Obituary: Dr. Margaretha Pangau-Adam

Dr. Margaretha Pangau-Adam, former student, Postdoc and guest researcher at the Department of Conservation Biology, University of Göttingen, Germany, and Senior Lecturer in Biology and Anthropology at Cenderawasih University, Papua, Indonesia, passed away in Mahembang, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. She leaves behind her husband and her daughter.
Margaretha completed both her Master and PhD at Göttingen University to which she remained affiliated for 27 years (since 1996). Her career was that of a Tropical Ecologist and Wildlife Biologist with a focus on the Central and Eastern Indonesian archipelago and Papua. After her PhD on avian nest predation on Sulawesi, she shifted her focus towards human hunting and the conservation ecology of large birds such as the brush turkeys, cassowaries and ground pigeons of Papua. She studied the diets of these large, ground-dwelling birds and documented effects of human hunting and habitat change on these enigmatic species. She was also a very important facilitator for research in the region, allowing for major discoveries such as e.g. on the effects of biogeographic barriers on mammal abundance, the hunting skills of indigenous people, the systematic relationships of the highland wild dogs of Papua, and the systematic conservation planning on Papua. Her most current research activities were on the role of the introduced rusa deer on Papua for local hunting and its potential effects on the vegetation and native vertebrates. She also bridged the continental gap for students, by facilitating exchange between Indonesian and German universities, organizing summer schools and taking students to the field. She also provided to Göttingen university students population data so that they could improve their analytical and modelling skills during their winter course work.
Margaretha was well connected with internationally active organizations such as the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, and the German International Cooperation GIZ. She was a Research Ambassador for DAAD, and also worked for GIZ’s Forests and Climate Project FORCLIM in Papua. As a conservationist she was well regarded by all her contacts, allowing her to build an important network between people, and was able to convince decision makers at all societal levels. As a trustworthy, honest and deeply religious person she had best relationships with local communities. She appreciated, and even loved, the hard work in the field, and was an inspiring optimist. Her sudden and unexpected death at a young age is hitting everyone who knew her very hard.

Our team offers our deepest condolences for the passing of Dr. Margaretha Pangau Adam. Margaretha, beristirahat dalam damai! Margaretha, rest in peace!

Matthias Waltert