Mountfort, Guy 1905-2003
MOUNTFORT, Guy 1905-2003
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 4, 1905, in London, England; died April 23, 2003, in Bournemouth, England. Advertising executive, ornithologist, conservationist, and author. Mountfort, a cofounder of the World Wildlife Fund, was especially recognized for his efforts to save the endangered tiger and for writing one of the most popular bird-watching guides ever published. Family finances forced him to leave school at the age of sixteen and take on jobs as a typewriter salesman and bottle-washer in a laboratory. He found greater financial security in 1928, however, when he was hired as an advertising manager by General Motors. With the onset of World War II he enlisted in the British Honourable Artillery Company, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel and becoming an expert in equipment supply. After the war he returned to advertising, this time with Mather & Crowther, which later merged with another company to become Ogilvy & Mather. Mountfort worked there until his retirement as managing director in 1966. Relieved of his regular work schedule, he was able to devote more time to his personal interests in birding and conservation. Mountfort had loved bird watching since he was a young boy, and he started publishing on the subject in the 1950s, beginning with his bestselling A Field Guide to the Birds of Europe (1954), which he produced with the help of Roger Tory Peterson and Philip Hollom and which was released in its fifth edition as A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe (1994). After his retirement from advertising, he became much more involved in wildlife conservation and to that end cofounded the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). As the organization's treasurer Mountfort was instrumental in raising funds that eventually went to help create national parks in countries ranging from Spain to India. Mountfort's work to create Bengal tiger reservations in Asia is one of his most significant contributions and is often credited with saving the species from extinction. He received a Gold Medal from the WWF for his "Operation Tiger" project. Other awards include appointment to the Order of the British Empire in 1970 and being named Commander of the Golden Ark in 1980. Mountfort's books focus on the conservation of wild areas and species and include Wild Danube (1962), The Vanishing Jungle: The Story of the World Wildlife Fund Expeditions to Pakistan (1969), So Small a World (1974), Saving the Tiger (1981), Rare Birds of the World (1988), and Memories of Three Lives (1991).
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), May 2, 2003, p. 22.
Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2003, p. B20.
New York Times, May 3, 2003, p. A19.
Times (London, England), May 1, 2003.
Washington Post, May 2, 2003, p. B7.