Philip Wayre

Philip Wayre (1926-2014) was interested in wildlife from a boy when he would study rats under the joists at his prep school to watching and photographing the geese on the mudflats of East Anglia as soon as he was old enough to drive.

After service in the Royal Navy in the Second World War he settled in Norfolk to try his hand at farming, something he admitted he was never good at. His passion for wildlife remained. In the late 1950’s he had a slot on Anglia Television showing animals he kept and tamed at his home. This led to Philip making programmes about natural history including many for the Survival series on Anglia Television.

His collection of animals grew and in 1961 he turned his farm into the Norfolk Wildlife Park, the first of its kind in Britain. He became well known for his breeding successes of endangered species which he released back to their countries of origin. Concerned at the decline of the otter he co-founded the Otter Trust in 1971, a charity which pioneered the captive breeding of otters for release into the wild and has been credited with saving the otter from extinction in much of England.

Philip was a self-trained photographer and film-maker making natural history films and documentaries. He wrote several books and served on numerous conservation bodies. He was appointed MBE in 1994 for his conservation work. Saving endangered species continued to be his passion and during frequent visits to the North Pennines he fell in love with the wild and isolated heather-clad uplands and determined to protect and preserve the precious but declining upland wildlife and habitat. This together with his wish for others to enjoy, learn and understand the amazing variety of wildlife found on the upland Pennines led to the founding of the Philip Wayre Wildlife Trust in 1994.