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SEA Studies Symposium 2013 – Dinner Speaker

We are pleased to announce that the speaker for the Southeast Asian Studies Symposium dinner on 9 March 2013 will be internationally renowned zoologist and environmental biologist Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, the 5th Earl of Cranbrook. He will be speaking on the environment and Borneo/Kalimantan.

Lord CranbrookLord Cranbrook’s PhD concerned the biology of cave swiftlets – the Southeast Asian birds that build edible nests – and, from 1956, his first professional posts were at institutions in that region. He has worked as a Technical Assistant at the Sarawak Museum (1956-8), where inter alia he was charged with (a) investigating the edible-nest swiftlets, and (b) sorting and (as far as possible) identifying animal remains from the Museum’s archaeological digs, two projects that have provided a lifetime of research interest. From this start, his research interests have focussed on the taxonomy and ecology of Southeast Asian mammals and birds, and zooarchaeological study of vertebrate remains from local excavations. He subsequently was a postdoctoral fellow in Indonesia, and then worked at the University of Malaya (1961-1970).

He returned to the UK in 1970. He has subsequently held a mix of part-time positions in the voluntary, public and private sectors, including service as an elected Parish and District Councillor, a member of the Natural Environment Research Council, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, trustee of the British Museum (Natural History), chairman of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, environmental adviser to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and policy roles in the water and waste management industries. He has also been a recurrent returnee to Southeast Asia, on projects of all sorts, most recently (since 2009) as external adviser to Yayasan Ulin, a small conservation trust based in Kalimantan Timur.

In 1978, on the death of his father, he succeeded to a seat in the House of Lords, becoming the sixth generation of his family in a direct line to sit in the UK Parliament. In this position, he concentrated on the interface of environment and politics, serving on select committees for science & technology, and European environmental issues (three times chairing the environment subcommittee), until excluded by the 1999 Act. In 1985, he led the first large appeal for funds by ITZN, and from 2001 – 2008 he served as chairman of the Trust.

His publications include many scientific papers on South-east Asian regional biology and zooarchaeology, and a dozen books includingMammals of Borneo (1965, revised edn 1977), The Wild Mammals of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) and Singapore (1969, 2nd edn 1978), Birds of the Malay Peninsula, vol. 5. (with D. R. Wells, 1976), Mammals of South-East Asia (1987, 2nd edn 1991), Key environments: Malaysia (Ed. & contributor 1988), Belalong: a Tropical Rainforest (with D. S. Edwards, 1994), Wonders of Nature in South-East Asia (1997), Sya’ir Jerjezang (The Ballad of Jerjezang) (2000, reprint 2008), Swiftlets of Borneo: Builders of Edible Nests (with Lim Chan Koon 2002, 2nd ed. 2013).

Another interesting fact: Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, the 1st Earl of Cranbrook, was educated at Oriel College, and was later Member of Parliament for the University of Oxford from 1865 – 1878.

You can find out more about the Symposium or register for the Symposium using the links on the right.

(Photo from International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature website used under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY Licence)

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