Peter was born on 22 August 1925 in Dublin, Ireland. He was raised with three siblings on their family estate in Ireland. In 1943 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force and was stationed in the East Indian Ocean on the Cocos Islands off Australia where he served with distinction until the end of the war.
When the war ended Peter became a tea planter in northeast India. After a serendipitous encounter in Bombay, he became friends with the King of Nepal’s brother and was granted property in Nepal where Peter conducted hunting safaris in the White Grass Plains of western Nepal.
In 1968, after 18 years of big game hunting, he turned to conservation in Nepal where he convinced the government to create a wildlife preserve, and eventually establish the Sukila Phanta National Park. He also pioneered Nepal river rafting, and trekking expeditions on many of his trips to the country.
During the Nepal years, Peter also established the non-profit International Wildlife Conservation Society. In the interests of the Society, he traveled globally and through his magnetic personality, established many friends and gained honors, among them a Fellowship of the Royal Geographical Society and membership in the Explorers Club of New York. But, spiritually, he was forever drawn to Nepal and the Himalayas, with his last trip to Nepal thought to be in 2012.
In Nepal, Peter was sought after by Texan Tom Slick. Slick financed a two year Byrne Himalayan expedition to find the fabled yeti. After few results were found of the yeti, in 1960 Slick brought Peter to northern California and the Pacific Northwest USA to track Bigfoot. That search unfortunately ended with Slick’s sudden death in an airplane crash in 1962.
Thereafter, Peter conducted two other, long and well-funded northern Oregon Bigfoot projects. Again, with no physical evidence of Bigfoot, those projects ended in the late 1990s. Peter then moved to Los Angeles, but after never really feeling at home in the overcrowded city, he retired to a home on the banks of the Nestucca River in Pacific City, Oregon.
In Pacific City, Peter continued to write the remainder of his 20 books. He also wandered the mountains of the Coastal Range with friends in his continuing quest for sightings of Bigfoot.
Peter Cyril Byrne passed away peacefully on 28 July 2023 in Tillamook, Oregon. He is survived by his daughter Rara Byrne now living in Perth, Australia, his sister Beryl Greene of Maidenhead, England, and his life partner of more than 25 years, Cathy Griffin, who is now living in Pacific City, Oregon in the cabin they shared.
Remembrances: A journalism scholarship is being established in Peter’s honour.
Peter Cyril Byrne (1925-2023)
By placing a booking, you are permitting us to store and use your (and any other attendees) details in order to fulfil the booking.
We will not use your details for marketing purposes without your explicit consent.
You must be a member holding a valid Society membership to view the content you are trying to access. Please login to continue.
Join us today, Society membership is open to anyone with a passion for geography
Cookies on the RGS website