Dr. Hugh Lamprey

Born 2 August 1928

Dies 10 February 1996

Name ID 324

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 1
Extract Date: 1928-1996


The moment Hugh Lamprey, who died in February at the age of 67, set foot in Africa, that continent was to be his life. He had already travelled to Iceland, the Himalayas, and the Canary Islands on student expeditions, had served in Palestine and Egypt as a tank officer (tanks being 'great' for watching birds), but that first job as biologist with Tanganyika's game department settled the matter. From then on, save for returning to Oxford for a D Phil and to Devon to retire, Africa - especially East Africa - gave him home and happiness.

As an Oxford undergraduate he had seemed (to this contemporary) to be one more bright-eyed, diligent, and unexciting student, most notable for his quaint walk and deep voice. But Africa, though it did nothing for the walk or the voice, built Hugh Lamprey.

Extract ID: 445

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Miriam Watters (Pope)
Page Number: 2004 05 29
Extract Date: 1953-61

Miriam Pope - Arusha School 1959-1961

G'day David!

Congratulations on your website - it is a fascinating and a great browse!

My names is Miriam Watters nee Pope. I now live in Brisbane, Australia but I lived East Africa from 1953 until 1961. - spending 3 years in Arusha from 1959 to 1961 (aged 8 to 11). Your website was a trip down memory lane especially with the photo of staff and students in front of Arusha School. I wonder if my face is amongst the students - I was there about the time it was taken!

Mr. Hamshere was a wonderful headmaster and I remember my favourite teacher was Janet Jewell and of course who could forget "BL Jones!

In my autograph book I also have the names of other teachers - H. Tofte, Margaret Crow and V. Gormley. Rev. Bryn Jones was a good friend to my parents Jean and Frank Pope.

Dad was Mechanical Supervisor for PWD. We have happy memories of "Hatari" being made and the excitement of John Wayne and his fellow stars coming to town. I actually met John Wayne, Valentine DeVargis, Red Buttons and Howard Hawks in the Safari Hotel where they were enjoying a beer!

Dad went on safari with our neighbour Hugh Lamprey to catch the rhino for the film and Mum was an extra, chosen through her involvement with the Little Theatre. She acted in many fine plays along with Paddy Purchase .

I read with interest, Michele Calorio's letter on your website. I would love to contact her as I have a photo taken at a children's birthday party held by Mrs Calorio and from memory it was for her daughter Luisa Calorio.

I would be happy for you to include my name on your website and pass my email on to Michele.

Our neighbours in Springvale Road were Dr. and Mrs Carloni and children Nicoletta and Roger. I keep in contact with David "Titch" North-Lewis (now in UK), Melody, Rosemary (both UK) and Nigel Purchase (Kenya) and Joy Thomson (New Zealand).

Joy's father was Rev. Thomson from the Anglican Church. Other names I remember from my class are: Susan Totman, Yvonne Zikarkis, Jane Atlee, Peter Owen-Pawson and Peter French. My younger sister Vanessa was best friends with Elizabeth Cashin. My brother Alan was in the junior school. I also went to Sunday school at the Anglican Church - which has been beautifully kept and looks as good as when we attended church there.

I returned to Arusha in 2002 with my special friend Janet McGavin (who now lives in the UK) who also attended Arusha School. We first met as toddlers in Tabora and we have been close friends since then. One of the current teachers at Arusha School, Shaibu Pelle, showed us around the school. It was a very emotional visit - especially seeing the old tortoise again!

Before moving to Arusha my family lived in Dar-es-salaam where I went to St. Joseph's School for 6 months (in 1956) then we moved to Lindi until 1958. We left Tanzania just after Uhuru, in November 1961, and migrated to Australia in 1962.

By sheer chance I met Colin Swynnerton here in Brisbane - we realised we must have been in the same class as he was also a student at Arusha School and remembered the same class mates names.

I'll get in touch again if my memory comes up with any other names!

Kind regards,

Miriam Watters (Pope)

Extract ID: 4854

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Extract Author: Cyril Connolly
Page Number: 122

Dr Hugh Lamprey

'Dr Hugh Lamprey, Director of Research, was also on that visit as a man who is almost: "too large to be true - a handsome giant whose bell-like voice would steal any picture from Gary Cooper or boom through an Aldous Huxley novel: he is an Oxford biologist and complete man of action combined. He is to fly me over the game Migration tomorrow if Everest or F6 can spare him."

Cyril Connolly in:

Extract ID: 447

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 133
Extract Date: 1960's

Hugh Lamprey finds Sandy Field curled up in the grass

On a lighter note, Hugh Lamprey was motoring near Seronera airfield one evening when he suddenly saw a strange green shape in the grass. A solitary hyena was circling it with interest at about forty yards range. Hugh drove over to investigate, and was astonished to find Sandy Field, the Chief Park Warden, lying curled up in the grass, clutching a large club and making gurgling noises. On hearing the car, Sandy hastily got to his feet and explained with some embarrassment that he had been carrying out an experiment. He had decided to lie down in the grass and moan like a man suffering a heart attack to see how close the hyena would approach. The strange shape seen by Hugh had been Sandy's trousers in the grass. Sandy's experiment was ruined, and he, Hugh and the hyena went their separate ways.

Extract ID: 448

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 4
Extract Date: 1961

Arusha Conference

This was most noticeable at the famous Arusha Conference of 1961. All manner of distinguished conservationists were at this northern Tanganyikan town, wringing their hands at the presumed fate of Africa's wildlife when the Africans of Africa gained their independence. (Somehow forgetting that the huge herds which so impressed the early European arrivals had been living in partnership with Africans for centuries.)

Hugh acted as tour leader when the Arusha delegates visited Manyara, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti for, as it were, a final look at the animal treasure house about to be dismembered. At one point, they stood around a dead rhino which had been speared by Maasai. The gloom was considerable but Hugh was enthused. He was eager for the future, knowing that the past - with Africans resentful that their big game had become big business for foreigners - had been none too perfect.

Extract ID: 449

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 5
Extract Date: 1961

College of African Wildlife Management at Mweka

Putting his enthusiasm into action, he became the first principal of the College of African Wildlife Management at Mweka, Tanzania, [which WWF has supported since 1963]. In the next 30 years this institute was to train 2,500 game wardens from 25 nations.

Extract ID: 450

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 128
Extract Date: 1962

At Manyara

The food break was to last half an hour. At the beginning of it a light plane appeared from the north, circled our camp, and then landed between us and the browsing giraffes. Hugh Lamprey and John Newbould stepped out, one a biologist, the other a botanist, and both acquaintances from the past. They had seen the balloon when some 25 miles away during a flight from Arusha to Ngorongoro. They said it was like an orange in a pygmy land, and they had come for a closer look. They accepted beer, and we all sat around gazing at that bright and globular thing.

Extract ID: 3742

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 200a
Extract Date: 1962

Flight to Nairobi

That evening I met Hugh Lamprey again, game biologist, fellow Oxford zoology student, and pilot. He was flying a light aircraft to Nairobi the following morning, and I gladly accepted a lift. The trip began early, and the air was still calm when we took off from the Arusha strip. Flying again in this kind of machine was a strange experience. I had forgotten quite how deafening flight could be. I leant forward from the back seat whenever wishing to hear Hugh speak, and then shouted in return. Very soon we lapsed into the mime and dumb-show that is almost as effective, and less painful to the epiglottis, I was also intrigued by the savage buffeting, even at that hour of the day, as the propeller carved its way through the air. It was a very crude business, relative to the balloon. It was like square wheels as opposed to round ones. The machine was not part of the atmosphere, as we had been. It merely exploited it.

For the first part of the flight, and at the maximum angle, Hugh steered for the low-lying foot-hills to the west of Mount Meru, and thereby skirted the mountain. The machine was a perfectly competent type, but its rate of climb was pathetic beside that of a balloon. Steadily, and noisily, we were achieving two or three hundred feet a minute. Back over the Ngorongoro, even though I had been fighting against it, we had leapt up 3,000 feet in a single minute, and would probably have accelerated still more had I not been releasing gas as fast as I had dared. I think that a balloon could have competed favourably, over a limited course, with the fastest jet fighters of a few years ago in a straight struggle for the greatest number of feet climbed in any given minute from level flight.

Once over the saddle of foot-hills we dropped down, and then flew at 1,000 feet over much of the so-called marginal land lying in that area to the south-east of Nairobi. It was well populated with giraffe, and the long-necked antelope or gerenuk also live there. These animals live in many parts, and in regions where the countryside is much less barren; but when they and giraffe are the dominant species it is a depressing state of affairs. It is nice enough seeing them, but they both�together with the minute dik-dik�have an ability to survive in exceptionally arid bush conditions. Where they alone exist in reasonable numbers, the area is called marginal. It is a borderland between the support of life, and the lack of it. It is the half-way stage between desert and fertility.

We plopped down at Wilson Airport, Nairobi, narrowly missing a blundering kite when doing so, and then went our ways. We were to meet the next day to fly back to the crater.

Extract ID: 3769

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 202
Extract Date: 1962

Nairobi to Ngorongoro

Hugh and I took off at 1 p.m. on the following day, and flew first over that Athi area. It was generally flat, but frequently there came deeply eroded gullies, exciting to look at, but depressing in their destruction. There was such a tenuous relationship between man, the animals and the rest of nature when nineteenth and twentieth-century man moved in to the area that disruption of the old order was inevitable. The great scars beneath us were the wounds of over-grazing. The red rivers were flowing with soil, and making this particular circle as vicious as any other.

Beyond the plains was the Rift Valley. There is nothing else like it on the surface of the Earth, but this section near Nairobi was different to the Manyara bit now indelibly engraved on at least three minds. Instead of one big cliff wall, there were many cliffs, each perpendicular, and each dropping the level of the land down another couple of hundred feet. Down in the bottom there was Lake Magadi, and then Lake Natron. Both are soda lakes, with the Magadi one being exploited. A special railway carries the soda away, and has a difficult time among those cliffs. No child ever takes his model railway up the stairs, but the Magadi track does just that, and must cover ten times the distance, from beginning to end, that actually separates the two points. It cannot emulate the crow, as we did, and as we began the long climb towards the Crater Highlands.

It was a most fantastic journey, for after the geological contortions of the Rift Valley, there came the 9443 feet peak of L'Engai, the area's active volcano. We edged noisily by its silent summit. The top looked something like the old glass type of orange squeezer, with a smaller pointed cone coming from the middle. Its sloping sides are as steep as its rocky lava will allow, and the way up is difficult. The mountain can be climbed but, like Mount Kilimanjaro which is not so far away, any climber has to take advantage of the chilliest hours when the loose and difficult scree is held together by frost. I think it important to see active volcanoes from time to time. They are most blatant reminders that we live our days on the thin crust of a planet which has by no means settled down from its fiery birth.

Shortly after nudging past L'Engai's cone, the Mountain of God according to the Masai, we were over the wide sweeps of the Crater Highlands. These link together several dead volcanoes, with Ngorongoro being one of them. Embagai is another, perhaps the most beautiful for it is well proportioned, with its woody sides leading down to a deep and permanent lake. And then we were over the final wall, and swooping about above Ngorongoro. We could see no sign of the others and, after buzzing the empty camp beneath the tree, landed near by. The animals had scattered on our first pass over the chosen area, and did not run in the way of the final touch down.

Hugh switched off the engine, and we climbed out into that remarkable place. I do not think one could ever cease to be amazed at it, but arriving in one hour and thirty minutes from Nairobi heightens its qualities most dramatically. Animals are all around, and beyond are the dots of countless more, and beyond them are those towering walls. At no time of the day does the crater look the same as at any other moment. Huge shadows retreat as the day advances, and then slink down again when the sun loses its power. It has all the symmetry of a perfect shape, and all the wonder of an untouched world. Like a ruin it combines the merits of having been created, and then having reverted to something finer still. It is a place of fabulous beauty.

Extract ID: 3770

See also

Smith, Anthony Throw out two hands
Page Number: 203
Extract Date: 1962

Tanganyika jack

After a while Alan turned up having been given a, lift in a passing Land-Rover because his own had become partially engulfed in the mud over by the landmark known as Fig tree Kopje. Hugh took off, circled like any pelican to gain height, and then disappeared over the crater wall while we collected the Gipsy from camp. Afterwards, in the most magnificent brown light of the evening, Alan and I drove out to the beleaguered vehicle.

On the way, apart from the normal hazards of driving through the place, we had been delayed by a family of lions. A scraggy old male looks scarcely more interesting than a scraggy old animal of any species, but a lioness in good condition is a seemingly perfect piece of creation. As she walks about, being nudged by some cub, being moved by an unknown impulse just to get up and plump down five yards away, her muscles work with exquisite finesse. As a piece of engineering, and of colouring, and of grace, a lioness can scarcely be matched. Perhaps her rhythm and power tend to be high-lighted by the fact that, in almost any group of lions, one or two of them are not in such excellent condition. In a system of predators and prey, particularly when the carnivores exist communally, it is possible for some of them to survive in a weakened state for far longer than the prey on which they feed. A visibly sick wildebeest or gazelle has only a few more hours to live, unless some remarkable recovery is effected rapidly. An aged lion can survive for years provided he is with a community prepared to kill for him.

It took quite a time to extract the truck. On arriving there I had removed my Nairobi-polished shoes, and my new socks, but my Nairobi-pressed trousers had to suffer as I stepped out into a foot and a half of water. It seemed difficult adjusting the two lives. Despite the fact that we had two winches, and one unstuck truck, all of us splashed around for a couple of hours before the mud gave way. A vital bit of equipment on these occasions is the Tanganyika jack. This is no ordinary jack, as its name implies, but a barely liftable contraption of wood and iron that has only one role to play. Under almost any conditions, provided it has another block of wood to stand on, it can lift any bit of a truck. Its hook is strong, and the method is to lift up each wheel in turn. In the cavity these wheels have dug for themselves almost anything other than mud should be interred, and they will then have something on which to grip, even momentarily. Without the invention of the Tanganyika jack the number of man-hours stuck in the mud would increase immeasurably. Without ours on that occasion we would have been sucked dry by insects. I have never known the air so thick with six-legged forms as it was at dusk that day. They flew everywhere, into mouths and into eyes, and those with a suitable proboscis drank well. Fortunately they were a local manifestation. On driving back towards camp we left them behind.

Extract ID: 3771

See also

Huxley, Elspeth Wildlife becomes big business
Extract Date: 1963

Mweka College

It [the Government] has also helped to set up near Moshi, a centre where game wardens and rangers from all over East Africa, and, perhaps from further afield as well, are to be trained in the new science of wildlife management. This will open next month at Mweka, under Dr. Hugh Lamprey. Most of its money is coming from the United States Government through the Agency for International Development and from the American Wildlife Leadership Foundation, and with some German and British support.

A two year course is planned for Africans who will replace Europeans in parks and game reserves under the programme of Africanisation which is sweeping over eastern Africa. All those connected with this College of Wildlife Management, as it is called, seem encouraged by the calibre and enthusiasm of the candidates coming forward for training.

Extract ID: 451

See also

1964 Publishes: Lamprey, H.F. Estimation of Large Mammal Densities, biomass and energy exchange in the Tarangire Game Reserve and the Masai Steppe in Tanganyika

Extract ID: 452

See also

Lindblad, Lisa and Sven-Olof The Serengeti; Land of Endless Space
Extract Date: 1966

under the leadership of its first scientific director

under the leadership of its first scientific director, Dr. Hugh Lamprey, the institute hummed with the comings and goings of a large group of scientists from the United States and Europe.

Extract ID: 455

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 097
Extract Date: 1966

Serengeti Research Institute established

Serengeti Research Institute established with Dr. Hugh Lamprey as its first Director

Extract ID: 454

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 6
Extract Date: 1966

Serengeti Research Institute

In 1966, Hugh left to become director of the famous Serengeti Research Institute, where many world-famous behaviourists and ecologists worked.

They were a skilled and demanding group who needed careful handling. Tanzania's government has, alas, not been as wise as Hugh had originally expected, and the SRI has suffered accordingly, causing him disappointment rather than anger -as was his way.

Extract ID: 453

See also

1967 Publishes: Lamprey, Hugh and Turner, Myles Invasion of the Serengeti National Park by Elephants

Extract ID: 4421

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants

discussion with my official supervisor Hugh Lamprey

If I [Iain Douglas-Hamilton] ever needed advice on my work I could now have stimulating discussion with my official supervisor Hugh Lamprey and the other scientists who lived at Seronera, 130 miles away by road. Hugh, a pioneer in the study of big game ecology, was director of the Serengeti Research Institute which had succeeded the Serengeti Research Project. He was happy to return to research after heading the Mweka College of Wildlife Management for training young Africans to become Park Game Wardens.

Extract ID: 456

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 148
Extract Date: 1968 May 12

Hugh Lamprey takes off

On 12th May 1968, Hugh Lamprey, Director of the Serengeti Research Institute, was taking off in his glider from Seronera airfield when he saw a leopard come charging out of the long grass after the two cable which was rushing along the ground, towed by an ancient Humber car, some 700 feet ahead of the glider. From the cockpit, Hugh watched the leopard put both paws around the cable and then hang on like grim death as it was dragged along the ground. Hugh wondered whether to abort the take-off, but lifted off anyhow. The leopard, by this time astride the cable, was lifted ten feet into the air before falling back and bounding into cover.

Extract ID: 457

See also

Turner, Myles My Serengeti Years
Page Number: 077
Extract Date: 1969

Hugh Lamprey hits two vultures in a week

In 1969 Hugh Lamprey hit two vultures in a week while carrying out game counts in the Northern Extension.

Extract ID: 458

See also

Matthiessen, Peter The Tree Where Man Was Born
Page Number: 161
Extract Date: 1972

Flying with Douglas-Hamilton

I flew back to Tanzania with Douglas-Hamilton, who had brought his new plane to the elephant conference. Iain's plane is twenty years old, and looks it, but it 'came with all sorts of spare parts - ailerons and wings and things. I shan't be able to use them, I suppose, unless I crump it'. We took off from Voi at a very steep angle- a stalling angle, I was told later by Hugh Lamprey, a veteran flyer who once landed his plane on the stony saddle, fifteen thousand feet up, between the peaks of Kilimanjaro.

Extract ID: 199

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants
Extract Date: 1970

Elephant Conference

[Iain Douglas-Hamilton] presents thesis at 'Elephant Conference' in Ndala.

John Owen, flew in;

Desmond Vesey-Fitzgerald, by Land-rover from Arusha;

Harvey Croze, and Nani came in a Combie;

Mike Norton Griffiths, and Annie, senior ecologist of the Serengeti;

Dennis Herlocker, an American in charge of forestry in the Serengeti;

David Western, from Amboseli, studying the ecology of the Maasai and wildlife drove in from Kenya;

Hugh Lamprey, Director Serengeti Research Institute flew his glider from the Serengeti

Extract ID: 200

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Among the Elephants

Hugh Lamprey

was writing up his work and had booked the house [at Manyara] some time ago for this purposes.

Extract ID: 459

See also

Fletcher, Colin The Winds of Mara
Page Number: 157
Extract Date: 1972

at the Serengeti Research Institute

...... the Serengeti Research Institute, the direct descendent of the Grzimek's pioneering effort, is one of the biggest and best known organisations coordinating the work of such researchers.

I arrived at Seronera in midafternoon, and next morning I saw Dr. Hugh Lamprey, director of the Institute. He could not, he said, speak for individual researchers - they worked independently and each would have to answer for himself - but he wouldcertainly do all he could to help.

.... We discussed grass management by deliberate burning. The value of burning, said Lamprey, was still an open question. New grass, which on the savanna sprouted within twentyfour or thirtysix hours of a rain shower, came up far stronger on burned land. Burning also kept gall acacia and other bush under control. But if done too often it impoverished the soil. Most people seemed to accept that. They did not agree on much else.

Lamprey smiled. "We held a grass management conference here just the other day. Experst from all over the world. But we couldn't get even two of them to agree on the best burning practices. The trouble is, nobody really knows." Burning, said Lamprey, was just the question the Institute had to tackle: its job was to pin down at least some of the basic facts..

Extract ID: 3573

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 202f
Extract Date: 1972

Dr. Tumaina Mcharo

In the Research Institute, [Hugh Lampey] was replaced by Dr. Tumaina Mcharo, a Tanzanian

Extract ID: 602

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 7

the second half of his working life

For the second half of his working life Hugh was based in Nairobi.

He was WWF's first regional representative for Eastern Africa from 1985 to 1990. He also worked for IUCN-The World Conservation Union, UNESCO, and UNEP. For his commitment to the environment, he was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark in 1987 as well as the OBE in 1990.

Extract ID: 461

See also

Forse, B. The myth of the marching desert

The UN's figure for the southward march of the Sahara

The UN's figure for the southward march of the Sahara comes from an investigation conducted in 1975 by Hugh Lamprey, an ecologist who is now director of the Worldwide Fund for Nature in East Africa. He said: 'The desert's boundary had shifted south by 90 to 100 kilometres between 1958 and 1975.'

In a paper published last November, two geographers from University College, London, Clive Agnew and Andrew Warren, dispute this claim. The estimate of the position of the edge of the desert in 1958 they say, was based on very limited data from weather stations. Moreover, in 1975, there was a drought. Lamprey failed to distinguish between the temporary effects of the drought on the boundaries of the desert and any permanent 'desertification', they say.

Extract ID: 462

See also

1978 Publishes: Lamprey, H.F. The Serengeti Region: a semi-arid grassland ecosystem in Africa

Extract ID: 463

See also

Douglas-Hamilton, Iain and Oria Battle for the Elephants

Hugh Lamprey, WWF Nairobi

'My old friend Hugh Lamprey was in charge of the WWF office in Nairobi, and together we moved into high gear to save the elephants in Kenya and Tanzania.'

Extract ID: 466

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 8
Extract Date: 1989


Hugh officially retired in 1989, but at the slightest excuse would be back in his beloved continent without a moments hesitation

Extract ID: 465

See also

Smith, Anthony Made in Africa
Page Number: 2

Lamprey anecdotes

East Africa is rich with Lamprey anecdotes: such as the time he landed his Piper Club aeroplane on the Kilimanjaro 'saddle' between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. For take-off at this altitude of 16,000 feet, a group of Mweka students were asked to hold the tail for as long as possible - and did so too effectively, causing the propeller to hit the ground. Lamprey bashed the damaged blades back into shape with rocks, altered the instructions to the ground-crew, and was soon flying back to base.

On another occasion, when landing near Lake Victoria, he heard popping but did not realise trigger-happy frontier guards were shooting his way. A truckful of militia quickly surrounded him, asked for identification, received it correctly, and were then told how best to shoot down aircraft.

Extract ID: 444