Brian Hoyt

Brian Hoyt first learned about the plight of elephants in his youth. Now, he’s doing all he can to protect them and other wildlife.

When I graduated from high school in 1958, the draft was still very much happening. Rather than waiting to be called up, I enlisted in the 82nd Airborne. After I got out and survived a nearly fatal case of measles, I used my GI Bill to go to flight school, since I had always wanted to be a pilot. I started ferrying planes around the world, especially Southeast Asia. I wound up living there for over a decade.

That was where I had my first experiences with elephants.

Hope the Elephant

Hope, the only officially knighted elephant in the world.

Twenty-five years later, I visited an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. There I learned more about the plight of these frequently mistreated animals. I got more and more involved, returning to this sanctuary every 18 months. I even knighted an orphaned bull there named Hope—the only knighted elephant in the world—with the power of my inherited lordship.

When my parents died in 2001, I invested most of my inheritance in gold, following a piece of old Thai wisdom. Another piece of old wisdom that’s stuck with me is that we should be stewards of the earth; we have not been good enough stewards. Too much damage has been done.

I want to do what I can for wildlife. That’s why I’m leaving a percentage of my residuary estate to AWF. I like the fact that they’re trying. They’re going about it scientifically, reasoning with people; I respect that. I like that they’re trying. We all should.

To explore ways you, like Brian, can join AWF as we fight to protect Africa’s wildlife and wild places into the future, contact Jon Apfelbaum (Eastern USA) at 202 939 3317 or Together, we can do more.

Federal Tax ID Number: 52-0781390