Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Peter Pugh

Thinking about Jim, and also about other friends who have died, I am reminded of my dear friend Peter Pugh.

Peter and I met in 1978/9 at what was the Commonwealth Forestry Bureau in Oxford, where we both worked as abstractors for the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux. Peter was a zoologist, specialising in birds, in particular pink pigeons. He had worked in a private zoo in New York and travelled widely, so I'm not sure how he ended up in forestry. We shared a love of films - and cider - and used to frequent the Penultimate Picture Palace and other cinemas in Oxford. He lived with another colleague, Anne, and her fiance, in Horton-cum-Studley, not far from Oxford. When I left Oxford, we kept in touch - this photograph (a pretty poor one) was taken in Preston, and we also met up in London and in Jersey, where Peter was working for the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. A few years ago, I contacted the JWPT to try to track down Peter but was gently told that he had drowned in a swimming accident in Belize. I believe there is an aviary at the Trust named after him. Such a tragic accident, made even more so by the fact that his brother, too, had drowned, some years before. I know nothing more of his life since we met in London - the internet only revealed a paper written by him, now out of print: Peter B. Pugh - Advances in hand-rearing techniques for thick-billed parrot at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, in International Zoo News for 1983. We helped to feed those lovely parrots - they were called A and B and had learnt to turn up the thermostats in their cages.

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