Norman W. Moore, British conservationist, Died at 92

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Norman Winfrid Moore was born on February 24, 1923, and passed away on October 21, 2015.

Norman described as one of the most influential figures in nature conservation over half a century.

He was a British conservationist and author who worked extensively on studies of dragonflies and their habitats and was one of the first people to observe and warn of the adverse effects of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides on wildlife.

The son of a doctor, Sir Alan Hilary Moore, 2nd Baronet Hancox, Norman was educated at Eton College, and Trinity College, Cambridge.

Norman graduated during World War II, and then served in the Royal Artillery in the last two years of the war, reaching the rank of Lieutenant.

He saw action in the Netherlands and Germany, was wounded, and became a prisoner of war.

After the war he married fellow zoologist, Janet Singer, (in 1950) and studied for a PhD at Bristol University, being awarded the doctorate in 1954.

His PhD thesis was on agonistic behaviour. His career in conservation started at this time and from 1953 he was a scientific officer for the Nature Conservancy (later the Nature Conservancy Council) in various roles, including that of Chief Advisory Officer, until 1983.

From 1979 to 1983, he was also Visiting Professor of Environmental Studies at Wye College, which was then part of the University of London.

Norman is a founding member and former chairman of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), and is also a vice-president of the British Association of Nature Conservationists.

From 1960 to 1974 he was Head of the Toxic Chemicals and Wildlife Division at Monks Wood Experimental Station where he studied the effects of toxic chemicals on wildlife, in particular the adverse effect of organochlorine pesticides on raptors.

This work led to him developing the “precautionary principle” exemplified by his recommendation that the use of such pesticides should be phased out even though the extent of the harm they caused was not yet fully known.

Norman pioneering work on nature conservation and his pesticide research led to requests for advice from governmental and other scientific organisations in Europe, India, Australia and the United States.

It was his work on dragonflies and conservation that led to him coining the term “the birdwatcher’s insect”, aiming to raise public interest in the role of insect monitoring in ecosystem conservation.

Due to his background in dragonfly research and conservation, Norman was invited to chair the Odonata specialist group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

This international group first met in 1980, and produced a world plan for dragonfly conservation in 1995, which was published in 1997.

Norman died at age 92 in October 2015.