Elephants are ecosystem shapers. By knocking down trees and opening up bushy areas, they can increase the amount of grass available to other herbivores in the system. They move across vast distances, using distinct pathways that also offer easy travel routes to other species. Elephants can act as seed dispersers, facilitating the growth of many woody species by depositing seeds in their faeces. In this illustrated introduction, the zoologist and founder of the Botswana conservation project Elephants for Africa explores the conservation and study of elephants in their natural eco-systems.