Hussain, Qazi Zaker

Hussain, Qazi Zaker (1931-2011) wildlife biologist, naturalist and educationist. Born in Patwar village of Langolcot upazila of Comilla district. He was the youngest among the six children of Akhtar un Nessa and Kazi Waiz Uddin. His early education started at his village but completed school final from Goni School of Chandpur district. He then studied in Dhaka College, Dhaka University and Punjab University of Pakistan. In 1953 he was awarded MSc in zoology and received Punjab University Gold Medal and Academic Roll of Honour of Lahore Government College.

In 1961 he got his BSc degree from Oxford University, which is a post-graduate research degree. At Oxford he met Sir Julian Huxley and Professor Arthur J Cain. Both were Oxford graduates and great naturalists. Professor Cain was his mentor under whose leadership Professor Husain went to British Guiana in 1959 as a member of Oxford University expedition team. There for the first time he was exposed to the vastness of great Amazon's rain forest. Professor Husain's another friend was Dr Salim Ali, the famous Indian ornithologist and naturalist and the national professor of India, with whom he shared a good amount of time for the welfare of natural resources in the subcontinent.

He joined Dhaka University in 1953 as a lecturer and remained there as an Emeritus Professor of Zoology until his death. An ornithologist turned wildlife biologist and ecologist. Professor Kazi Zaker Husain started a separate wildlife biology branch at the Department of Zoology of Dhaka University in 1967 for in-depth research and education on wildlife. He drafted the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Order 1973. He served the Bangladesh Wildlife Advisory Board as its member for many years.

He headed the Department of Zoology of Dhaka University for nine years and was the dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences. He initiated a number of professional organisations including Zoological Society of Bangladesh (founder secretary, and president), Wildlife Society of Bangladesh (founder president) and Bangladesh Bird Preservation Society (founder president). He was a founder member of the advisory board of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh. He was the editor-in-chief of Bangladesh Journal of Zoology.

He was the recipient of many national and international awards and honours including UNEP's Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1990 for environmental achievement, Independence Day Gold Medal in 1992 for education, and Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation in 2010 for promoting education and research in the field of wildlife conservation. Professor Husain had 20 books and 80 scientific articles to his credit. Professor Kazi Zaker Husain died on June 21, 2011. He left behind his beloved wife, Shugufta Kishwar Banu, and two daughters and two sons. [Md. Anwarul Islam]