Riley Elliott (35) was born in Vancouver Canada, later moving to New Zealand at age five. Being a nature kid from the get go, and with parents who guided him to follow his passion, coupled with hard work and determination, Riley’s interest in the natural world took him to over 60 countries to dive, surf and experience culture. He has achieved a Bachelor of Science Honours in Zoology, a Master’s in Marine Science, and has applied academic principles from university, with real world field experience, to excel in the shark research environment. With unbelievable stories such as a 13 ft. Great White shark jumping into his research vessel, to freediving cageless with almost every dangerous species of shark in the world, Riley found his niche. Fear to fascination became his life motto and the ‘Shark Man’ was born.
Dr. Riley Elliott obtained his PHD in Marine Science in 2020, having described the behaviour and migration patterns of blue sharks in the south Pacific. Using satellite tags his work revealed remarkable journeys and ecosystem services provided by the most numerous yet exploited shark species on earth. Riley communicated his findings to the public through mainstream media which contributed to a ban on shark finning in New Zealand.
This cemented in Riley a recipe for conservation success, whereby stimulating visual imagery in modern media, laced with science, can be a powerful ally to those without a voice. In applying this recipe, Riley has contributed to the end of the Western Australia shark cull, stimulated research on sharks across the globe, created, produced and presented some of Shark Week’s highest rating shows and most recently, encouraged a fleet of budding marine ambassadors to undertake the most unique television challenge in history – Shark Academy.
He speaks to school kids, corporates and mainstream media around the world, inspiring people to follow their passion whilst making the world a better place. Ultimately Riley is still a nature kid at heart, with a passion to encourage humanity to emotionally re-engage with nature by getting out there and interacting with it.