FYI, a brief bio of pioneer Bigfoot hunter and longtime conservationist, Peter Byrne.

Peter Byrne

International Wildlife Conservation Society Website:

Peter is a naturalized American citizen whose great interest in wildlife began in the countryside of Ireland, where he was born and grew up. When he was eighteen he joined the British Air Force and served for four years in combat service in World War II. When the war ended, he joined a British tea company in north Bengal and spent five years living and working in the great forests of north India, terrain that teemed with wildlife in those years.

In 1953 he left his tea industry work and walked from Darjeeling to Katmandu, 350 miles, to start a safari company. He ran this as a professional hunter in south west Nepal for eighteen years, before returning his hunting concession back to the Nepalese government and offering to turn it into protected area. To this end, in 1968, and to generate funding to create the new reserve, he founded, with four others – two doctors and two attorneys – the International Wildlife Conservation Society Inc., and had it registered in Washington D.C. as a not-for-profit foundation with 501 © 3 tax status.

Peter Byrne, Nepal, 1957 (credit: Peter Byrne)

Returning to Nepal he spent a year encamped in the area that is today the Sukila Phanta (The White Grass Plains, or WGP) Wildlife Reserve and, working with local labor, demarcated and mapped the whole area, built roads and bridges, trained guards in wildlife protection work and provided equipment. Since that time he has spent part of every winter in the reserve, either working on conservation projects or running eco tours with clients as a means of raising money for these projects.

He is a Member of the Academy of Applied Science of Boston, MA, a Member Emeritus of the Explorers Club of New York and, since 1968, Executive Director of the International Wildlife Conservation Society.

The society was originally created for the purpose of creating a protected park out of part of a big game hunting concession operated by Peter Byrne from 1953 to 1968. The result of the society’s work is the Sukila Phanta Wildlife Reserve. Originally designed to encompass 60,000 acres, the park in recent years has been increased in size to 200,000 acres and, mainly because of its remoteness, has remained pristine and unspoiled, as well as only minimally explored.

Sukila Phanta Wildlife Reserve (photo: Peter Byrne)

The park now provides habitat for more than sixty species of mammals, three hundred and fifty species of birds, approximately twenty-seven species of fish in its jungle rivers and a large number of reptiles, including two species of saurian, and giant monitor lizards.

Peter is a principal character in my nonfiction book “Anatomy of a Beast: Obsession and Myth on the Trail of Bigfoot.” He hunted the yeti in Nepal beginning in the late 1940s. While on a yeti expedition in 1957 he received word that a large humanoid similar to the yeti had been reported in California. He hiked to Katmandu and caught a plane to America. So began the saga of Bigfoot.

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