Saturday, May 15, 2010
I first met Devra in 1997 at my first meeting of the International Committee for the Conservation and Management of the Lion Tamarins in Brazil. I had just taken on the international studbook for the Golden-headed Lion Tamarin. Being still very green in the world of conservation, I remember well during that first meeting being in complete awe of the sheer force of nature that was Devra. Her tremendous energy, drive and dedication, combined with great skill and insight into both the theory and practice of conservation biology, and with much warmth and understanding for the people involved, were awe inspiring.
I had the privilege to get know Devra better over the years as we met at least once per year in Brazil. What I will always remember about Devra is that she never did anything in halves, whatever she did, she gave it 200%: laugh, eat sushi, generate urgent pragmatic conservation action without cutting corners on the science, show true interest in what went on in the personal lives of friends and colleagues, get a room of people to cut to the chase and formulate a conclusion after hours of discussion, meaningfully socialize with absolutely everybody in any room in any place on the planet, and much more. I will dearly miss Devra, not only as a conservation professional that we can only aspire too, but also as a truly, one of a kind, gem of a person. My warmest thoughts go out to Devra’s family and friends for who this loss must run so deep. I hope that in time you can find some comfort in the knowledge that Devra lives on in the lives of the hundreds of people that she touched personally and professionally.