Ian Parker Collection On East African Wildlife Conservation
February 2015, Volume 13-1

The George A. Smathers Libraries (Special and Area Studies Collections) of the University of Florida announced in July 2014 the online availability in the UF Digital Collections of the digitized “Ian Parker Collection Relating to East African Wildlife Conservation” which comprises 35.75 linear feet in 62 boxes. This important collection is now open for research.

The Parker Collection documents wildlife management and conservation in East Africa, particularly in Kenya, over more than fifty years. Although materials in the collection date from 1896 to 2012, the bulk of the collection spans 1956-2004 and covers Parker’s service as a Game Warden in Kenya, his activities with Wildlife Services Ltd., work as an independent consultant, and his research and activities with the ivory trade poaching, elephants and other wildlife. The collection is arranged in multiple file series or groups:


  • 1979 World Ivory Trade Study
  • Second World Ivory Trade Study (1989) for CITES
  • Eburiana
  • Miscellaneous Ivory Files
  • Elephant Data
  • Rodney Elliott Files
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Shashe Silk
  • Correspondence and Subject Files
  • Photographs and Audiovisual
  • Maps and Oversize Materials
  • Reprints
  • Miscellaneous Publications


The first five file groups pertain to the ivory trade and elephants. These materials include research data, correspondence, government publications and legislation, and numerous reports created by Parker. In addition to reports completed for the 1979 World Ivory Trade Study and the Second World Ivory Trade Study, there is the “Black Report” that he produced for Botswana in 1971, the “White Report” produced in 1973, and the Ebur (Latin for ivory) Report from 1974-1975. The files identified by Parker as “Eburiana” include materials Parker gathered on the ivory and horn trade, poaching, corruption, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Operation Lock, a covert operation conducted in South Africa by a private military firm, KAS Enterprises. The culmination of these investigations was a presentation before the 1996 Commission of Inquiry into the Alleged Smuggling of and Illegal Trade in Ivory and Rhinoceros in South Africa (one of President Mandela’s government’s Truth Commissions). The Elephant Data files consist of biological field data compiled during culling operations intended to mitigate elephant overpopulation from 1965-1969 at environmentally stressed sites in several East African countries.

Digital reproductions of selected items in the Parker collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Materials relating to the ivory trade are available online at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00020117/00001/allvolumes (also includes Ebur and rhino files, Rodney Elliott materials, etc.). Digital reproductions of elephant data sheets are available online at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/l/AA00013409/.  For complete information on the Ian Parker collection and terms of use please go to http://www.library.ufl.edu/spec/manuscript/guides/parker.htm or contact Special Collections Access Services.

Author: Gerhard R Damm