Considered by many to have made the highest quality voluntary contribution to the work of the Species Survival Commission of anyone over the past 20 years, Rod East’s recent passing is a particularly poignant loss to the Commission and the wider conservation community.
He contributed to the conservation of African antelopes more than any other individual and his recent award of the Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit in June this year is a very fitting recognition of his tireless efforts.
A former Co-Chair of the SSC Antelope Specialist Group, Rod’s involvement with the SSC dates back to 1984. Amongst his many outstanding achievements, the production of the three volumes of “Antelopes – Global Survey and Regional Action Plans” published in 1988, 1989 and 1990 is one of the pinnacles. They have set the standard of excellence for species Action Plans that SSC Specialist Groups have been striving towards ever since.
Following the production of this landmark series of Action Plans, Rod compiled seven“Antelope Survey Updates” leading to the development of arguably his crowning achievement: the “African Antelope Database 1998” published in 1999.
One of his remarkable attributes was his ability to simultaneously focus on the details of conserving a threatened species without losing sight of the broader scale policy issues of incorporating the sustainable use of antelopes into the development needs of the African continent. A rare balance seen all too infrequently.
All these extraordinary accomplishments were produced in Rod’s spare time, while pursuing a very busy and productive career monitoring and conserving New Zealand’s natural resources as Deputy Chief Executive of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. He stepped down as Co-Chair of the Antelope Specialist Group in 2001, but remained active in antelope conservation work until his passing in early August.
For more information:
Andrew McMullin, IUCN Species Programme Communications Officer
Tel: +41 (0)22 999 0153
SSC Antelope Specialist Group
2006 SSC Awards webstory
SSC Awards page
Antelope Action Plans