Peter Scott
Sir Peter Markham Scott, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

Distinguished Service Cross (United Kingdom)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the third level military decoration awarded to officers, and other ranks, of the British Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Merchant Navy and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.The DSC, which may be awarded posthumously, is...

 and Bar
Medal bar
A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It is most commonly used to indicate the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the...

Mentioned in Dispatches
A soldier Mentioned in Despatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which is described the soldier's gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy.In a number of countries, a soldier's name must be mentioned in...

Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

, FZS, (14 September 1909 – 29 August 1989) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 ornithologist, conservationist
Conservationists are proponents or advocates of conservation. They advocate for the protection of all the species in an ecosystem with a strong focus on the natural environment...

, painter
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, naval officer and sportsman.

Scott was knighted in 1973 for his contribution to the conservation
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 of wild animals. He had been a founder of the World Wildlife Fund, a founder of several wetlands bird sanctuaries in Britain, and an influence on international conservation. He received the WWF Gold Medal and the J. Paul Getty Prize
J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership
The J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership has been awarded annually since 2006 in recognition of outstanding leadership in global conservation. The award aims to acknowledge individuals making "pioneering and substantial" contributions to conservation as well as foster the development of...

 for his work.

Early life

Scott was born in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the only child of Antarctic
The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

 explorer Robert Falcon Scott
Robert Falcon Scott
Captain Robert Falcon Scott, CVO was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13...

 and sculptor Kathleen Bruce
Kathleen Scott
Kathleen Scott, Baroness Kennet, FRSBS was a British sculptor.-Early life:Born Edith Agnes Kathleen Bruce at Carlton in Lindrick, Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, she was the youngest of eleven children of Canon Lloyd Stuart Bruce and Jane Skene Kathleen Scott, Baroness Kennet, FRSBS (27 March...

. He was only two years old when his father died. Robert Scott, in a last letter to his wife, advised her to "make the boy interested in natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 if you can; it is better than games." He was named after Sir Clements Markham
Clements Markham
Sir Clements Robert Markham KCB FRS was an English geographer, explorer, and writer. He was secretary of the Royal Geographical Society between 1863 and 1888, and later served as the Society's president for a further 12 years...

, mentor of Scott's polar expeditions, and his godfather
A godparent, in many denominations of Christianity, is someone who sponsors a child's baptism. A male godparent is a godfather, and a female godparent is a godmother...

 was J. M. Barrie
J. M. Barrie
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright...

, creator of Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...


He was educated at Oundle School
Oundle School
Oundle School is a co-educational British public school located in the ancient market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire. The school has been maintained by the Worshipful Company of Grocers of the City of London since its foundation in 1556. Oundle has eight boys' houses, five girls' houses, a day...

 and Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

, initially reading Natural Sciences but graduating in the History of Art in 1931.

Success in art

Like his mother, he displayed a strong artistic talent and had his first exhibition in London in 1933. His wealthy background allowed him to follow his interests in art, wildlife and many sports, including sailing
Sailing is the propulsion of a vehicle and the control of its movement with large foils called sails. By changing the rigging, rudder, and sometimes the keel or centre board, a sailor manages the force of the wind on the sails in order to move the boat relative to its surrounding medium and...

 and ice skating
Ice skating
Ice skating is moving on ice by using ice skates. It can be done for a variety of reasons, including leisure, traveling, and various sports. Ice skating occurs both on specially prepared indoor and outdoor tracks, as well as on naturally occurring bodies of frozen water, such as lakes and...

. He represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at sailing
Dinghy racing
Dinghy racing is the competitive sport of sailing dinghies. Dinghy racing has affected aspects of the modern dinghy, including hull design, sail materials and sailplan, and techniques such as planing and trapezing.-Organisation of dinghy racing:...

 in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

, winning a bronze medal
Bronze medal
A bronze medal is a medal awarded to the third place finisher of contests such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc. The practice of awarding bronze third place medals began at the 1904 Olympic Games in St...


Second World War

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Scott served in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, emulating his father. He served first in destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s in the North Atlantic but later moved to commanding the First (and only) Squadron of Steam Gun Boat
Steam Gun Boat
The Steam Gun Boat was a Royal Navy term for a class of small naval vessels used during the Second World War. The class consisted of nine gun boats, powered by steam, and built from 1940 to 1942 for the Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy....

s against German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 E-boats in the English Channel. He is also partly credited with designing 'shadow camouflage', which disguised the look of ship superstructure. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Cross (United Kingdom)
The Distinguished Service Cross is the third level military decoration awarded to officers, and other ranks, of the British Armed Forces, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and British Merchant Navy and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries.The DSC, which may be awarded posthumously, is...

 for bravery.

Post war life

He stood as a Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 candidate unsuccessfully in the 1945 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1945
The United Kingdom general election of 1945 was a general election held on 5 July 1945, with polls in some constituencies delayed until 12 July and in Nelson and Colne until 19 July, due to local wakes weeks. The results were counted and declared on 26 July, due in part to the time it took to...

 in Wembley North. In 1948, he founded the organisation with which he was ever afterwards closely associated, the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust is a wildfowl and wetland conservation charity in the United Kingdom. Its patron is Queen Elizabeth II.It was founded in 1946 by the ornithologist and artist Sir Peter Scott, initially as the Severn Wildfowl Trust...

) with its headquarters at Slimbridge
WWT Slimbridge
WWT Slimbridge is a wetland reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, England. Slimbridge is halfway between Bristol and Gloucester on the estuary of the river Severn. The reserve was the first WWT centre to be opened, on 10 November 1946, thanks to the...

 in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

. In the years that followed, he led ornithological expeditions worldwide, and became a television personality, popularising the study of wildfowl and wetlands. His BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 series, Look, ran from 1955 to 1981 and made him a household name. He wrote and illustrated several books on the subject, including his autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

, The Eye of the Wind (1961). In the 1950s, he also appeared regularly on BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 radio's Children's Hour
Children's Hour
Children's Hour—at first: "The Children's Hour", from a verse by Longfellow—was the name of the BBC's principal recreational service for children during the period when radio dominated broadcasting....

, in the series, "Nature Parliament".

He married the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard
Elizabeth Jane Howard
Elizabeth Jane Howard, CBE is an English novelist. She was previously an actress and a model.In 1951 she won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for her first novel, The Beautiful Visit...

 in 1942. A daughter, Nicola, was born a year later. They divorced in 1951 and he married an assistant, Philippa Talbot-Ponsonby
Philippa Scott
Phillippa Scott, Lady Scott was a British champion of wildlife conservation and the widow of Sir Peter Scott....

, while on an expedition to Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 in search of the breeding grounds of the Pink-footed Goose
Pink-footed Goose
The Pink-footed Goose is a goose which breeds in eastern Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. It is migratory, wintering in northwest Europe, especially Great Britain, the Netherlands, and western Denmark...

. A daughter, Dafila, was born later in the same year. (Dafila is the old scientific name
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

 for a pintail
Northern Pintail
The Pintail or Northern Pintail is a widely occurring duck which breeds in the northern areas of Europe, Asia and North America. It is strongly migratory and winters south of its breeding range to the equator...

). She, too, is now an artist, painting birds.

Scott took up gliding
Gliding is a recreational activity and competitive air sport in which pilots fly unpowered aircraft known as gliders or sailplanes using naturally occurring currents of rising air in the atmosphere to remain airborne. The word soaring is also used for the sport.Gliding as a sport began in the 1920s...

 in 1956 and became a British champion in 1963. He was chairman of the British Gliding Association
British Gliding Association
The British Gliding Association is the governing body for gliding in the United Kingdom. Gliding in the United Kingdom operates through 85 gliding clubs which have 2,310 gliders and 9,462 full flying members , though a further 17,000 people have gliding air-experience flights each year.-History:A...

 (BGA) for two years from 1968 and was president of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Gliding Club. He was responsible for involving Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 in gliding; the Prince is still patron
Patrón is a luxury brand of tequila produced in Mexico and sold in hand-blown, individually numbered bottles.Made entirely from Blue Agave "piñas" , Patrón comes in five varieties: Silver, Añejo, Reposado, Gran Patrón Platinum and Gran Patrón Burdeos. Patrón also sells a tequila-coffee blend known...

 of the BGA.

From 1973 to 1983, Scott was Chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 of the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

He died of a heart attack on 29 August 1989 in Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, just 2 weeks' shy of his 80th birthday.

He was the founder President of the Society of Wildlife Artists
Society of Wildlife Artists
The Society of Wildlife Artists is a British organisation for artists who paint or draw wildlife, founded in 1964. Its founder President was Sir Peter Scott, the current President of the society is British artist Andrew Stock....

 and President of the Nature in Art
Nature in Art
Nature in Art is a museum and art gallery at Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, Gloucester, England, dedicated exclusively to art inspired by nature in all forms, styles and media...

 Trust (a role in which Philippa succeeded him).

Scott tutored numerous artists including Paul Karslake
Paul Karslake
Paul Karslake FRSA is an artist, primarily a painter. He is the brother of Jo Wood, former wife of Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones. In the early 1970s Karslake was tutored by Sir Peter Scott; towards the end of that decade he met Salvador Dali during a trip to Spain...



Scott also continued with his love of sailing, skippering the 12 metre yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

 Sovereign in the 1964 challenge for the America's Cup
America's Cup
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

 which was held by the USA. Sovereign suffered a whitewash 4-0 defeat in a one-sided competition where the American boat was seen to be the faster design. From 1955 - 1969 he was the president of the International Sailing Federation
International Sailing Federation
The International Sailing Federation is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the world governing body for the sport of sailing....

World Wide Fund for Nature

He was one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

 (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and designed its panda
Giant Panda
The giant panda, or panda is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda's diet is 99% bamboo...

 logo. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the shift in policy of the International Whaling Commission
International Whaling Commission
The International Whaling Commission is an international body set up by the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling , which was signed in Washington, D.C...

 and signing of the Antarctic Treaty, the latter inspired by his visit to his father's base on Ross Island
Ross Island
Ross Island is an island formed by four volcanoes in the Ross Sea near the continent of Antarctica, off the coast of Victoria Land in McMurdo Sound.-Geography:...

 in Antarctica.

Loch Ness Monster

He is also remembered for giving the scientific name of Nessiteras rhombopteryx (based on a blurred underwater photograph of a supposed fin) to the Loch Ness Monster
Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next....

 so that it could be registered as an endangered species. The name was based on the Ancient Greek for "the wonder of Ness with the diamond shaped fin", but it was later pointed out by The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

to be an anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

 of Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.

In 1962, he co-founded the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau with the then Conservative MP David James
David James (politician)
David Pelham James, MBE, DSC was a British Conservative Party politician, author and adventurer. Eldest son of Sir Archibald James and Bridget James Miller...

, who had previously been Polar Advisor on the classic 1948 movie based on his late father's doomed polar expedition Scott of the Antarctic
Scott of the Antarctic (1948 film)
Scott of the Antarctic is a 1948 film about Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to be the first to the South Pole in Antarctica in 1910-12...


British Naturalists' Association

Scott was a long-time Vice-President of the British Naturalists' Association
British Naturalists' Association
The British Naturalists' Association is one of the United Kingdom's oldest natural history organisations, originally founded in 1905 as The British Empire Naturalists' Association-Aims:...

, whose Peter Scott Memorial Award was instituted after his death, to commemorate his achievements.

Television documentaries

In June 2004, Scott and Sir David Attenborough
David Attenborough
Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

 were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

 series, The Way We Went Wild
The Way We Went Wild
The Way We Went Wild is a three-part BBC TV series, first shown on BBC Two, about British wildlife presenters. It was narratted by Josette Simon.-Episode 2:Episode 2, screened on 20 June 2004, featured Sir Peter Scott and Sir David Attenborough.-Episode 3:...

, about television wildlife presenters and were described as being largely responsible for the way that the British and much of the world views wildlife.

Scott's life was also the subject of a BBC Four
BBC Four
BBC Four is a British television network operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation and available to digital television viewers on Freeview, IPTV, satellite and cable....

 documentary called "Peter Scott - A Passion for Nature" produced in 2006 by Available Light Productions, Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...


Cultural references

Scott appears as a minor character in the novel The Plague Dogs
The Plague Dogs
The Plague Dogs is the third novel by Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, about two dogs who escape an animal testing facility and are subsequently pursued by both the government and the media...

by Richard Adams
Richard Adams
Richard Adams was a non-conforming English Presbyterian divine, known as author of sermons and other theological writings.-Life:...

. The fictional Scott assists in rescuing the protagonists from their final peril.

Scott is cited as a member of the eclectic (and fictional) "orchestra" in The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band are a band created by a group of British art-school denizens of the 1960s...

's recording, The Intro and the Outro
The Intro and the Outro
The Intro and The Outro is a recording by The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. It appears on their debut album, Gorilla . It is not so much a song as a comic monologue, in which the speaker introduces the musicians who ostensibly appear on the recording, and the track fades out before the emcee completes...

, where he is credited—appropriately—with playing a duck call
Duck call
A Duck call may refer to either the process by which a hunter lures waterfowl, or the actual tool that he uses to do so.-Process:Duck calling is the process in which a hunter uses a tool also known as a "duck call" to emulate the sound of a duck as a means to draw them closer.-Tool:As a tool, a...



  • The Red Book - Wildlife in Danger James Fisher, Noel Simon & Jck Vincent, Collins, 1969
    • The acknowledgemnts in this book credit Scott with originating the idea behind it
  • George Edward Lodge - Unpublished Bird Paintings C.A. Fleming (Michael Joseph
    Pearson PLC
    Pearson plc is a global media and education company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is both the largest education company and the largest book publisher in the world, with consumer imprints including Penguin, Dorling Kindersley and Ladybird...

    ) 1983 ISBN 0718122127

External links

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