- A -

" naturalists who died in the course of their work "

based on an idea by
Richard Conniff

Aaronsohn, Aaron (1876 -1919), botanist who discovered wild emmer,  “the mother of wheat.”  He was also the founder and head of Nili, the Jewish spy network that provided critical aid to British troops in Palestine during World War I.  The brilliant military campaign led by Field Marshall Edmund Allenby might have seemed to outsiders to take unwarranted risks, the chief of British military intelligence later said, but “That is not true. For Allenby knew with certainty from his intelligence [in Palestine] of all the preparations and all the movements of his enemy … Under these conditions, victory was certain before he began.”  Aaronsohn died, age 43, in a plane crash on route to Britain after the war.

Abe, Katsumi (c.1953-1998),  Japanese researcher of the evolution and behavior of planktonic bioluminescent ostracodes (minute crustaceans known in Japan as 'marine fireflies&'), died, in his mid-4os, driving home late from a conference.

Abe, Takuya (1945-2000)  termite ecologist at Kyoto University, drowned, age 55, when his small boat was caught in a storm during an expedition on the Sea of Cortez.

Abramchuk, Siarhei (1984-2010),  promising young Belarusian ornithologist, of encephalitis, age 26, after a tick bite in the national park Belavezhskaya pushcha, Belarus.

Adams, Alan (1960-1983); a British birdwatcher from Liverpool, disappeared, age 22, while following the vocalizations of Satyr Tragopan in late afternoon on the Langtang trek at Tharepati, Nepal

Adams, Charles Baker (1814-1853), American malacologist, named about 800 species of mollusks from Jamaica, Panama and eastern USA, died of yellow fever, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Akeley, Carl (1864-1926), naturalist-taxidermist for the American Museum of Natural History, age 62, while collecting mammals in the eastern Congo, of dysentery.

Alberico, Michael S. (1947-2005), American mammalogist, namesake of Alberico’s broad-nosed bat, died, age 58, in a robbery as he was getting into taxicab in Cali, Colombia, immediately after taking money out of an ATM.

Alexander, Capt. Boyd (1873–1910), explorer and ornithologist, age 37, murdered in what is now Chad.

Anchieta, Jose Alberto de Oliveira  (1832-1897) was a Portuguese naturalist and collector who traveled widely in Angola and Mozambique. He died, age 66, probably from chronic malaria, when returning from an expedition to the Caconda region of Angola.   He was responsible for identifying 25 new species of mammals, 46 of birds and 46 of amphibians and reptiles.  Three birds, seven reptiles and four mammals are named after him.

Anderson, James D. (1930-1976), herpetologist and taxonomist at Rutgers University who described several snake and salamander species, died, age 46, in a car accident on a field trip to study bog turtles.  The species Ambystoma andersoni, which he discovered in Mexico, was named in his honor.

Anderson, William (1750-1778), surgeon-naturalist on Cook's second and third voyages, at sea, age 27, possibly from scurvy.

Andrews, Timothy Peter (1958-1990), British amateur ornithologist, shot dead while trying to escape guerrillas of the Marxist guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) while conducting an expedition in north-central Peru, in the Tingo María area of the Upper Huallaga River Valley, 11 June 1990 or later; no body was found. (See also Entwhistle, Michael Alan, below)

Archambault, Noel (1961-1998), IMAX cameraman, died, age 36, in an ultralight accident while filming in the Galapagos.

Arenas, Miguel Ángel Soto (1963–2009), a Mexican orchid specialist who described many new species and was an outspoken conservationist, assassinated while working at home late one night, age 46.

Artedi, Peter (1705-1735), Swedish “father of icthyology,” drowned, age 30, in Amsterdam, where he was cataloging the vast natural history specimen collection of Albertus Seba.  Artedi is the subject of a recent biography,  The Curious Death of Peter Artedi, by Theodore W. Pietsch

"Born Free"

Adamson, Joy (1910 - 1980), a naturalist, artist, and author best known for the book and movie Born Free, found murdered, age 69, in her camp on Kenya’s Lake Naivasha, by a former employee.

Adamson, George (1906 - 1989), British wildlife conservationist and author best known through the book and movie Born Free, shot dead, age 83, in Kenya’s Kora National Park by Somali bandits.