Nick Carter's death on March 16th in Zambia marked the loss of a dedicated and passionate conservationist. His work took him all over the world from London's emergency animal clinics in the 1950s to the Far East and Africa to investigate wildlife smuggling and illegal whaling. His painstaking investigations to expose pirate whaling operations gained him recognition in the 1970s and led to the seizure in South Africa of two whaling ships before their maiden voyages. Countless endangered whales were saved.
In 1994, Nick was a recipient of AWI's Clark R. Bavin Wildlife Law Enforcement Award for his last project, the Lusaka Agreement, a unique African initiative establishing a multinational Task Force to fight cross-border wildlife crime. Working quietly behind the scenes he shepherded the idea from paper to reality over 8 years, winning the Goldman Environmental Award in 1997. Instead of keeping the $75,000 prize, he gave it away, helping to establish a Fighting Wildlife Crime Fund. This was typical of Nick. He died owning nothing of value but his books. His personal needs came last. Work was his life. His wisdom, strength of purpose and clear sense of right inspired many. His death leaves a vacuum, but the legacy of his work and the motivation he inspired in others will ensure his spirit lives on.
I want to add a note about one of Nick's brilliant ideas: He took a small ad in a journal for maritime engineers asking readers to communicate with him about any information they might have on pirate whalers. Wonderfully, he received a message from the engineer employed by a pirate whaler. The engineer bravely videotaped the piracy, including an endangered humpback whale being dragged up the slipway, butchered, and boxed for the Japanese market. The tape was shown widely on European television to great effect.