9 Dec 2015

Defender of nature Douglas Tompkins dies in tragic accident

Douglas Rainsford Tompkins, 72, one of the Earth’s foremost conservationists
Douglas Tompkins speaking on his conservation work at the BirdLife World Conference, June 2013. With Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, Marco Lambertini and HIH Princess Takamado (Image: Jessica Trinity)
By Adrian Long

Douglas Rainsford Tompkins, 72, one of the Earth’s foremost conservationists, died following a kayaking accident on Lago General Carrera in Chilean Patagonia. Douglas and his wife, Kristin McDivitt Tompkins, have been extraordinary champions of nature supporting Patagonia’s conservation through their 2.2 million acres of conservation land that includes the Pumalin Park in southern Chile. 

“The entire BirdLife family is deeply saddened by the news,” said Patricia Zurita, BirdLife’s CEO. “Doug made a huge mark in the world, and for those of us who love and cherish nature, his departure is a big hit. We've lost a warrior, but his legacy stands strong.”

For their protection efforts Douglas and Kristine Tompkins received in 2013 the BirdLife Conservation Achievement Awards, which recognises outstanding work for species, sites and habitats. On receiving the award he told the assembled BirdLife World Congress audience of his incredible love for the wild world he had discovered through his travels and how this had lead him to create the Foundation for Deep Ecology, The Conservation Land Trust, and Conservacion Patagonica to conserve wild places. 

Conservation website of Douglas Tompkins and Kristine Tompkins