Sir Hugh Elliott, 3rd Baronet

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Sir Hugh Francis Ivo Elliott, 3rd Baronet, OBE (Allahabad 10 March 1913 – 21 December 1989)[1] was an eminent British conservationist, ornithologist and colonial civil servant.[2][3][4][5]


Hugh Francis Ivo Elliott

Hugh Elliott 1 red.jpg
Sir Hugh Francis Ivo Elliott (July 1968) Photo: Rick Gilbert, Redwood City, CA
Born(1913-03-10)10 March 1913
Allahabad, India
Died21 December 1989(1989-12-21) (aged 76)
Oxford, UK
Alma materUniversity College, Oxford
OccupationColonial civil servant
Known forNature conservation, ornithology
Notable work
The Herons of the World
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Margaret Phillipson
AwardsOBE (1953); Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark (1973)

Born in India in 1913, the elder son of Sir Ivo Elliott, 2nd Baronet, he was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford, Eastbourne College and University College, Oxford where he was an active member of the Oxford Ornithological Society. From 1937 until 1961 he worked as a colonial civil servant, in Tanganyika Territory, where he was District Commissioner in Moshi and was then transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources in Dar es Salaam. He was promoted to Permanent Secretary in 1958 and remained in that position until retirement in 1961 shortly before Independence. While at the Ministry he made an important contribution to the development of National Parks, in particular the creation of the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. During his time in Tanganyika he was seconded to become the first Administrator of Tristan da Cunha (1950–53). In his spare time, he was an avid and serious birdwatcher in Tanganyika, collecting specimens, making systematic observations, and publishing articles in ornithological journals. He continued this interest on Tristan, making an important contribution to the ornithology of the islands. In the 1953 New Year Honours he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his service to the community on Tristan da Cunha.[6]

Upon retiring from the colonial civil service in 1961 he was appointed Commonwealth Liaison Officer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), based in Switzerland. In 1962 he also took on the role of Acting Secretary General of the IUCN and became Secretary General in 1964. Then in 1966 he changed role to become Secretary of the IUCN's Ecology Commission until 1970, but continued to edit the IUCN's technical publications for several more years. He served on the committee of the British Ornithologists’ Union, being Honorary Secretary 1962–66, Vice-President 1970–73 and President 1975–79. He was a Trustee of the British Museum (Natural History) 1971–81 and Chairman of the British Section of the International Council for Bird Preservation 1980–81.

His highly regarded book, The Herons of the World, written in co-authorship with James Hancock, was published in 1978.[7] He also wrote, in co-authorship with Jacqueline Henricot, a two-volume book entitled "World Guide to National Parks and Nature Reserves", but it was never published because of his illness in his latter years.

He was survived by his wife Elizabeth (d. 2007), his daughters Susan Elspeth Elliott (d. 2017) and Judith Margery Elliott, and his son Clive Christopher Hugh Elliott (d. 2018).


  1. ^ "Sir Hugh Francis Ivo Elliott". National Portrait Gallery. 27 October 1971. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Hugh (Francis Ivo) Elliott.". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale. 2004.
  3. ^ Fitter, R. (1990). "Obituaries. Sir Hugh Elliott (1913–1989)". Ibis. 132 (4): 620–621. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1990.tb00288.x.
  4. ^ "Elliott, Sir Hugh (Francis Ivo)". Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008;. 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2012.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ "Sir Hugh Elliott, 3rd Baronet". Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  6. ^ "No. 39732". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1953. p. 24.
  7. ^ The Herons of the World / James Hancock and Hugh Elliott; with Paintings by Robert Gillmor and Peter Hayman, and Drawings by Robert Gillmor ; [Maps Prepared by Arka Graphics]. Harper & Row, New York, 1978. ISBN 9780060117597 (also:- London: London Editions ISBN 0-905562-05-4)

Further readingEdit

  • "Sir Hugh Elliott", The Times (London), 10 January 1990, p. 14.
Baronetage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Ivo Elliott
(of Limpsfield)
Succeeded by
Clive Elliott