Tony Whitaker MNZM, 5 September 1944 – 20 February 2014
- 67 Lyndhurst St, Palmerston North 4412
The sudden death of Tony Whitaker on 20 February 2014 while out mountain biking was a great shock to herpetologists and ecologists in New Zealand and elsewhere. Tony had dedicated his life to studying New Zealand and Pacific natural history. An expert on New Zealand and Pacific lizards, his research was widely published in academic journals and books. He devised new methods for locating and surveying lizards, found new species and discovered many remarkable new features of their biology and ecology. Tony was at the leading edge of ecologists who recognised the devastating impact of introduced rodents on New Zealand reptile populations and was involved in several conservation programmes for threatened species. His work also significantly improved New Zealand biosecurity through the development of rapid identification processes for reptiles and snakes intercepted at borders.