William Oliver was a multi-talented conservationist, spending most of his time in the field, mainly working in the Philippines. He was also a highly respected wildlife artist, and Jersey Post regularly him to design artwork for wildlife stamps.
William spent most his professional life working with and studying threatened species, both in the wild and in captivity. Born and raised in England, he was educated at both London University and Liverpool University. He worked briefly as an Animal Keeper and Education Officer at Marwell Zoo, before joining the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (Jersey Zoo) in 1974 where he helped Gerald Durrell pioneer his ground-breaking ideas.
William’s first field trip was to India in 1977 to study Pygmy Hogs and he continued to champion the plight of threatened pig species in the wild, including the critically endangered Visayan Warty Pig in the Philippines. Over the following 20 years he concentrated on conservation in the Philippines where he became Director of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation based in Manila. In the 1990s William alerted World Land Trust (WLT) to the threat facing Danjugan Island and introduced WLT to Gerry Ledesma, President of the Philippine Reef & Rainforest Conservation Foundation. WLT went on to raise the funds to purchase and protect Danjugan Island as a nature reserve to safeguard it from unsympathetic tourism development.
Although based in the Philippines, William visited the UK regularly and found time to design Jersey’s wildlife stamps, paint wildlife and illustrate books. He died in September 2014.