Richard Garstang | WWF
© WWF-Pakistan

Richard Garstang

WWF-Pakistan is greatly saddened to share the news of the passing of Richard Garstang, a renowned authority on the wildlife of Pakistan and internationally acclaimed conservation biologist on 17 August 2019 in Kommetjie, close to Cape Town, South Africa.

 Richard Garstang was an employee of WWF-Pakistan for sixteen years and during this time he held the position of Conservation Advisor and then National Programme Manager, Pakistan Wetlands Programme until 2009. He gained over 34 years of experience in natural resources and wildlife management initiative in Africa and Asia.

Richard moved to Pakistan in 1996, initially working with IUCN for just over a year before joining WWF-Pakistan as a Conservation Advisor in 1997, based in Lahore. From 1997 to 2005, Richard worked tirelessly to establish WWF as the leading conservation organization in Pakistan. He established the geographic information system (GIS) Lab, developing it as the best of its kind at the time, often paying from his own pocket to ensure the dream become a reality. He led many field teams to develop management plans for national parks. Richard also wrote the first Biodiversity Action Plan of Pakistan. He also invested a lot of his time and energy into mentoring young conservationists both local and foreign that joined WWF Pakistan. In the early 2000’s he worked on developing Pakistan Wetlands Programme (PWP) which took two years of continuous effort to get off the ground. Without Richards efforts and dedication PWP may have not seen the light of day.

Richard’s love for the people of Pakistan had no limits and after the 2005 earthquake, he personally led the first relief and rescue operations for the people of Machiara National Park in Azad Kashmir, Muzaffarabad. In 2003 he married a local lady and settled in Islamabad. His wife is a keen ornithologist and one of Pakistan's few women mountaineers.

As a result of eighteen years of leadership in the field conservation in Pakistan, the nation now has capacity to protect the environment and his legacies live on in the form of individuals that worked with him and who are now in prominent posts in the field of conservation.

May his soul rest in peace.