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Vale Professor David Wake1936-2021

The sad passing of Professor David Wake on 29 April 2021 represents the end of an era for the World Congress of Herpetology, and for the world of herpetology in general.


Every single herpetologist alive today will have been influenced – either knowingly or unknowingly – by David Wake. In addition to forging a glowing scientific career littered with awards, David Wake worked tirelessly behind the scenes to support and develop the careers of others around the world. This included chairing the committee that brought the World Congress of Herpetology into existence. David’s perceptive mind was amongst the first to identify that there was something very serious going on with amphibian declines around the world, and he was instrumental in the formation of the first initiative to do something about it – the IUCN Declining Amphibian Population Task Force.

The influence of David Wake will live on through the many students he supervised, and the many lives he touched all around the world. Our condolences go out to Marvalee and other members of his family.

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Goodbye Phil

WCH is mourning alongside the global herpetological community. This photo is from after the closing ceremony of the 9th World Congress of Herpetology in Dunedin, New Zealand on January 2020. It was organized by Phil Bishop and his team, and was one of the most successful congresses WCH has ever held. The photo below features the officers of WCH starting in 2020 to 2024, which, from the left to right, includes Alan Savitzky (Treasurer), David Bickford (IHC Chair), Phil (Secretary General Elect) and Judit Vörös (Secretary General). Who would have thought that this would be the last time we would all be together?

Phil left us on the 23rd of January 2021 and now there is a big void. Thanks to him we enjoyed an amazing congress in 2020, which was spiced by his vibrant personality and irreproducible humor. For many years, he has contributed to building and promoting WCH, as well as passionately helped with organizing the upcoming congress in Borneo, Malaysia. At this upcoming meeting set for 2024, he would have become Secretary General of the WCH.

We will miss you, Phil; from our discussions, your input in the committees, and from all the future congresses. You will be fondly remembered for your helpful and deliberate opinions, and your smart ideas. We are deeply sad that our community lost such an amazing scientist, person and leader.

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