- G -

The Wall of the Dead:

A Illustrated Memorial to Fallen Naturalists

Based on work by Richard Conniff

Gallman, Emanuelle (1966-1983), Italo-Kenyan self-taught herpetologist, died,a ge 17, from a puff adder bite at Ol Ari Nyiro.

Gaines, David (1947-1988) , birder in the Sierra Nevada,  author of  The Birds of the Yosemite and the East Slope, and the main impetus behind saving Mono Lake from SoCal’s unquenchable thirst. He died, age 41, in a car accident near Mono Lake. Here’s a good biography (but disregard the dates).

Galway, Edward (17??-1816), an Irish naturalist, died, probably of yellow fever, while serving aboard HMS Congo on its exploration of the Zaire River.

Gambel, William (1823–1849), American naturalist, namesake of Gambel’s quail, age 26, of typhoid fever in the Sierra Nevada.

Gentry, Al (1945–1993), a botanist for the Missouri Botanical Garden, killed in  a plane crash in the mountains of Ecuador, age 48. A colleague recalls that, in the field, “His hands and clothes were invariably scratched and bathed in all color of brown, black, and green, after hours and hours of tree climbing” to gather specimens.


Gerhart, Nathaniel G. (1975-2007), conservationist and ornithologist who rediscovered the selva cacique (previously thought to be extinct), age 32, of a car accident while working on an NSF study in Indonesia.  Here’s a link to some memories from family and friends.

Gibbard, Gregory (19??-2015), an Australian working for African wild dog conservation in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, was killed, age ??, by two blows to the head with an axe.  A former employee said to have been unhappy with his severance payment has been arrested in the killing.

Gibbins, Ernest Gerald (1900-1942), researcher on mosquitoes and black flies, speared to death, age 42. while he was investigating a yellow fever outbreak in Uganda. His attackers reportedly believed that the blood samples he was taking were intended for witchcraft purposes. An investigating policeman said that Gibbins’  body was “as full of spears as a bloody porcupine.”  The mosquito Anopheles gibbinsi is named for him.

Gibbons, John R.H. (1946-1986), herpetologist, described several species of lizards in Fiji, including the spectacular Fiji Island iguana.  Died, age 40, along with his entire family in a boating accident off the island of Lekeba.

Gilbert, John (1810?–1845), British naturalist and explorer, collected Austra­lian mammals and birds for John Gould until killed by a spear, age 35, during a nighttime raid on his camp by Aborigines.

Giggleman, Marina Vargas (1960 – 2007), a marine biologist from Venezuela, died, age 47, in an ATV accident while working to find and protect nesting Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.

Goenaga, Carlos José (1951-1993), a coral researcher in Puerto Rico, died age 42 when a huge wave washed him off a rock, while he was searching for an elusive mollusk with his students.

Gomez, Margarita (1987-2011), Universidad de los Andes biology student murdered, age 23, by the ring leader of a drug gang while filming and photographing the biodiversity of area known as “La Camaronera,” in San Bernardo de Viento, in Cordoba, Columbia.

Grant, Harold J.(1921–1966), American entomologist, age 45, drowned on an expedition collecting grasshoppers in Trinidad.

Sharon Gray, age 27

Sharon Gray, age 27

Gray, Sharon (1986-2016), a plant biologist at the University of California-Davis, she was hit by a rock and killed, age 30, while driving past a land rights protest outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She was attending a meeting about her work on how climate change affects crop growth.

Gregg, Josiah (1806-1850), author of Commerce of the Prairies (1844), merchant, plant collector, explorer, physician.  An article about him reports:  “Exhausted from vigorous travel, near-starvation, and continuous exposure to severe weather, Gregg died on February 25, 1850, as a result of a fall from his horse, and was buried” near Clear Lake in California.

Gressitt, J. Linsley (1914-1982), entomologist, died, age 68, in a plane crash in China

Griffith, William(1810–1845), British botanist in India and Afghanistan, age 34, of malaria.

Grooms, Wayne (1945?-2016), a South Carolina conservationist, died, age 71, just 15 minutes after being bitten on the leg by a snake, thought to have been a timber rattler, during a hike in Santee National Wildlife Refuge.

Grzimek, Michael (1934-1959), German zoologist and environmentalist, lost control of his plane on hitting a vulture in the Serengeti and died, age 24, in the crash.

Gurung, Chandra (1949-2006), WWF official, pioneer in sustainable development involving local people, killed, age 57, in a helicopter crash that took the lives of 24 people, many of them World Wildlife Fund conservationists, below Mount Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. They had traveled to a remote corner of northeastern Nepal to celebrate the government decision to transfer stewardship of the wildlife, peaks, trails, rivers, forests and immense beauty of this special place to local communities.