Edward Oswald Shebbeare

Edward Oswald Shebbeare (3 March 1884 – 11 August 1964) was a British mountaineer, naturalist and forester who served in the Indian Forest Service.[1] He was a member of the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition and the deputy leader and transport officer of the 1933 expedition. He also served as transport officer on the 1929 German Kanchenjunga expedition.[2] In 1928, he was a founding member of The Himalayan Club. He was also a keen naturalist, particularly interested in rhinoceros and elephant conservation. In 1940, he was the founding president of the Malayan Nature Society.[3]

E.O. Shebbeare in the 1930s


Shebbeare was born in Yorkshire, son of reverend C.H. Shebbeare, vicar of Wykeham. He was educated at Charterhouse School and then trained at the Royal Indian Engineering College, Cooper's Hill from 1903 to 1906. He then joined the Imperial Forestry Service on 5th November 1906, eventually becoming chief conservator of forests for Bengal. He was also particularly active in wildlife conservation, securing legal protection for the Indian rhinoceros. In the 1930s, Shebbeare helped the Swedish nature photographer Bengt Berg carry out a pioneering camera-trap expedition to photograph the wildlife of Bengal (a photograph by Berg illustrates this article).[4] In 1938, after leaving India, Shebbeare was appointed Chief Game Warden of British Malaya.[5] During the Japanese occupation of Malaya he was imprisoned in Singapore and after the war he resumed his position as Game Warden, eventually retiring to England in 1947.[6]

On his participation on the Mount Everest expeditions, he said "they only took me because I knew and liked the porters (Sherpas and Tibetans), not because I could climb".[7]

He married A. A. Cameron (d. 1962) in 1916 and they had a daughter.[8]

Cover of Shebbeare's 1958 novel, Soondar Mooni


Shebbeare wrote a novel, Soondar Mooni, from the unusual perspective of an Indian elephant.[9] He also wrote several scientific papers on forestry in India,[10][11][12][13][14] as well as on wildlife conservation.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

Other papersEdit

  • Shebbeare, E.O., 1947. The Senoi of Malaya. Man, 168.
  • Shebbeare, E.O., Roy, A.N. and Tyndale, H., 1948. The Great one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis L). Jour. Bengal Nat. Hist. Soc, 22(3).
  • Shebbeare, E.O. and Rao, V.S., 1958. Soondar Mooni. Indian Forester, 84(11), pp. 693–696.


  1. ^ Westaway, Jonathan (2018). "Thinking Like a Mountain: The Life and Career of E. O. Shebbeare". The Alpine Journal. 122.
  2. ^ Westaway, Jonathan. "How German climbers in the 1930s conquered the Himalayas". Reaction. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  3. ^ Seow, Ashleigh. "Shebbeare: On the Shoulders of Giants". Malaysian Naturalist. 64 (1): 34–37.
  4. ^ Westaway, Jonathan (2019). "Thinking Like a Mountain - The Life and Career of Edward Oswald Shebbeare". Malayan Nature Journal. Special Edition 2019: 8. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  5. ^ Westaway, Jonathan (2018). "Thinking Like a Mountain: The Life and Career of E. O. Shebbeare" (PDF). The Alpine Journal. 122: 212.
  6. ^ Risoe, V. S. (1965). "Obituary". The Himalayan Journal. 26. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  7. ^ Shebbeare, E. O. (1958). Soondar Mooni: The Life of an Indian Elephant. Houghton Mifflin.
  8. ^ "Editorials". The Commonwealth Forestry Review. 43 (4 (118)): 269–284. 1964. ISSN 0010-3381. JSTOR 42603218.
  9. ^ E.P.G. (December 1958). "Reviews: Soondar Mooni. By E. O. Shebbeare. Victor Gollancz, Ltd.London. 18s". Oryx. 4 (6): 385–386. doi:10.1017/S0030605300040138. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  10. ^ Shebbeare, E. O. (1928). "Fire protection and fire control in India". Third British Empire Forestry Conference, Canberra.
  11. ^ Shebbeare, E. O. (1930). "Linear Sample Plots". Indian Forester. 56 (4): 172–173.
  12. ^ Shebbeare, E. O. (1932). "Sal Taungyas in Bengal". Empire Forestry Journal. 11 (1): 18–33.
  13. ^ Shebbeare, E. O. (1934). "The conifers of the Sikkim Himalaya and adjoining country". Indian Forester. 60 (10): 710–713.
  14. ^ Shebbeare, E. O. (1946). "Northern Bengal taungyas". Empire Forestry Review. 25 (1): 32–35.
  15. ^ Shebbeare, E.O. (1933). "The episode of the Darejeeling Bison". Journal of the Bengal Natural History Society. 8 (2): 65–67.
  16. ^ Shebbeare, E.O. (1935). "Protecting the Great Indian Rhinoceros". Field. 5 (18).
  17. ^ Shebbeare, E.O. (1953). "Status of the three Asiatic Rhinoceros". Oryx. 2 (3): 141–9. doi:10.1017/S0030605300036139.
  18. ^ Shebbeare, E.O. (1946). "Malayan National Park". Journal of the Society for the Preservation of the Fauna of the Empire. 53.
  19. ^ Shebbeare, E.O. (1940). "An Elephant Trek". Malayan Nature Journal. 1.
  20. ^ Shebbeare, E.O. (1937). "Occurrence of Psammophis condanarus in Berar". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 39: 871.