It pains us to write this, but Professor Phil Bishop, our beloved ASG Co-chair, leader, friend and ASG family member, took his last breath last Saturday 23 January, New Zealand time.
Phil had been appointed to the role of Head of the Zoology Department at the University of Otago starting this month, and because of this he would be stepping down from his role with ASG December 2020. We had no idea that he would be diagnosed with a very aggressive and inoperable brain tumour in late December. Phil died peacefully, surrounded by his amazing, devoted wife Debbie, and their two sons. Our broken hearts are with those of Phil’s beautiful family.
To say that we are devastated would be an understatement. Phil has been foundational to the development of the ASG and to the broader field of amphibian conservation. He was the living incarnation of selflessness and generosity, always willing to help and support anyone even if he himself was up to his eyeballs in work. And all done with his characteristic brilliance and a healthy dose of his distinctive Phil-esque sense of humour, we may add. The number of people that Phil touched and influenced became apparent over the last few weeks, with an outpouring of messages of grief and love from literally every corner of the world. One of the most prominent advocates for amphibians, with an unparalleled commitment and passion for the cause, Phil has left a unique and indelible mark in the field of amphibian conservation and in the lives of those who were fortunate enough to meet him.
A few days ago we wrote a little note about Phil and published it here. We did so then because it was important for us that Phil knew how much he was loved.
There is a tribute page that has been set up for Phil here. You can use this medium to write a message if you’d like.
Phil lived his life with intense purpose. As amphibian conservationists and as human beings we have our work cut out for ourselves to continue the work and legacy of the extraordinary human being that Phil was. Thank you, Phil, for showing us, by example, how to be better people.
There is a hole in our hearts. It is in the shape of Phil.
The ASG Secretariat