Founding Director, Don Lindsay (Republic of South Africa)

Founding Board Member Donald Lindsay Passes

 

            On October 15, 2014 we lost Don Lindsay to cancer. Don was a founding board member of Conservation Force and served until his death – 18 years. We have been very lucky to have the moral support and good name and reputation of Don behind us all of these years.
 

            Don was the President of the International Professional Hunters Association, IPHA, for 14 years and served as President of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa, PHASA, for nine years, 1982-1991. He was a founding member of both IPHA and PHASA. He grew PHASA from a handful of individuals to over 1,000 members, which remains the largest and most powerful P.H. association in the world today. Among his many achievements, Don established the importation of ESA endangered bontebok into the United States during his leadership of PHASA. He also took the Minister of Namibia and I to lunch and persuaded me to help Namibia with U.S. import of its cheetah, black-faced impala and black rhino. He took great pride in his success with bontebok imports. But for Don, there would have never been cheetah, black-faced impala and black rhino initiatives. His meeting launched those ships for sail. When we established the import of black rhino from Namibia last year, Don wrote me, “Congratulations, well done.” This June he wrote, “John and Chrissie, your contributions to conservation and hunting are boundless! I’m proud to have been part of the Conservation Force team.” Well, he should have been “proud,” he set the ship a-sail. He was our mentor.
 

            He was a proud member of Shikar and Safari Club International where he served as Director at Large for a period. Many knew him as the owner-operator of the African Railwoods Collection sold at African Odyssey Galleries at six locations across the United States – properly Furniture Out of Africa, Inc. in the United States and Railwoods Furniture Ltd. in RSA.
 

            We spent a few days with Don last November (2013) in South Africa and an afternoon in his home. This icon of hunting and conservation talked of the book he was writing, Win the Wild, a fictional novel that ingeniously explains the birth and growth of the game ranching industry in South Africa from its inception, and how wildlife became more valuable and displaced cattle and livestock. Don was one of the pioneers of the industry. In fact, his college thesis at St. John’s College in Johannesburg had been Wildlife – a crop off the land. In Don’s own words to me, “it involves all the issues that we deal with constantly,” which makes it very relevant today. The Introduction by Ian Player is a value in itself. The ranching restoration of wildlife in wildlife-denuded South Africa was the theme of his life captured in his college thesis and in his 2014 novel about the re-wilding of South Africa. He knew first-hand the force of hunting and talked the talk like few others. For more on the novel, see the August 2014 issue of the World Conservation Force Bulletin. Don offered that the book be sold in the United States “to benefit the coffers of our organization,” (emphasis added) and “all admin, distribution, shipping and ground-work would be taken care of.” He died before it could be done.