By Jana-Mari Smith
Hailed as a pioneer in Namibia’s conservation field, Ben Beytell (61), former Director of Parks and Wildlife Services at Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, passed away this morning. (20 September 2012)
It is reported that Ben passed away as a result of complications from surgery.
Already his death has caused a stir and messages reflecting the sadness and the loss of his passing are making the rounds in Namibia and across the world.
These are some quotes posted on social media shortly after news reached his friends, former colleagues and admirers:
Rest in Peace Ben. It is because you gave everything for your work that it took you too soon after retirement.
No words….thank u oom Ben for your advice, guidance and role in my career.
RIP Ben Beytell. Condolences to Oom Ben’s Family. We will miss him! Wish he had enjoyed more of his retirement years
He was a popular and helpful figure not just amongst conservationists but also in the tourism industry. He retired from his position in 2011.
Last year, Ben retired from the Ministry after 35 years of service in the conservation sector. At his retirement, it was clear that his work over the years had solidly cemented his reputation as one of Namibia’s most hardworking and dedicated conservationists.
At the farewell dinner to toast his future as a retiree, Ben said that his retirement did not mean his love for the environment would sizzle out.
“I will still often go out into the bush, because that is my life. I will stay interested in conservation,” he promised.
At the dinner, Minsiter of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah hailed Ben’s achievements and said his departure was a great loss to Namibia’s environment and tourism sector. “We will miss you, we thank you …”, she said.
Words that ring true on this day too.