Condolences have flooded in from around the world to the family of Anton Rupert, who died in his sleep at the age of 89 on January 19, 2005. A business tycoon noted for his contributions to the environment, Rupert was one of the founders of the South African chapter of the World Wide Fund for Nature and was instrumental in establishing the Peace Parks Foundation.
Environmental Affairs and Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said, “His passing marks the end of an era in global conservation.” He remarked that Rupert’s “most lasting legacy to the world will be the fruits of his passionate commitment to conservation.”
World Conservation Union (IUCN) president Valli Moosa said that conservationists around the world will remember Rupert fondly, and offered condolences to his family on behalf of the IUCN and its affiliated organisations and scientists.
“He will be remembered warmly as one of the few industrialists the world has seen who has been able to combine his business sector with global environmental imperatives.” Rupert founded the Rothmans International tobacco company, which became one of the largest tobacco companies in the world.
He has been repeatedly described as being ahead of his time, and one of the businessmen who supported the end of apartheid and transformation in the business sector in South Africa.