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Peter Scott

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Statue of Sir Peter Scott at the WWT London Wetlands Centre

Sir Peter Markham Scott (September 14, 1909 - August 29, 1989), ornithologist, conservationist and painter, was born in London, the only child of Antarctic explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott. He is a half-brother of Wayland Young (Lord Kennet). He was educated at Oundle School and Cambridge University, graduating from Trinity College in 1931. He inherited his artistic talent from his mother, Kathleen, and had his first exhibition in London in 1933. In 1936, he represented the United Kingdom at sailing in the Olympic Games.

During World War II, Scott served in the navy, emulating his father. He was in the "little ships" against German E-boats. He stood as a Conservative candidate unsuccessfully in the 1945 general election in Wembley, North. In 1948, he founded the organisation with which he was ever afterwards closely associated, the Severn Wildfowl Trust (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) with its headquarters at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. In the years that followed, he led several ornithological expeditions worldwide, and became a television personality, popularising the study of wildfowl and wetlands. He wrote and illustrated several books on the subject, including his autobiography, The Eye of the Wind (1961).

He married Elizabeth Jane Howard in 1942. A daughter, Nicola, was born a year later. They divorced in 1951.

Scott was also an accomplished sailor winning an Olympic Bronze medal for single-handed dinghy sailing and numerous other sailing chanpionships. He also skippered the 12 metre yacht Sovereign in 1964 challenge for the America's Cup which was held by USA. Sovereign suffered a whitewash 4-0 defeat in a very one-sided competition where the American boat was seen to be the faster design.

From 1973-1983 Sir Peter Scott was Chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

He also founded the World Wildlife Fund and designed its panda logo.

He is also remembered for giving the scientific name of Nessiteras rhombopteryx to the Loch Ness Monster so that it could be registered as an endangered species. The name, based on Greek, means "the wonder of Ness with the diamond shaped fin" but is also an anagram of "Monster hoax by Sir Peter S".

In June 2004, Scott and Sir David Attenborough were jointly profiled in the second of a three part BBC TWO series, The Way We Went Wild, about television wildlife presenters.

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