Obituary: Conservationist and travel writer Mark Shand

Mark Shand has died aged 62 after suffering a serious head injury from a fall in New York. Credit: ITV News

Conservationist and travel writer Mark Shand - the brother of the Duchess of Cornwall - will be remembered for his dedication to protecting the endangered Asian elephant.

The cause "remained his focus right up until his death" with his work as chairman of the charity Elephant Family, a statement from Clarence House said.

His rescue of Tara, a female elephant he "fell in love with" on the streets of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa, in 1988 was the start of a 600 mile adventure as he rode her across India.

It led to his best-selling work Travels On My Elephant and started a lifetime's commitment to saving elephants with the foundation of the conservation charity Elephant Family.

The actress Joanna Lumley once said she believed that Mr Shand "may have the blood of wild animals in his veins; his awareness of their character and habits is preternatural".

The rebellious adventurer penned numerous books including Skulduggery which told of his travels in Indonesia where he encountered cannibals, crocodiles and much more. "We nearly got killed many times," he once recalled.

His varied life experiences including becoming a jackaroo in Australia, working at Sotheby's, completing the London-Sydney motor-race and being shipwrecked in the South Pacific."Okay, so I haven't really made any money-but at least I know I've lived," he once said.

Mr Shand photographed with his sister Camilla and Prince Charles. Credit: ITV News

His book Queen Of The Elephants won the 1996 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Prix Litteraire d'Amis and was also made into a BBC documentary.

Born on June 28, 1951, Mr Shand was the son of Major Bruce Shand and his wife the Hon. Rosalind Cubitt. His sisters are the Duchess of Cornwall and Annabel Elliot.He was expelled from Milton Abbey School at 14 for smoking cannabis and sent to Australia by his father to learn some life lessons, but stopped on an extended stay in India on his way where he was given his first taste of the country he would fall in love with.

Mark Shand photographed here with Prince Charles in 2013. Credit: Press Association

When his daughter celebrated her birthday in 2012, Tatler reported how Mr Shand reminisced with his family over dinner about "how he had spent his own 18th birthday - locked in a prison cell in Tibet after committing some hair-raising offence".

Mark Shand was the chairman of Elephant Family. Credit: Elephant Family

As a young adult, he travelled the world, buying and selling antiques and decided that he wanted to keep travelling.

Mr Shand settled down and was married for 19 years to Jemima Khan's cousin Clio Goldsmith, a French-born former actress, with whom he had a daughter Ayesha. They split in 2009.