Otago Daily Times
Frog scientist named as ‘Wild Hero’
THE survival of the Earth depends on people like the late Prof Phil Bishop.
The Wild Dunedin Festival opened at Otago Museum on Earth Day last night and the celebrated University of Otago frog researcher, conservationist and science communicator was posthumously awarded Wild Dunedin’s Wild Hero for 2021.
Prof Bishop, a founding member of the festival, died in January after a short illness.
‘‘Fact: The survival of the earth depends on frogs,’’ he often said.
But last night he was remembered not only for his work as an environmentalist, but also his humour and humanity.
His sons Adam and Luke and wife Debbie accepted the award in front of about 100 people at the Hutton Theatre.
‘‘He would have told you how much he loved Wild Dunedin and what a uniquely special wildlife capital we live in,’’ Mrs Bishop said.
Wild Dunedin festival committee member Neil Harraway said Prof Bishop discovered and named a species of frog during field work in South Africa, he won the inaugural national conservationist of the year award from Auckland Zoo, and during lockdown last year he hosted a regular ‘‘Zoom a zoologist’’ session for primary pupils at Anderson’s Bay School.
To end the night, Wild Dunedin festival guests Suzy Cato and Anna van Riel performed Rainbow Connection, the song made famous in 1979 by Jim Henson, who sang it as Kermit the Frog.