Remembering Dr. Dagg


Honouring Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, who was often affectionately referred to as the “Giraffe Lady”, but who was so much more than that – she was a trailblazer in wildlife research and animal advocacy, and a vocal advocate for women's rights.

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg passed away on April 1, 2024, at the age of 91, leaving behind a legacy of perseverance, passion, and profound contributions to the understanding and conservation of wildlife. 

Anne's love for giraffes began at a young age and inspired her to embark on a career in animal studies. After completing her master's degree in 1956, Anne set off as a young biologist to study wild giraffes in South Africa. A pioneer in wildlife research, she is widely considered to be the first Western field researcher to delve into the study of African animals.  

Anne in South Africa studying giraffes

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg in Africa studying giraffes (1956). Photo credit: Alexander Matthew

After this inaugural trailblazing trip, Anne returned to Canada to complete her PhD in animal behaviour. Dr. Dagg went on to publish over 60 scientific articles and 20 books on a wide range of topics, including camels, animal friendships, sexism in academia, and of course, many about giraffes. 

Despite facing numerous challenges, including institutional sexism, Dr. Dagg persevered. Her pioneering research laid the groundwork for our understanding of giraffe biology, behaviour, and ecology today. Her seminal work, including the influential book "The Giraffe: Its Biology, Behavior, and Ecology," continues to be revered as the gold standard in giraffe studies. 

Beyond her groundbreaking research, Dr. Dagg was a vocal advocate for women's rights and fought against gender bias in the sciences. Her courage in confronting systemic barriers serves as an inspiration for aspiring scientists and activists worldwide. 

In recent years, Dr. Dagg received long-overdue recognition for her achievements, culminating in the award-winning documentary "The Woman Who Loved Giraffes".