A Tribute to Dr. Peter Crawshaw

by K. Ullas Karanth
Dr. Peter Crawshaw (blue shirt) in the field

I am sad to hear about the passing away of Dr. Peter Crawshaw, the big cat expert and conservation luminary of Brazil. Peter was not only one of the greatest experts on Jaguar biology, but also a warm and generous human being. Peter pioneered research on Jaguars forty years ago, being mentored by the legendary George Schaller.

Peter and I were graduate students at the University of Florida in the mid-eighties, both being lucky to be supervised by another star pioneer of the big cat world, Mel Sunquist. We became good friends, and maintained that contact over the years.

Being in the field with Peter in Brazil was an awesome experience. Despite my many invitations, it is my eternal regret that I could never show a tiger to Peter here, because he never made the trip.

Peter lived a brave and adventurous life, making a huge impact in cat conservation and mentoring generations of carnivore biologists.

It seemed to me, sometimes, Peter had nine lives like the proverbial cat: He survived a severe mauling by a Jaguar, and, a micro-light crash, and was totally unfazed.

The big cat that he was, he had to finally succumb to a tiny virus.

Goodbye my friend, Peter Crashaw.

K. Ullas Karanth

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