In memoriam Gregory Leonard Gibbard “Gibby”
02-10-1953 – 07-04-2015
May Gibby rest in eternal peace and his spirit continue inspiring us to look after the Painted Dogs
Ron van der A, Chairman Stichting PDC, The Netherlands
“April will never be just another month of the year. It is still hard to believe that he isn’t among us anymore and that is hard, hard not only during his memorial day but every moment since that horrible day in April 2015.
Gibby has a dream, a dream of a better world for nature and particularly for the Painted Dogs. I speak in the simple present form because his dream stays alive thanks to a very dedicated team in the field. Every day that you join us helps to keep his dream alive, he is still among us.”
Peter Blinston, friend of Gibby, Managing Director PDC project
“Not a day goes by without us reflecting on Greg “Gibby” Gibbard’s selfless contribution towards Painted Dog Conservation and his generous spirit. It has been my privilege to know Gibby for more than 16 years. As a colleague and, above all, as a friend. He was someone I felt I could rely on, no matter what.
Gibby was someone who always gave his best and never one to complain. He was always willing to take on and learn new things that would help us move forward or cope with a particular situation, determined to not let us down. Of course he was known affectionately as “Grumpy Greg,” but those of us who had the privilege to work with him and get to know him knew that beneath that rough layer was one of the warmest, kindest, most generous people you could wish to meet. He loved the dogs and was truly committed to their conservation. He was posthumously granted the Disney Conservation Hero Award, which was such a proud moment for all of us at PDC. He found his place with us here in Hwange and we miss him very much.“
Marjolein Westerterp, Publisher “Oog voor Afrika” magazine
In February 2014 I was visiting the Painted Dog Conservation Centre, a stone’s throw from Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The invitation came from the Dutch Foundation Painted Dog Conservation. Four days I stayed at the senior quarter of the PDC and shared the house with the Australian Gregory Gibbard, Gibby. I had to adjust to his Australian accent and his humor, but quickly I appreciated this stern man with a great heart for humans and animals, especially Painted Dogs. Everything and everyone he descripted as ‘little buggers’ and sometimes I really had to figure out if he was talking about the Zimbabweans he was working so close with or the Painted Dogs that were so close to his heart. An Australian living in the bush for more then ten years and worked full hearted on building up a local community and protecting Painted Dogs, who still were present in and around Hwange. A few months later I saw him again for a short while. ‘I am still the same, buggered all the time by these buggers,’ he smiled and said goodbye with, ‘See you when you get here again.’
Great was the shock when I got the message that Gregory has passed away. My heart goes to everybody at PDC and all people, also Dutch, that met Gregory, maybe smoked a cigarette with him and who saw what a special person he was. A great, great loss.
‘I see you when I see you’, Gregory, but that will not be in this world. I hope that wherever you are you can completely lose your heart to new ‘buggers’.
PDC-UK in collaboration with the staff of PDC-Zimbabwe constructed a permanent tribute adjacent to ‘The Brick House’ (Gibby’s home).