Field Marshal Sir John Lyon Chapple, GCB, CBE, who died on 25 March 2022 is remembered for his crucial contribution and personal commitment to ZSL and to the conservation world.
Sir John had a long and illustrious association with ZSL which began when he was accepted as a Fellow in 1946 aged just 15, before going on to serve as our President between 1992 and 1994 – during which time he took a lead role garnering vital financial support.
His tireless efforts, dedication to ZSL and his ability to mobilise resources played a key role in securing the future of London Zoo in the early 1990s. With a strong focus on staff morale and loyalty he worked hard to unite them behind his vision for the future – he was proud that even in uncertain times, not one member of staff left ZSL. His own commitment even extended to sleeping on the floor of an office at the Zoo for over two months.
Sir John was also a longstanding champion and supporter of conservation, most notably in Nepal. A keen birder, he had a deep commitment to safeguarding the fauna and flora of the area. He raised money to create veterinary centres in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park nearly 30 years ago in a bid to halt transfer of zoonotic disease between wildlife and livestock – one of the earliest wildlife health initiatives in the region. These clinics proved to be a model of the One Health concept and ensured ZSL was recognised as a key player in the wildlife health and conservation field in Nepal, paving the way for us to establish ZSL’s Nepal office in 2013.
Sir John continued to support ZSL with regular donations and sharing valuable contacts. He wrote to offer emotional support and solidarity to our senior leadership team during the height of the pandemic.
Our deepest sympathies are with Sir John’s family. He will be warmly remembered by all of us at ZSL, with the Honorary Fellowship he accepted in October last year serving as a lasting recognition of his contribution to conservation and science.
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