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Gaithorne (Earl of) Cranbrook was born on June 20 in 1933. He received his Bachelor of Arts (1956) and Master of Arts (1960) degrees at Cambridge, England. He has pursued a career as an environmental biologist, initially in South East Asia and subsequently in the UK and Europe. He is a specialist in the biology and management of the cave swiftlets, the “birds-nest soup birds” and the biology of living mammals and archaeozoology of the Malaysian region.

His first post-graduate appointment, 1956-58 was at the Sarawak Museum, Kuching (Borneo) where he was engaged generally in collection and curation duties and specifically in the archaeozoology and studies of cave swiftlets. After obtaining a Ph.D. at Birmingham University (1958-1960), he undertook further swiftlet studies in Indonesia (1960-61). He then joined the Zoology Department, University of Malaya, Malaysia (1961-70). In 1965 with funds granted by the Nutfield Foundation, U.K. he was instrumental in establishing the University’s Field Studies Centre at Mile 26, Ulu Gombak, Selangor, alongside the road crossing the main range of the Peninsula. While living in the area he became acquainted with the Temuan people whose lands crossed both sides of the Main Range, from the Malaysian states of Selangor into Pahang. He also made friends with members of the Semai community living near Kampar, Perak from whom several men came to staff the Ulu Gombak Field Studies Centre (Pusat Penyelid ikan Kajihayat Luar) in the late 1960's.

In 1970 the Earl of Cranbrook returned to his family home in Suffolk, England and became both involved in the management of the family farm and active in local, national and international public and voluntary service, and in the private sector. In 1978 he took the family title and seat in the House of Lords until 1999 when hereditary rights were abolished by the Act of 1999. He has been author (or co-author) and editor of books on the mammals, the birds, the tropical rainforest, and wonders of the natural world of the South-East Asian region, and of many scientific papers on these and related topics including Mammals of South-East Asia (1988), Wonders of Nature in South-East Asia (1997) as editor, and Swiftlets of Borneo: builders of edible nests (2002).

Publication Date



Keene State College


Keene, NH


Earl of Cranbrook, Orang Asli, Temuan, Malaysia, environmental biology, archaeozoology, Semai


Biology | Zoology

Earl of Cranbrook Collection