Sharon Pincott

author and elephant protector

Sharon Pincott - author & elephant behavioural specialist

Sharon Pincott (born 1962) - Author | Naturalist | Wildlife conservationist

Sharon Pincott is an Australian with a passion for Africa's wildlife.An author and specialist in the field of African elephant behavior. She has studied the social structure and population dynamics of a single clan of wild elephants extensively and is an advocate for ending ivory trade and promoting conservation.

She abandoned her high-flying life in March 2001 and moved to Zimbabwe, to live and work among the wild clan of elephants known as The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, on land bordering the Main Camp section of Hwange National Park. Sharon finally left Zimbabwe and her work with these elephants, after endless battles over 13 years, in October 2014.

Pincott worked alone, on a full-time voluntary basis, for 13 years (2001-2014) with the clan of wild, free-roaming, elephants known as the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe on land bordering the Main Camp entrance to Hwange National Park. She acquired a reputation for being able to "talk to the elephants".

In 2009, eight years after arriving in Zimbabwe, Pincott was appointed South Africa Getaway magazine's 'Elephant Ambassador in Africa' "in recognition of her courageous work with wildlife in Hwange". Pincott subsequently came to the attention of Natural History Unit Africa and became the subject of the documentary titled All the President's Elephants.

This All the President's Elephants documentary was filmed with Pincott in Hwange in 2011. It is the story of Pincott's life, work and intimate relationship with the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, showcasing these Hwange elephants and some of the problems they face. It includes her wire snare removal work with colleagues called in to dart injured elephants using a tranquillizer gun. It also features Pincott's work successfully recommending and encouraging President Robert Mugabe to reaffirm his commitment to this clan of elephants, in an effort to secure their future.

From December 2017 Pincott was active in voicing widespread opposition to scores more young elephants being captured, forcibly taken from their mothers and families inside Hwange National Park and transported to Chinese zoos, appealing to Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa for an immediate review of policy and ultimately delivering a petition that attracted 287,509 signatures.

Her elephant conservation work has been profiled in National Geographic,BBC Wildlife and Africa Geographic. She has been interviewed by writers for Intrepid Explorer magazine, South Africa, The Zimbabwean newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald,and Travel Africa magazine.

For World Wildlife Day 2017 Pincott collaborated with the International Fund for Animal Welfare in an attempt to help bring an end to the Ivory trade. On International Women's Day 2017 Pincott was acknowledged by associates of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, Australia, as "blazing a trail for elephants as well as women working in conservation". In late March 2017, almost 3 years after leaving her Hwange elephant work, Pincott was still being acknowledged by the Zimbabwe press for her "profound dedication to the Presidential Elephants", in a country increasingly known for hostility towards conservationists who speak out against wildlife-related corruption. In May 2017, after a male big-game hunter was crushed to death in Hwange when an adult female elephant, felled by gunfire, landed on him, Pincott reasoned in an interview that it was "likely" to be a known Presidential Elephant female that was shot in this hunting party incident, and highlighted the ongoing ineffectuality of Mugabe's Presidential Decree.

In 2017 Pincott revealed that she was suffering from rare, incurable, autoimmune connective tissue disease believed by medical researchers to be both environment- and stress-related.

Courtesey and


The Fate of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe — A Conversation With Sharon Pincott - May 2014 (National Geographic)

Africa Geographic March 2011 - Sharon Pincot and The Presidential Elephants (PDF)

Books by Sharon Pincott

She has published three books:

The Elephants and I (Jacana Media, South Africa 2009),

Battle for the President's Elephants (Jacana Media, South Africa 2012),

Elephant Dawn (first published by Allen & Unwin, Australia 2016, and then by Jacana Media, South Africa 2016).

She is also the author of two earlier elephant works self-published in Zimbabwe:

In An Elephant's Rumble (2004, ISBN 079742864X)

A Year Less Ordinary (2006, ISBN 0797431667)

Go back to: Wildlife guardians & dedicated conservationists

Documentary film by Sharon Pincott

All the President’s Elephants is a documentary now available online (click on this link). The internationally-Award-winning documentary, filmed in Hwange in 2011, showcasing the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe and Sharon Pincott’s years of work with them.

The documentary is called All the President’s Elephants. Wikipedia states that: This one-hour All the President’s Elephants documentary was filmed with Pincott in Hwange in 2011, by the South African production company Triosphere. It is the story of Pincott’s life, work and intimate relationship with the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, showcasing these Hwange elephants and some of the problems they face. It includes her wire snare removal work with colleagues called in to dart well-known injured elephants using a Tranquiliser gun.

It also features Pincott’s work recommending and encouraging President Robert Mugabe to reaffirm his commitment to this flagship clan of elephants, which bears his identity, in an effort to secure their future. The subsequent ‘Presidential Decree Reaffirmation’ ceremony, attended by then-Minister of the Environment Francis Nhema on behalf of President Robert Mugabe, was held in Hwange in August 2011 and was included in the filming.

All the President’s Elephants premiered at the 2012 Durban International Film Festival, where it was considered among the best on show. During an interview with Pincott in 2013 ScreenAfrica – Africa’s leading broadcast and film publication – called the film “touching and profound…beautifully emphasis[ing] the deep relationship between Pincott and the elephants”. This documentary focusing on Pincott’s wild elephant work and relationships won ‘Outstanding Contribution to Nature’ in 2013, with the judges commenting how “very moving” it was “to see how closely people and elephants can be mentally connected”, and expressing their respect and appreciation for Pincott’s elephant conservation work.

Among other nominations and selections including ‘Best TV Wildlife Program’ at the South African Film and Television Awards 2013, it was shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious 2016 International Elephant Film Festival – where the world’s best elephant films from the previous nine years were celebrated. This event, which involved both the United Nations (UN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), was organised to raise global awareness of the various challenges facing the African and Asian elephants, as a highlight of UN World Wildlife Day 2016.

The distinguished panel of international judges included the United States Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs and the Director-General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

When All the President’s Elephants screened on France 5 television, its name was changed to La Gardienne des Éléphants – The Elephant Guardian – matching the name Pincott was frequently called in Zimbabwe. She was also well-known as Mandlovu, meaning Mother Elephant in the Zimbabwean Ndebele language.

All the President’s Elephants facebook page can be found at