Special Correspondent, UDSM Zoology and Wildlife Conservation Department,
The University of Dar es Salaam community mourns the passing on of Kim Monroe Howell, a distinguished Professor of Zoology, whose exemplary works in research, consultancy, teaching, supervision of students at the University spanned more than 50 years since 1970.
According to the Head of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation Department, Dr. Flora Stephano, among the significant academic contributions of Prof. Howell, who passed away on 1st October 2022, was the discovery of amphibians, including the Kihansi Spray Toad Nectophrynoides asperginis, Phrynobatrachus udzungwensis, Arthroleptides yakusini and bat Rhinolophus maendeleo, and many other mammal species new to science.
“Some animal species were given his name in his honour such as gecko Lygodactylus kimhowelli. His major research area was on biodiversity inventory, ecology and conservation of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, analysis and management of live animal trade and the biology of selected invertebrates of eastern Africa”, said Dr. Stephano.
Dr. Stephano further explained that Prof. Howell authored and co-authored over 90 scientific papers, 7 books and 18 books chapters in his area of specialization, which include important field guides to the amphibians and reptiles of East Africa that are extensively used. “His extensive contribution on the Environmental Impact Assessment of biodiversity on several initiated projects such as gold mines in Tanzania will forever be remembered as well”.
Professor Howell joined the then Department of Zoology and Marine Biology in 1970 which was later renamed the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation. He climbed the academic ladder to the rank of Full Professor. He retired from the University duties in 2016.
Apart from teaching, Prof. Howell served other various duties including participation in committees, acting as a member of editorial board of the then Tanzania Science Journal and Dar es Salaam University Press, and as a co-coordinator of ENRECA and Frontier-Tanzania programmes. He also served in the coordination of Botany and Zoology Network (BOZONET), Africa Region Animals Committee representative to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Prof. Howell was also a Co-Chair, Declining Amphibian Population Task Force for Tanzania, Former representative in Tanzania of the International Council for the Preservation of Birds (now Birdlife), and Chairperson of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission African Reptile and Amphibian Specialist Group.
He also received several awards and grants including Leverhulme, Critical Ecosystem Partnership and Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment programmes.
He was born in Syracuse, New York, USA on 15 September 1945 and attained his Bachelor of Science at Cornell University, 1967 and a PhD at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1976.
“Ooh! This is very sad news. Sorry for the family, Zoology department and, indeed, to us who were once his students”, said Dr. Catherine Masao of the UDSM Institute of Resource Assessment.