We would like to commemoratively remember Llewellyn as a beloved son, husband, father, brother, friend, and colleague. Most of all, we endeavour to preserve his passion and dedication to the promotion of wildlife preservation and ecological issues.

Lew was born the youngest of five siblings in 1958 to Lucy (Millar) and William. His path took him at a young age to England where his adventures began. Even as a teenager Lew was not shy of hard work, delivering morning papers before school everyday for pocket money. His love of travelling and adventure started when he left school. His first trips included a cycling holiday around France and inter-railing across Europe. This progressed to a two year work experience in Sierra Leone (West Africa) with VSO as a science teacher, meanwhile experiencing the country in a dug-out canoe that he had built himself. He came home in the clothes he stood in, having left everything he owned to his students during his time there. This led to his initial international conservation work in the western Himalayas and China to raise and monitor threatened pheasants species; this included leading China's first radio-tracking of a bird species. We believe this was where his passion for ornithology began. In between all these adventures he did manage to take time out to further his education; he first achieved his BSc Hons in Physiology at the University of Leeds, followed by an MSc in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen, and finally his doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in their Department of Zoology.

Lew was a world-class conservationist in the field of wetlands and migratory waterbirds. He worked tirelessly and honestly over decades for conservation and the wise use of wetlands at the Hong Kong Mai Po Wetland, followed by the Ramsar Secretariat in Switzerland. His last position was as a Chief Executive of the Secretariat of the East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) based in Incheon, Republic of Korea. He has been one of the most outstanding conservation leaders in the flyway and an inspiration to many people with a diverse range of qualities, from the high level officials, to business leaders, to farmers. His achievements are too many to number, and Lew made a difference in many parts of the world with his commitment, deep knowledge, expertise, and passion for wetlands.

In 1991, he started work for WWF as manager of Hong Kong Mai Po Nature Reserve. He understood that the reserve, so close to the urban metropolis of Hong Kong, needed active management to enhance its value to wildlife and people. He developed a strategic vision for the reserve through the development and implementation of habitat and infrastructure management initiatives. He also developed and ran a range of education and awareness programmes for students and public visitors. Mai Po Nature Reserve has become a model sites for migratory waterbird conservation along the Flyway, due in no small part to Lew’s work as reserve manager, supervising 20 staff in different aspects of reserve management, education and outreach and partnership building. He was involved in the innovative program to manage fishery production in freshwater zones of the reserve that has seen Mai Po become an important non-breeding site for the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill. Today, Mai Po is a vibrant testament to Lew’s early work, bustling not only with the thousands of migratory waterbirds that make it home, but also the visiting parties of schoolchildren learning about the value of wetlands for the first time, birdwatchers hoping to catch a glimpse of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the delegations from many countries that come to Mai Po to understand how to manage a reserve in an urban setting. While at Mai Po, Lew also supported the establishment of Wetland Link International – Asia in 2006, a network promoting greater communication and cooperation among wetland education centres across Asia, and the creation of the Asia Waterbird Conservation Fund (AWCF) in 2005, a small grant fund to protect wetlands for migratory waterbirds. Despite his busy schedule in later years, Lew always took time to provide feedback and advice to AWCF on applicant proposals.

Lew then joined the Ramsar Secretariat in 2008 as a senior regional advisor for Asia and Oceania. For ten years Lew was advising on and supporting the strategic development and effective implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Lew’s work for the Ramsar Secretariat provided support and advice to the 33 contracting parties in Asia and eight in Oceania. He advised on the identification, designation and management of Ramsar sites in the region, represented Ramsar at regional and international meetings and supported Ramsar Regional Initiatives, notably, in Asia, EAAFP and the Ramsar Regional Center for East Asia. He has been involved in many training and capacity-building initiatives, focusing on community-based involvement in management, tracking management effectiveness and integrating disaster risk reduction into wetland policy and management, among other subjects. During this time, Lew developed excellent relationships with government representatives responsible for wetland management, as well as NGO partners, scientists and conservationists and his diplomatic skills allied to determination and attention to detail garnered wide respect.

The professional and personal network that Lew established in Asia while at Ramsar held him in good stead as he undertook his last post as Chief Executive of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) which fosters international collaboration to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitats and livelihoods of people dependent upon them. With his leadership and expertise, he quickly assumed the role of communicating and coordinating many projects and programs with the 37 official Partners from government and non-government organisations, as well as collaborators and stakeholders. During his term, the 10th Meeting of Partners was successfully organized in China, developed a new Strategic Plan for the next ten years, and DPR Korea also joined both the Ramsar Convention and Partnership. His last mission for EAAFP was to help bring together the different countries and partners to save the intertidal wetlands of the Yellow Sea, a critically important staging area for millions of migratory waterbirds. The work Lew pursued, the actions he took will carry on, inspired by his efforts, implemented by those who so admired him. Wetlands across the world will be safer as a result of Lew’s achievements.

Beyond Lew's career, his moral at home continuously showed a wholehearted passion for nature and the great outdoors. We will fondly remember the numerous hiking trips to the Swiss Alps, or Korean and Hong Kong countryside on the weekends and school holidays; there was never a mountain too small or too large that we could not climb together. Tracking out the birdcalls and sightings, there was always a spot of wisdom to be shared and a photo to be taken to document the experience. He never settled with our favoured hikes but always looked and planned towards discovering new paths and trails that truly captured our time spent together. In addition, Lew would regularly enjoy sporting activities such as cycling around Lac Léman and coaching the Hong Kong Flying Kukris rugby teams with his children. His profound devotion for spending time with his family amongst career commitments is something we will hold dearly to our hearts.

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Lew Young on the 5th of March 2019, at the age of 60 years old. Lew will forever be remembered with love by his family – his wife, Deborah Cha, his daughter, Naomi, and his son, Cennydd. Asia’s wetlands have too lost a passionate champion, and the conservation community lost a dedicated colleague and genuine friend. Lew was generous with his time, his advice and his support to anyone who cared about saving wetlands. His advice was so valued because he knew what it took to manage a wetland, for all its diverse benefits, for building a strong constituency for wetland conservation at all levels and for bringing together people of diverse skills and backgrounds in partnerships for site management. His passion was for involving local communities, helping them to explore opportunities to use wetlands in a sustainable and beneficial way and then passing these experiences on to others, through education and exchange. Lew’s thoughtfulness, his considered opinions, his sage advice won him many admirers, but more than that his evident passion was an inspiration to many people, a mentor to others and a friend to many more. He will be missed indeed, but his legacy is assured, in the many wetlands he helped protect and the many colleagues and friends who continue his work. 

This memorial website is created in his loving memory. We would gladly receive photos and graciously read through any stories or tributes you may want to share, so do feel free to post them here on his memorial website.

Obituaries and articles online:

  • Ming Pao Hong Kong, 6th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • Birds Korea, 6th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • Ramsar Convention, 6th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • World Wetland Network, 6th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • South China Morning Post, 7th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • Apple Daily Hong Kong, 7th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • Hanns Seidel Foundation, 8th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 11th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • Bird Life International, 15th March 2019 - Read Here.
  • East Asian-Australian Flyway Partnership, 26th March 2019 - Read Here.

Posted by Kasia Nikraszewicz on December 27, 2020
I will always consider it a great honour and privilege to have met Lew. During my time at the Ramsar Secretariat he was an inspirational conservationist but above all, a fantastic colleague with a great sense of humour who was never too busy to answer a question and provide some advice to his younger and less experienced colleagues. I have many fond memories of Lew, eating lunch together, chatting about wetlands and seeing him working in his office but above all I remember him smiling, there was always a reason.
Posted by Sadegh Sadeghi Zadegan on April 9, 2019
He was my old friend. Still, I can't believe his migration. Here is his last message to me, on 15th February, which I look to that, frequently:
<< OK, thank you.... l still have fond memories of working with you and hope we can work together again some time. Best, Lew>>
Posted by Vivian Fu on April 9, 2019
Sending on behalf of Dr. Peter Fisher of The Trans National Birds Group Melbourne:
At our recent Trans National Birds (TNB) working group meeting members expressed their great sadness to learn of the passing of Lew (Young). He was a wonderful supporter, advocate and mentor for the TNB concept. Nothing was too much trouble in his support of the cause as demonstrated by his ready canvassing for, and subsequent publication of, articles on the partnership website. An inestimable loss for our wetlands and conservation.
Posted by Evelyn Young on April 1, 2019
First allow me to thank Lew’s friends and colleagues who have posted glowing accolades and touching memories of my ‘little’ brother.
It is through these posts that the family realised what an important role Lew played in the conservation of wetlands and the high esteem he commanded. Being a modest person, he hardly ever talked about his achievements. To me he was the little brother who flew around the world looking at birds.
I left HK in 1963, Lew wasn’t even 5 then. Since then our paths crossed infrequently and briefly. Mum was the source of Lew’s news.
When Lew announced he had volunteered to spend 2 years in Sierra Leone, the village a 2- day canoe paddle into darkest Africa, maternal grandmother wrung her hands lamenting that Lew would probably have to use a handful of grass as toilet paper. He survived all that remote rural Africa hurled at him and enjoyed it. Towards the end of his posting, Lew wrote to me, he had initiated a rabbit breeding project to supplement the villagers’ diet but was sad that when he left there was no one to take over, maybe that’s when ‘sustainability’ crept into his lexicon.
How to describe him as a person? Too many qualities spring to mind – honourable, conscientious, so easy going, generous, humble, calm, positive, he saw only good in people. It was not what the world could do for him but what he could do for the world. He certainly left his mark.
Lew found a true soul mate in Deborah, who shared his passion and supported him throughout. He was a very proud of his family and dedicated to Omi and Cenny. It would be a great comfort to him to know that they plan to take up his torch.
So why was this life so abruptly curtailed? He had so much more to give, the world needed him; we all needed him. His footsteps as a father, husband, conservationist and human being will be hard to follow. We cannot know the minds of the gods but It was perhaps fitting, after a life packed with achievement, if he had to pass so soon, that it was, quickly, doing what he loved, amongst his peers.
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
From: He is Gone (Remember Me)
By David Harkins
Posted by Vera Popovich on March 30, 2019
Dear Debbie, Naomi and Cennyd,
The family and I were very shocked and saddened to hear about Lew’s sudden death. It is a testament to his modesty that I learn just now of how important a contribution he made to nature conservation and the world. I will remember him simply as a very kind and gentle man, who did a job he was passionate about, having a cup of tea and a chat while fetching his daughter, Naomi.
Sending love and thoughts and prayers to you all at this very difficult time, Vera, Aleks, Marina, Becky and Nicolas.
Posted by Micha Jackson on March 28, 2019
I feel so privileged to have met Lew through the EAAF Partnership. Lew was a thoughtful and charismatic person and there was very high confidence in and excitement about his leadership of the EAAFP from countries throughout the region. Though I did not know him very well personally, many of my friends and colleagues have shared stories about Lew’s contributions to wetland conservation generally and to their lives and careers. This amazing legacy will remain far into the future. Lew will be sadly missed, and our thoughts go out to his family and to the Secretariat and wider flyway family from Australia.
Posted by Warren Williams on March 26, 2019
I was shocked to hear that Lew had passed away.  My sympathies go out to his family. I knew Lew from the second week of University during our first degree in Leeds in 1977. We met by chance both being late into the first biochemistry practical class at the back. Lew with a parker and me with an afghan coat. He was a Neil Young fan and I was a Stephen Stills fan, so we immediately hit it off as friends in that first 2hrs and even up till recently discussed music. We had some real fun times together at University and had kept in contact ever since, over 40 years. I was honoured when he asked me to be the best man at his wedding to Deborah. When I think back to some of the parties and many nights out, it is sad that he is gone. I’ll miss his sense of humour. Mark, Ned and myself will definitely have a few drinks in your honour.
Posted by Abdulmaula HAMZA on March 24, 2019
I met Dr Lew for the first time at the last EAAFP MOP in Hainan China, his leadership and experience were amazing. His humble character let me feel that I knew him for many years. Rest in Peace Dr Lew, sad to see you leaving this life.
Dr A Hamza
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia
Posted by Manami Ikeda on March 23, 2019
I am very saddened to learn of the demise of Dr. Lew Young. He is well known to us Japanese NGOs as "Lew Young san." Even though he held an important position in an international organization, he was always friendly and showed concerns about Japanese wetland NGOs. My most unforgettable memory of him was his trip to Kyushu, Japan. My friends and I were fortunate to travel with him to visit some key wetlands and had dialogues with local wetland NGOs. He kindly held a free lecture on Ramsar Convention for local young adults who were not familiar with wetland conservation before. He truly was an evangelist of wetland conservation! He is greatly missed by all of us and I can imagine the deepest sorrow of his family and relatives. I convey my heartfelt condolences to his family and relatives. Thank you so very much, Lew Young san. May you rest in peace and may your legacy live on...
Manami Ikeda
Ramsar Network Japan
Posted by David Flumm on March 22, 2019
I am so sorry to hear about the recent death of Dr Lew Young. I have very fond memories of my time with Lew when I spent a month at the WWF Mai Po Nature Reserve in the spring of 2006 where he was pioneering work in wetland and fish management. As a wetland manager from the UK myself, I found his work was an inspiration to us all. And apart from that he was a genuinely nice bloke! My condolences to his family.
Posted by Lee Kheng Sim on March 21, 2019
It is with such sadness that I write this..have known Dr Young since the previous (last three) meetings of Partners of the EAAFP. When I first saw him in action, I thought this guy must be a great CEPA guy. I wish I had spoken to him during our last MOP in China though I can recall him hanging around the lobby area to ensure things were alright. Loss of a giant in this field.. To Deborah & family, my deepest condolences & may his soul rest in peace.
Posted by Danny Donguk Han on March 20, 2019
Lew, my old friend..
You are in our hearts forever.
I remember you with all of our wetlands and birds, especially Janhang wetland in Han estuary of Korea...
Good bye Lew, my elder brother..
Rest in peace...
Posted by P A Azeez on March 20, 2019
RIP. It was a great loss to the conservation movement, in particular wetlands. But, I am sure his legacy would continue.
Posted by Lifeng Li on March 20, 2019
Lew - a landmark to follow!
Dr. Llewellyn Young, known as Lew to his friends and colleagues, was a world-class advocate and practitioner in the field of the conservation and management of wetlands. Over 30 years, he left his footprints in wetlands all over the region, which are for us to follow. Nearly 17 years, he was the landmark that I followed.
I firstly met Lew in 2002 when we were both working for WWF. Lew was based in Hong Kong, while I was based in Beijing. Six years later, I followed his path and moved to Switzerland - he joined the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, while I joined WWF International. 16 years later, in 2018, I followed him again and moved to here – he joined the EAAFP and I joined the Green Climate Fund. While I have the list of things that Lew and I planned to do, but now, without him, it won’t be easy for me to figure out where to go, for my career and for a place to live.
I will continue to miss Lew and to mourn him as a former colleague, a dear friend, and my brother.To celebrate and remember his achievements here today, I’d like to share a few highlights.
As a manager of WWF Hong Kong Mai Po Nature Reserve from 1991 to 2008, Lew laid the foundations of the long-term, effective management of the Reserve.
Lew was instrumental in listing Mai Po Nature Reserve as the only Ramsar Site of Hong Kong. It has also become a model site for conservation of migratory waterbirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The innovative approach to managing fisheries in the Reserve has seen Mai Po become an important habitat for the endangered black-faced spoonbill. That approach changed the mindset of wetlands nature reserve managers from the mainland China, and we called it the Mai Po Model.
His Wetlands Management Training Programme has trained nearly five thousands of Chinese wetland practitioners and managers, and hundreds of thousands of students and public visitors. He is the single most influential and popular mentor in wisely managing Chinese wetlands.
Working for WWF and Ramsar respectively in Switzerland, we worked closely with each other to assist countries in the Asia and Pacific region to advance their wetlands agenda.
Among many examples, our collaboration helped to save the 2nd largest freshwater lake of China - the Poyang Lake, which is a crucial refuge for 1/3 of finless porpoise of the Yangtze River, 80% of oriental white storks, and over 95% of white cranes.Without the intervention of Ramsar Secretariat and Lew’s personal involvement, the Poyang Lake as the heaven for waterbirds would have become history.
Lew also established the Wetland Link International-Asia in 2006 and the Asian Waterbird Conservation Fund in 2005. Together with the Mai Po Model, Mai Po Wetlands Management Training Programme, these achievements are continued and remembered at Mai Po, in China, and in the region.
Together, we will follow his footprints in wetlands.
Posted by Naomi Young on March 19, 2019
(On behalf of Melanie and Jean; friends to Deborah and Lew)
The very sad news of Lew’s passing reached us in London yesterday. Whilst I’m shocked and saddened by Lew’s sudden passing, I am also reminded of how an incredibly kind and genuine person he was. 
His achievements are too numerous to mention but we will always remember his infectious enthusiasm on the Big Bird Race and the many Maipo trips he took us on. I can say Lew was one of the nicest man I have ever met. Jean and I just came back from a bird watching trip in Costa Rica last month - this remains one of his favourite pastimes. We were still speaking so fondly of Lew during the trip as he was the one who opened up this world to us. 
He left us far too soon, Deborah but we will always remember him as a friend and a mentor. We are thinking of you all and if there is anything at all we can help with, we will be there.
With our deepest condolences,
Melanie and Jean
Posted by Luc Hurt on March 19, 2019
The world needs more people like Lew Young. The future of the world depends on people like him. Unfortunately, he has passed away far too early.
Posted by Intan Kamil on March 19, 2019
Dear Mrs Young and Family
Words could not compensate for the loss you feel right now. I am deeply saddened by the news. I wish I had been to Dubai for the meeting where he also attended last October. He did ask for me to my colleague. That is how i will always remember Dr Young. As someone who took his time to remember his colleague and counterpart even though he only met them once. I first met Dr Young in Korea in 2016 and he instantly captured my heart as a very humble and courteous gentleman. He was always there to guide me like his own daughter when i first joined the Convention. My thoughts and prayers are with you and family.
Posted by Nessrine Alzahlawi on March 18, 2019
To Lew’s family
My sincere and deepest condolences for your loss. I am incredibly saddened and my thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
I worked with Lew from 2011-2013 as the assistant advisor for Asia-Oceania at the Ramsar Secretariat. He was a great manager and mentor, always generous with his time and advice. He had an incredibly busy schedule and yet he found time to guide and advise me and help me learn about the work of the Secretariat. He was kind, friendly, patient. I will never forget that on my first day in Gland, arriving alone in a new place, he met me at the station, helped me find my apartment, and later on invited me for dinner with you,his lovely family, Deborah, Naomi and Cennyd. It made me feel welcome and I was so grateful to be treated with such kindness and consideration.
I greatly admired his patience and professionalism despite the many frustrations that came with the job, he was skilled, diplomatic and knowledgeable, with a good sense of humor. Always managing to find the sliver lining and stay positive in a difficult situation. He loved being in the field most of all. The national focal points of the countries of Asia-Oceania loved working with him and respected him greatly. He was easily approachable, always made the time for specific requests from countries, and was interested in the situation and specific issues of each wetland site or contracting party, happy and ready to assist and support. His genuine passion and dedication were clear in every meeting and presentation that he delivered. 
Sending you my love and prayers from the UAE along with all those here that worked with him and met him. They have nothing but good things to say about him. That is truly what he was, a dedicated, passionate, gentle and brilliant conservationist and a kind, respectful person that was a pleasure to work with in every way.
May he rest in peace.
Posted by Rieko Iguchi on March 17, 2019
Dear the family of Dr. Lew Young
Hearing unexpectedly that Dr. Lew Young passed away, many of our colleagues are feeling sad.
He was always listening to and making advises to us enthusiastically in terms of the preservation and future
of the mouth of Yoshino River (Yoshino-Gawa in Japanese), one of the distinfuished mouth of river in Japan.
May he rest in peace.
from Rieko Iguchi
The Tokushima Nature Observation Society
Posted by Vivian Fu on March 17, 2019
Dear Deborah, Naomi, and Cennydd,
Coming back from Beijing and Hong Kong, working on my desk just outside Lew's office, it is still hard to believe he would never come back to his office. It was just a week ago that he invited me to join the trip to Ganghwa Island with Deborah and Miyoung for holiday...
I am lucky to have worked with him for the last 5 months. He was always calm, gentle and caring. I still remember on my first day in Korea he called me, he did not talk about work, but told me where the supermarket was, which app were useful for a foreigner living in Korea. At work, he gave us quick responses, he left his work aside and deal with our questions whenever we knocked on his door. He gave us chances to explore more, knowing what our interest and abilities laid, and he had lots of ideas to promote conservation. Working 5 months for him did not allow me to know him enough, but I could knew much about his different sides only after spending the last 2 weeks with his families and previous colleagues who were mourning for losing him.
Now, as Deborah said, we have to continue what he wished to achieve for protecting the wetlands and migratory birds. Lew, you will never be forgotten, and what you have set up ahead will guide us to move forward.
Posted by Christophe Tourenq on March 16, 2019
RIP Lew, I am shattered and still under the shock of your sudden passing. A couple of weeks ago we were exchanging emails about your move back to Asia to be closer to the family. You were a kind person and a passionate wetland conservation advocate, always available to help and to offer an ear and advice. You have touched many souls everywhere you landed from the shore of the Geneva Lake to the coast of the Yellow Sea. Your legacy will live on. Vale my friend. My deepest thoughts to your family.
Posted by Jim Harkness on March 15, 2019
My deepest sympathies to Lew's family. When I worked with the International Crane Foundation and later as country rep for WWF in China, Lew was a tireless, patient and hospitable host to countless groups of mainland Chinese ornithologists and nature reserve staff and officials. Waterbirds in China (and all over Asia) have a much better chance to survive and thrive because of this brilliant and dedicated man. Rest in Peace!
Posted by Florian Keil on March 15, 2019
The staff at the Secretariats of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) based in Bonn, Germany share the sorrow of Lew Young’s friends and family and know the pain they are feeling as we lost Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of CMS, earlier this year. We recognized Lew’s passion for his work, appreciated his commitment to the cause of conservation and were privileged to have been able to collaborate with him especially in the context of our World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) campaign. This year has seen many colleagues torn unexpectedly away from us – we can best honour those colleagues’ memory by redoubling our efforts to secure a future for the planet for which they strove so hard.
Posted by Maral Chreiki on March 15, 2019
Dear Family and Friends of Lew,
I was truly saddened to hear about the loss of Lew. I knew him since 2010 and since then he was a great friend and mentor later. I was privileged to be part of his vision and to witness his achievements in Asia and especially in our region. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with Lew, his genuine qualities as a person opened many doors, brought attention to wetlands conservation and established trust.
Last time I met with him during Rmsar COP13 in Dubai, he told me about his retirement plans which indeed included wetlands. It is sad to lose someone with such a positive and endless energy for giving like Lew.
Rest in peace my friend, your hard work will live forever.
Posted by Lifeng Li on March 15, 2019

   2004年的夏天,我和WWF中国的首席代表郝克明先生(Jim Harkness)一起去香港给汇丰银行汇报长江项目的进展,会议间隙约路年博士在离WWF香港办公室不远的广场喝啤酒。那时他还是米埔湿地保护项目的经理,和我们聊米埔的历史、与汇丰银行的合作等等,因为我们也是执行汇丰银行所支持的长江项目。他特别讲了一些与汇丰银行合作的经验,聊得很开心,收获很大。



                                                王利民 博士
Posted by Ken Gosbell on March 15, 2019
I have had the pleasure of knowing Lew for over 20 years and came to admire and respect his dedication to the conservation of wetlands and of shorebirds in particular. As Chair of the Shorebird Working group he provided strategic leadership and drive to achieve both scientific and conservation goals. As I succeeded him as Chair of this group he provided valuable support and encouragement to enable implementation of many of his plans. He provided significant input into the establishment and operation of the EAAF Partnership over many years. Of course this culminated in him taking on the position of Chief Executive of the Partnership. In his short time in this position he provided outstanding leadership which saw several positive outcomes towards the conservation of wetlands and the natural world that depends on them. Lew was a wonderful person, a gentle man always willing to listen and provide advice; his dedication to the conservation of the natural world will be long remembered. We send our condolences to his wife and family at this sad time.
Posted by Eleni Paipai on March 14, 2019
I have not known Lew for long but I did not need long to understand the depth of his knowledge on wetlands and birds, and his dedication to their protection and his work at large. I last saw Lew and listened to him at the RAMSAR COP13 in Dubai, where we talked about Dubai's pride for its Ramsar sites; I learned and drew inspiration from his presentations and enthusiasm once again. I was therefore greatly saddened to hear of his premature demise. May he Rest In Peace, and may his family find the strength they so much need.
Posted by Dr. M. Zaheer Khan Zoolog... on March 14, 2019
I'm writing on behalf of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management West & Central Asia, to express our deep sympathies to Lew's family and friends.
Lew was worked with us and conducted International Training Workshop on Conservation and Management of Protected Areas, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Sultanate of Oman and IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, West Asia at Muscat, Sultanate of Oman on Dec 2014. During the workshop sessions, he played an important and active role as wetland expert.
I’m just shocked and saddened by his sudden passed away. He was such a good man that I can never forget him for the rest of my life. He will be missed and remembered. I send my heartfelt condolences to Ramsar and your Lew's family.
Prof. Dr. M. Zaheer Khan
Regional Chair
IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, Central Asia
Department of Zoology,
University of Karachi, Karachi.
Posted by Crawford Prentice on March 14, 2019
I had the pleasure to interact with Lew on the conservation of Asian wetlands and waterbirds over the many years that he was with the Ramsar Secretariat. He was a calm and steady hand that gently guided our collective efforts, always kind, courteous and professional. As a new major project for the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the East Asian - Australasian Flyway in China starts its development process, his presence will be greatly missed – but his legacy lives on. May his soul wing its way in peace.
Posted by Tobias Salathe on March 14, 2019
Dear Family and Friends of Lew
I am shocked and very saddened to learn about the untimely passing of Lew. For ten years he was a great and reliable colleague and friend at the Ramsar Secretariat. I appreciated much his experience and wisdom embedded in his calm, helpful and friendly character. With his qualities he contributed enormously to make our work and our ideas progressing, and to shape the team of the secretariat. I met him first when he arrived at Gland. But his name was known to me for many years before, as the pioneering manager of the May Po Marshes Ramsar Site, and as a reliable heron specialist when international groups were in need of information from South-East Asia.
I am sorry that we are reminded through his terrible loss how fragile worthy humans are and how drastically we can lose a friend. Be assured that I will not forget Lew, he left indelible marks. I feel privileged that I was able to exchange with him during all his years in Gland.
Posted by Imran Ahmed on March 14, 2019
I met him in the last year's Pre-cop meeting in Sri Lanka. He was really a well behaved, amicable personality I have ever seen. His smiling face is still alive in my mind. On behalf of Bangladesh Forest Department I express deep condolence. May his soul rest in peace.
Posted by Mohd Deshgooni on March 14, 2019
Dear Deborah, family and friends of Dr. Young
It is a tragic and indeed a sad news for me and my colleagues in Dubai to hear about the sudden demise of our beloved colleague.
I have known Lew since Precop10 meeting in Bangkok, then I met him in subsequent CoPs 10 in Changwon, Korea; 11 in Bucharest, Romania; 12 in Punta del Este in Uruguay, and lately in CoP13 in Dubai last October 2018.
also We work together during a workshop in Seosan, Korea; and the Ramsar Advisory mission to Ras Al Khor Wetland in Dubai.
He was gentle, hardworking, humble and wise human being.
We truely miss him, and wish you to overcome his loss hardship. May God rest his soul in peace.
Posted by Amy LECCIONES on March 14, 2019
I am writing for the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW) We are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Dr. Lew. He is fondly remembered as the person who inspired the work of the SCPW in protecting wetlands and migratory birds. We are one with his family, colleagues, and friends in celebrating his life that brought inspiration to our work. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family - you will be sorely missed.
Posted by Phil Straw on March 14, 2019
I was close to tears to hear of Lew’s sudden passing, only a couple of hours after our last email chat about what we were doing together in the EAA Flyway
Lew was a very knowledgeable person but always modest, and not afraid to ask advice on many occasions, whether habitat management at Mai Po, information sharing while at the Ramsar Bureau or in his latest and very hectic role with the EAAFP Secretariat.
After 25 years, farewell dear friend, RIP.
Dear Deborah and family please accept my sincere condolences, thinking of you at this time. Phil Straw
Posted by Swapan Paul on March 14, 2019
I kve known Lew since 2014, when he was here in Sydney for the World Parks Congress. We had such a great tiem together! After that in January 2018 in China and in October 2018 at the Ramsar CoP13 in Dubai.
The family of wetlands will miss this big-hearted man and a fearless conservationist.
His works and contributions will never be wasted!
Posted by Mark Taylor on March 14, 2019
I'm writing on behalf of the Ramsar Administrative Authority for Australia, to express our deep sympathies to Lew's family and friends. We worked closely with Lew over a number of years when he was our key contact during his term as Senior Regional Advisor for Asia and Oceania in the Ramsar Convention. During this time, he played an important role in supporting Australia and the countries of the Oceania in implementing the Convention. He worked with us to get some important and really valuable work done, including Australia's resolution on blue carbon for COP13.
Lew was always professional, hard-working and deeply committed to the important work which we are all engaged in.  More importantly, he was a deeply good person who will be missed very much by us, and by his colleagues.
Posted by Ivan Tsoi on March 13, 2019
Dear Deborah and family,
I share your loss during this hard time of Lew’s Passing! Hope you can take good care in such tough moment and continue to be a blessing to others. RIP Lew!
Posted by Andy Bentall on March 13, 2019
We were so shocked and saddened to hear the news of Lew’s passing. Only the other day I was thinking about how we must get together again when Lew is next back in Hong Kong and sadly we will not now get that chance. I have never met a nicer and more sincere person in all my life. Our sincere condolences go to Deborah, Omi, Cenny and all those who were close to him.
Rest in peace Lew……
Andy, Fe, Neal, Ian & Zara Bentall
Posted by Paolo Longoni on March 12, 2019
Dear Deborah, Cenny and Naomi,
Our deepest condolences to you all. Our hearts are with you in these trying times, we send you big hugs, especially to Cenny.
We will always remember Llewellyn with great esteem and sympathy, he will always have a place within us.
With love,
Francesco Longoni with Paolo, Simonetta and Cecilia
Posted by Yamme Leung on March 12, 2019
RIP, Legend of wetland conservation. You are the one taking me to the world of birdwatching. I still remember very clearly our first encounter which was in tower hide of Mai Po 18 years ago, you taught me sincerely how to distinguish between black-tailed Godwit and bar-tailed Godwit (I wasn’t aware you were MP manager that time). You were the one who was willing to sacrifice countless number of your lunch breaks to supervise my master dissertation, you were the one who perfectly demonstrate the real meaning of “walk the talk”
To me, you are always the greatest role model of conservationist in the world, second to none! I am so blessed I met you in my life and am going to miss you very very much, Lew!
Posted by Craig Simpson on March 12, 2019
Dear Deborah, Omi & Cenny,
There is not much that can be said at a time like this.
The world has lost a great man who made a difference. Personally, we have lost a humble, down to earth, friend (with a great taste in music!).
But overshadowing the world’s loss, your loss is the greatest. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Many memories of Lew have come to me over the day. Perhaps the one that sticks out is all of us sitting on the hillside behind your house in Hong Kong, flying kites with the children. Noni remembers the laughter. Irene remembers the fun when he stayed with us in Sydney. Memories we will treasure.
Our deepest sympathies,
Craig Simpson, Eleanore “Noni” Liong & Irene Simpson
Sydney, Australia
Posted by Yaiphaba Akoijam on March 12, 2019
Lew was a very humble, down to earth person, a great mentor and a very dear colleague. He was an inspiration and always will be…Passionate, dedicated and hardworking, a personality that I admire and someone whose footsteps I wish to follow. Working with him, there was never a day that I was worried, as for he was someone who always looked out for his near and dear ones. With a heavy heart, I express my deepest condolences to his family and friends. Lew…, you will be dearly missed. May his soul rest in peace.
P.S.: Deborah, Naomi, and Cennydd, my deepest sympathies and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Please take good care.
Posted by Joe Lee on March 12, 2019
Dear Deborah and family,
I am deeply saddened by Lew's sudden passing. I met Lew in Hong Kong in only late January, after each of us had separately pursued overseas career paths for many years. It was only a brief catch up, but nonetheless gratifying to hear about Lew's latest contribution to the EAAFP as well as his sustained passion and concern for the Mai Po wetlands.
I profoundly admire Lew's dedication to conservation, particularly his contribution to the protection of Mai Po under challenging circumstances. His gentle yet unwavering approach means a lot to both his allies and his opponents.
At this time of unspeakable loss, I hope you may take comfort in knowing that Lew was a much loved friend, colleague and conservationist, whose legacy will be lasting and extensive.
Please accept my sincere condolences. Take care.
Very best wishes,
Joe Lee
Posted by Edith Susan Kuruneru on March 12, 2019
Lew it was great knowing you till we meet again
Posted by John Allcock on March 12, 2019
Lew's passing has been a shock to all who knew him. He was a great leader in waterbird conservation in East Asia, and his contribution will be greatly missed.
On a personal level, his excellent management of Mai Po Nature Reserve was one thing that made me marvel at the diversity of wildlife in Hong Kong and was an inspiration to me when I later took on the role of reserve manager.
My condolences go to everyone mourning his loss.
Posted by CHAN Alice on March 12, 2019
Deepest condolences to Deborah and Family
I knew Lew for more than 25 years. I’m just shocked and saddened by his sudden passed away. He was such a good man that I can never forget him for the rest of my life. My thoughts are with Deborah, Omi and Cenny. RIP Lew.
by Alice CHAN (陳麗珍) @ HK
Posted by Simon Chan on March 12, 2019
Dear Deborah,
We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Lew’s passing. On behalf of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, I would like to extend our sincerest sympathy and condolences to you and your children during this difficult time.
Lew was truly a remarkable person as a conservationist, friend and working partner. He was wonderfully sincere, kind and gentle, yet he inspired his friends and colleagues with his vision and passion in nature conservation. He had dedicated his entire life in the conservation of wetlands and birds in Hong Kong, Asia and Oceania. From the Reserve Manager of the Mai Po Nature Reserve to the Senior Advisor for Asia and Oceania at the Ramsar Secretariat and the Chief Executive of the East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership, he had strived to serve the nature and the people living therein. In particular, he played a pivotal role in the designation of the wetland in Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay as a Ramsar Site in 1995 and the subsequent development and management of the site for conservation and education. My colleagues and I feel very privileged to have worked closely with him and have great respect for him as a close partner in the conservation of this important wetland in Hong Kong. His enthusiasm and exemplary contributions to the amazing beauty and biodiversity of our wetlands will be long remembered by all of us and our future generations.
Lew’s passing is a great loss to the conservation communities. He will be deeply missed by all of us, yet his spirit will continue to inspire those pursuing nature conservation. Our thoughts are with you and your children during this difficult time.
With our heartfelt condolences,
Dr. Leung Siu Fai
Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
Posted by Yoke-Shum Broom on March 12, 2019
Dear Deborah and family
So sad to hear of this sad news. I first met Lew when I returned to work as a volunteer for WWF HK in 1991 and later as a colleague and friend. We continue to keep in touch even after I returned to the UK in 2008. He was very knowledgeable in his field of work, a proficient conservationist and passionate about wetland conservation. I learned a lot from him regarding wetland conservation. He will be missed and remembered.
Posted by Sandra Hails-Downie on March 11, 2019
Dear Deborah and family,
Lew’s dedication to wetland conservation remains as an inspiration to all of us. I first met him in Mai Po where his commitment to and understanding of this wetland environment was impressive. I worked with him for many years at the Ramsar Secretariat and found him a great supporter of the developing role of CEPA in wetland conservation. He always found time to chat with me about ideas for moving Ramsar’s CEPA Programme forward; he was always calm and supportive during the most challenging times. He seemed to have endless energy and always made time to talk to people about their wetland challenges and offer sound guidance and advice. It is profoundly sad that he is gone with so much still to give to wetland conservation and especially sad for the EAAFP where his time was so short. 
He won’t be forgotten.
Posted by Peter J. PROBASCO on March 11, 2019
To Deborah, Naomi, and Cennyd,
I first met Lew when he participated in MoP7 in Alaska. At that time, I was new to the EAAFP. I was there to learn and meet the many conservationists of this great Partnership. Throughout the meeting, I became very aware and impressed with this well spoken and knowledgeable man who later became a very dear friend, Dr. Lew Young. Since then, I have sought and relied many times on Lew's leadership, professionalism, and experience to help me and the Partnership through many challenges and decisions. His calm demeanor and approach to his work will be greatly missed. I will especially miss his counsel and friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with you and rest assured Lew's many contributions will be remembered for a very long time.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Kasia Nikraszewicz on December 27, 2020
I will always consider it a great honour and privilege to have met Lew. During my time at the Ramsar Secretariat he was an inspirational conservationist but above all, a fantastic colleague with a great sense of humour who was never too busy to answer a question and provide some advice to his younger and less experienced colleagues. I have many fond memories of Lew, eating lunch together, chatting about wetlands and seeing him working in his office but above all I remember him smiling, there was always a reason.
Posted by Sadegh Sadeghi Zadegan on April 9, 2019
He was my old friend. Still, I can't believe his migration. Here is his last message to me, on 15th February, which I look to that, frequently:
<< OK, thank you.... l still have fond memories of working with you and hope we can work together again some time. Best, Lew>>
Posted by Vivian Fu on April 9, 2019
Sending on behalf of Dr. Peter Fisher of The Trans National Birds Group Melbourne:
At our recent Trans National Birds (TNB) working group meeting members expressed their great sadness to learn of the passing of Lew (Young). He was a wonderful supporter, advocate and mentor for the TNB concept. Nothing was too much trouble in his support of the cause as demonstrated by his ready canvassing for, and subsequent publication of, articles on the partnership website. An inestimable loss for our wetlands and conservation.
his Life

Remembering three years, 03.05.2019

Three years have come and gone, and on the fifth of March we remember our loss of Lew from our lives - a loving husband, a caring father, a dear friend, a close colleague.

We'd like to use the day to reflect and share on Lew's last holiday, where he was able to disconnect from work and enjoy the world's beautiful places as he'd done in his younger life. Three years ago, Deborah and Lew took an anniversary trip to Japan and explored the cities of Nara, Kyoto, and Tokyo. They spent their days exploring shinto shrine temples, finding the hole-in-the-wall spots for ramen and green matcha ice cream, and seeing all the sights in the land of the rising sun. The photo we've chosen to share today was taken on Deborah and Lew's wedding anniversary and on exactly one month from Lew's passing, on February 5th 2019.

Over the last three years, we've been able to share the way his loss has been felt in our day-to-day lives and how we've enshrined his memory in all we do. This has been no different this year along, and we are reminded more deeply today of our unending love. There remains a hole in our being and our hearts with every day that passes, but the memories we have of Lew remain and are remembered unwaveringly. We miss you with every day.

Remembering Lew's Birthday, 15th of November

On the 15th of November, we fondly remember Lew's birthday; an occasion often marked by a home-made cheesecake, a small assortment of presents (usually books or maps for Lew's next adventure), and an joyful opportunity for our family to gather together, whether in person for a walk or a virtual call if oceans had separated us.

We would like to take this time today to remember one of Lew's favourite places for a morning walk in Burtigny, Switzerland, not 15 minutes drive away from home. Rolling fields and the horizon-to-horizon expanse of the Alps give way to the backdrop of our usual family walks, one often marked by continuous chatter from us kids or the quiet serenity of the brisk morning air. With Lew's passing, this is a place we revisit with the same frequency and amusement, taking in the landscape that characterises the place that we call home, as guided by Lew's move here in 2008. Even now, almost three years since his passing, this walk in Burtigny (amongst many others in the Jura) is a way for us to remember and relive in Lew's memory, through one of his favourite pastimes.

Today marks the third birthday we have celebrated in Lew's absence, and no combination of words can explain the way you are missed by each and every one of us. Your memory stays bright in our hearts with every day that passes, and your impact of our lives remains ingrained with everything we do and all that we become as time moves forward. Happy birthday, Lew.

Two Year Anniversary of Lew's Passing

Another year has come and gone without Lew, dad, as a part of our daily lives. With the global COVID-19 health crisis still waging on and our family spending more time together than ever while staying at home during the pandemic, it's easy to see the physical gap he's left in our lives.

This year, we would like to share two photos from Lew's travels from 1995 with Deborah, through the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the Karakoram mountain range during their honeymoon. We've spent the time through lockdown and the pandemic going through Lew's old negative slides from the 1980s onwards, to track and immortalise his life and achievements through his photography and documentation. While the world has stopped and travelling rendered impossible for most, Lew's dedication to capturing the world's sights has us happily imagining his travels as if we were out exploring with him too. It's the little joys such as these which keep the memory of his wanderlust, curious, and playful demeanour close to us now, even two years since his passing.

We look forward to sharing more of Lew's photos of his travels around the world with you soon, and to bring the memory of him closer to us all. He is missed dearly, and moreso with every passing day.
Recent stories

The Lew Young Memorial Fellowship, World Wetlands Day 2021

Shared by Naomi Young on March 31, 2021
The Lew Young Memorial Fellowship was launched by the South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE) in Kolkata on World Wetlands Day 2021, as a tribute and salutation to Lew's contributions towards the conservation of globally important wetlands worldwide. We sincerely thank the Forum for their commemoration and launch, in memory of Lew.
Shared by Cha Ronnie on March 7, 2021

Remembering Lew: Birthday and the WWF Mai Po Memorial Bench

Shared by Naomi Young on November 15, 2020
On the 15th of November, we celebrate the passing of Lew's birthday as we would have done if he were here with us today. No doubt he would have enjoyed his day today here in Switzerland perhaps with a spot of biking or walk, as the sun shines brightly over the lake and Alps. There's not a day that passes where he is not remembered, however we take the day today to especially think back on the love and time we've shared.

It is with great fondness that we can also unveil Lew's memorial bench at the Mai Po Nature Reserve today, after working alongside the team at WWF-HK to set it up. Looking out over the reedbeds and gei wai, we hope that this is a place that can be enjoyed by the many visitors to the Reserve, and by ourselves when find ourselves back in Hong Kong.

We would like to thank Peter Cornthwaite (CEO, WWF-HK) for matching the sum of our donation for the creation of the memorial bench and it's commemorative plaque. We would also like to thank Xianji Wen and Wing Ng in their gracious help concerning the organisation, preparation and installation of the memorial bench at the Mai Po Nature Reserve.

Happy birthday Lew, Dad.