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Monday, July 12, 2010

R.I.P. Ymke Warren 1970-2010


The conservation world was shaken this week by news of the untimely death of Dr Ymke Warren. Ymke was working in Cameroon for the Wildlife Conservation Society, whose Executive Director, Africa Program, James Deutsch, sent this notice to colleagues on 2nd July:

“It is with immense sadness that I write to inform you of Ymke Warren’s death three days ago. Ymke has worked with WCS in Western Cameroon for the past five years coordinating Cross River Gorilla research and monitoring. She was deeply committed to primate conservation and her work greatly strengthened our program and brightened the future for this critically endangered subspecies. Ymke was the partner of Aaron Nicholas, our Takamanda-Mone Project Director, and all of our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron and with Ymke’s family in the UK. She was killed at home in Limbe, in a senseless act of violence, and we will of course assist the Cameroon authorities in their investigations.”

Ymke was a warm and wonderful, energetic and determined person with a passion for life in general and gorillas in particular. I first met her when she was a student volunteering at the Gorilla Organisation office in London. She set her sights on becoming a primatologist and conservation biologist and succeeded, gaining an MSc for her work on Mountain Gorillas and a PhD for her research into olive baboon ecology in Nigeria and later working on black mongoose in Namibia. For the past five years she has dedicated her career to work on Cross River Gorillas. It seems inconceivable to be writing an obituary for someone so full of life. As Ymke’s family and friends come to terms with their tragic loss, we thought those of you who knew her would like to share your thoughts, memories and photographs by up-loading them here.

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