Rollo Gebhard, one of the great adventurers of our time and a pioneer in dolphin conservation, has left for his last journey. The founder and president of the German Society for the Conservation (GRD) of Dolphins died at the age of 92 at his home in Bad Wiessee, Bavaria/Germany.
The oceans were his home for over 50 years. His love and passion for the oceans and their inhabitants made him a tireless defender of this “home”, committed to protect the marine environment from reckless exploitation and destruction.
A life dedicated to the conservation of dolphins and their habitats
Deeply shocked by the millions of dolphins dying in the driftnets of the tuna fisheries, Rollo and his wife Angelika founded GRD in 1991 and have since established many dolphin and marine conservation projects around the world.
Rollo was active almost right up to his death, fully committed to animal welfare and the conservation of the environment. He determinedly fought against driftnets - a terrible fishing method that caused the senseless deaths of hundreds of thousands of dolphins and other marine animals as by-catch each year, and played a vital role in securing the EU ban on driftnet fishing which took effect on January 1, 2002.
He introduced the International Dolphin-Safe Monitoring Program/SAFE in Germany over 20 years ago. It was the first of its kind and is still vital today in eliminating dolphin by-catch in the tuna fisheries.
"Dolphins can’t cry for help, but we can lend them our voices, make sure their plight doesn’t go unnoticed and help where help is urgently needed," said Rollo, explaining his commitment to save the dolphins.
One of the last great adventurers has left Earth’s shore
Rollo Gebhard was the first German to sail single-handed around the world – in a 7.20-meter boat (1967–1970 und 1975–79)! Nobody ever succeeded in doing that with a smaller boat. In 1983 he set out for his third world circumnavigation – this time with Angelika, his girlfriend and later wife. Their seven-year journey included a non-stop tour from Australia to Emden, a town and seaport in northwestern Germany.
Rollo has been awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit and has received highest sailing awards such as the "Trans-Ocean Prize". He is the author of numerous books and TV documentaries.
Rollo passed away peacefully after Christmas at his home in Bad Wiessee at Lake Tegernsee following a stroke. The official memorial ceremony and funeral will be held on February 7, 2014, 3 p.m., in Gmund at Lake Tegernsee.
We miss him. His passing will leave a huge gap.
The song of the sea ends at the shore or in the hearts of those who listen to it. (from Samoa)
Bad Wiessee /Munich, January 2, 2014