Tribute to Chris Baxter

News article |

Natural Resources Kangaroo Island wish to express their sincere and overwhelming sadness at the passing of Chris Baxter, one of nature’s true gentlemen.

Born on Kangaroo Island and living in the remote western end of the island no doubt fostered his love for the natural environment and intimate knowledge of the landscape, its history and ecology.

Chris made a huge contribution to National Parks with his career as a ranger spanned 30 years, working in several regions including SA Arid Lands, Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges and of course on Kangaroo Island, mostly at Flinders Chase National Park.

Chris loved Kangaroo Island and was a leader in conservation, with an incredible depth of knowledge of wildlife, particularly birds. His incredible skills of observation and attention to detail led to scientific research including breeding studies on hooded plovers and wetland birds.

While Chris was based in Port Augusta as a wildlife ranger with desert parks he developed a love of semi-arid and arid bird fauna.

His detailed understanding of birds on Kangaroo Island led to published works, most recently ‘Birds of Kangaroo Island’ in 2015. What an invaluable legacy for our community.

He was always open and willing to share his knowledge and no one ever felt inadequate when asking him questions. He encouraged and supported others and was a mentor to many, happy to pass on his valuable knowledge to anyone who asked. He also acknowledged the lifetime contribution to ornithology on Kangaroo Island by the late Allen Lashmar, who was his own mentor.

Chris fought strongly to protect the natural heritage of Kangaroo Island and was a passionate advocate for retaining our islands wild places. A truly rare person, Chris was and will always be a valued member of the Kangaroo Island community and National Parks SA.

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