Sir Peter Scott

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Scott’s Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus scottorum. Scott W. Michael
Cirrhilabrus scottorum 5.jpg
Scott’s Fairy Wrasse, Cirrhilabrus scottorum. Scott W. Michael

The man behind the name: Sir Peter Markham Scott, C.H, C.B.E, D.S.C, F.R.S (1909-1989)

Sir Peter Scott cofounded the World Wildlife Fund in 1961 and was a renowned ornithologist, conservationist, and wildlife artist, as well as an Olympic class sailor for Great Britain.

Conservationist Sir Peter Scott.

He is best known among aquarists as having first caught specimens of Cirrhilabrus scottorum Scott’s Fairy Wrasse, one the most beautiful and well-liked of coral reef aquarium fishes. An artist, Sir Peter immediately made a painting of his find, according to John E. Randall, PhD.

Dr. Randall, the leading coral reef ichthyologist of the 20th century, was present on the expedition and is the original author of Cirrhilabrus scottorum with Richard Pyle. The description of the species is based on a specimen collected "Outside (the) barrier reef about 1/4 mile east of Teavaraa Pass, Papara, Tahiti, Society Islands, depth 12 meters."

Peter Markham Scott was the son of the ill-fated Antarctic explorer Capt. Robert Falcon Scott and a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1948 he founded what is now known as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

In addition to designing the World Wildlife Fund's original iconic panda logo, he is credited with providing a scientific name for the Loch Ness Monster, Nessiteras rhombopteryx, so that it could be registered as an Endangered Species. The name is an anagram for "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S."

In addition to his interests in fishes, birds, and nature, Sir Peter was the British Gliding Champion in 1963 and skippered Sovereign in the 1964 Amercia's Cup race. After a divorce, he married his assistant, Philippa Talbot-Ponsonby, according to Wikipedia, "on an expedition to Iceland in search of the breeding grounds of the Pink-footed Goose."

His old school biography on The Oundle Society website includes this footnote:

"In June 2004, Scott and Sir David Attenborough were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC 2 series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters – leaving no doubt that Peter fulfilled the ambitions that his father set for him in his last diary: "Get the boy interested in natural history—it is better than games." (Curiously, Scott's godfather was J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.)

On the founding of the WWF, Sir Peter Scott said: "We shan't save all we should like to, but we shall save a great deal more than if we had never tried."

Image credit: SWM
Text credit: JL