ANCF was founded in November 1997 as a public charitable trust by Prof. Raman Sukumar. Prof Sukumar started his work on elephants in 1979. In the early 90s, he brought together a team of elephant researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and undertook a range of research projects on the species. It was in 1997 that the need for an independent non-profit organization was felt to take the work forward and expand it. Many of the earlier team members became staff members of ANCF when it was established in 1997.