management experts. Other board members include zoo directors, veterinarians, private owners, and circus business managers.  


According to its annual report, IEF raised $711,538 in revenue and spent $723,715 in 2019. Of which ten percent went on management and three percent on fundraising.

About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.


Wildlife Conservation Society

In 1906, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) put an African man on display in Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. In 1918, one of WCS’s founding fathers, Madison Grant, published Passing of the Great Race, which Adolf Hitler referred to as his ‘Bible’. Another leading creator and early leader of WCS, Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr, was also a founder of the American Eugenics Society. His son headed WCS from 1940 to 1968, overseeing a series of major initiatives in Africa. There, WCS became one of the architects of the prohibition movement, which put wildlife for consumptive use and vast regions of land out of bounds to humanity. In 2020, WCS distanced itself in public from the racist views of Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr. But it has yet to issue a critical account of the legacy of Fairfield Osborn Jr, even though he led WCS into the modern era while sharing similar politically-inspired ecological goals to his father and Grant. WCS devotes considerable financial resources to influencing outcomes at CITES. WCS’s CEO reportedly earns USD$1,320,978.