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Founding Director, Bart O'Gara, Ph.D. (Montana)

Dr. Bart O'Gara passed away on May 21, 2003. Bart was a Founding Board Member of Conservation Force and an inspiration to all who worked with him. Bart was a Wildlife Professor Emeritus at the University of Montana where he received his Ph.D. in Zoology in 1968. He had an office at the University where I have communicated with him regularly over the past twelve years and daily over the past seven years. As well as serving Conservation Force directly, he was one of the interveners in the Argali suit in the Federal District Court of Washington, D.C., that Conservation Force successfully concluded.


Bart gave his life to public service. He first served his nation as an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy. He retired from the Navy after twenty years of service and began his undergraduate studies at Montana State University. Upon graduation he became a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Assistant Leader of the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit until he was promoted to the Leader of that Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit. He held the Leader position for twelve years, before retiring from the Extension Service with twenty-five years of Service. He was a respected teacher, prolific author and consummate big game hunter.


In the year before his death he finished the definitive work on Pronghorn Antelope and completed three chapters in North American Elk, Ecology and Management, Chapter 1, Taxonomy, Chapter 2, Distribution: Past and Present and Chapter 16, Hunting Red Deer and Elk: Old and New Worlds. He also completed a book on his own hunting adventures entitled Seventy-Five Years Afield, Safari Press.


Bart was an expert on Management of Big Game in Developing Countries. His Awards, fellowships, grants, work in foreign countries, and publications are not comparable. Bart was recognized as the Conservationist of the Year by SCI and many other honors. He conducted the Wildlife and Conservation and Management Training Program for Pakistan in 1985-86 that is the foundation of their world renown Markhor conservation success today. He was the expert in SCI's Argali suit against the USF&WS in 1993 who did a phenomenal critical analysis of the Argali Rule and "special" trophy import regulations. He even assisted in the early stages of the British Columbia Grizzly fight in the middle 1990s.

Conservation Force deeply regrets this irreplaceable loss. There will never be another Bart O'Gara. We are fortunate to have truly great men on Conservation Force's Board, but upon the passing of one who contributed so very much, we also know the measure of truly great loss. Thank you Bart for everything!

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