A LEGEND IS GONE!
The wild sheep community lost one of its giants yesterday with the passing of Dr. Valerius Geist of Vancouver Island at age 83. Val was one of the world's foremost authorities on the biology and behavior of North American large mammals, most notably mountain sheep. Val's doctoral thesis (Univ. of British Columbia) was entitled On the Behaviour and Evolution of American Mountain Sheep.
Val was best known for his writings on mountain sheep, but he authored many books, manuscripts, journal articles, and popular-format articles on various large mammals, including wolves.
From 1977, Val taught and held Emeritus Status at the University of Calgary. He was a founding member and the first Program Director of Environmental Science in the Faculty of Environmental Design. No doubt, hundreds of wildlife managers and thousands of readers enjoyed and learned from Val's prolific writings.
His in-depth understanding of the history of wildlife conservation, both internationally and in North America, led him to identify the seven guiding principles used in North America to save wildlife, especially game species, from the brink of extinction. He then coined the term, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The North American Model is now widely accepted as the most successful human-wildlife relationship devised by man.
In his later years, Dr. Geist didn't travel far from his Vancouver Island home. Still, he delivered the keynote address at the 7th World Mountain Ungulate Conference in 2019, hosted in Bozeman, MT, by WSF and the Safari Club International Foundation.
Val was an avid hunter and outdoorsman and a strong supporter of a Fair Chase hunting ethic. He will be missed by those that loved him and those that learned from him.
Rest in Peace, Val.