Sad news. Doug Coughran AM passed away early Thursday morning.
Doug was a very close friend and mentor.
He had a huge heart and was a wonderful human being.
He was an incredible wildlife photographer and Naturalist.
He taught me things I never knew right up until the day he passed away.
Doug was the leader of what is known today, as the Department of Biodiversity and Attractions – Parks & Wildlife Service’s Large Whale Disentanglement Team, until his recent retirement.
Doug and his wonderful associates in the Department pioneered whale rescue techniques in Australia and over his life-time at work saved more than 70 whales from drowning at sea in ropes and nets. You couldn’t meet a more motivated, resourceful, hard-working, passionate and humble man.
Doug was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. He co-authored 18 scientific papers!
Over the last 3 years Doug helped Sea Dog TV International photograph our latest film on Rottnest Island for Nat Geo Wild. We had an amazing time. He was indefatigable. He discovered new animal behaviour. He loved the island and as a child swam and roamed free there!
I can’t believe I will never see him again or share time on the water with him again.
Doug was reserved, but underneath he was ecstatic as it proved to him that whales can survive being rescued from entanglements and verified his life-work.
Doug’s contribution to the conservation of the marine environment in Western Australia is significant and he will be sorely missed.
Rest in Peace Doug – we’re all going to miss you.
Leighton De Barros