Naturalist Zafar Futehally dead

Indo Asian News Service

Mumbai, Aug 12 (IANS) Renowned naturalist, ornithologist and conservationist Zafar Futehally has passed away at his country home in Maharashtra's Raigad district, family sources said Monday. He was 93.

He is survived by his wife, a naturalist and author, daughter Zai, who is a writer and grandchildren. His elder daughter Shama Futehally, a celebrated novelist, died nine years ago.

Futehally, who died Sunday, was suffering from bronchial complications. He was a distant cousin of the late 'Birdman of India', the legendary Salim Ali.

Futehally was remembered for his work as the honorary secretary of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) for over a decade and his Newsletter for Birdwatchers, a periodical which helped birdwatchers across India to communicate and record their observations.

Born in Mumbai, Futehally studied at the St. Xaviers College and later worked with a family-owned company, Dynacraft Machines along with his brother and a cousin.

In 1965, he was a part of the organizing team of the IUCN in New Delhi and joined its executive board the following year before being elevated as its vice president in 1969.

He was conferred with several national and international honours, including the Padma Shri in 1970.

Also working for the World Wildlife Fund, and his close rapport with the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, Futehally succeeded in getting the government to initiate several measures beneficial to conservation efforts.