Kenyon, Karl W.

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Biographical History

Karl Walton Kenyon (1918-2007) was born on February 23, 1918, in La Jolla, California. He attended Pomona College from 1936 to 1940 and received his master's from Cornell in 1941. His academic studies ended when he was drafted into the military service during World War II. He served as a naval aviator in the Pacific. He was shot down in the Philippines and rescued at sea. After he was discharged he purchased a 25-sloop and spent two months exploring the coast of Baja California. Kenyon became an instructor of zoology at Mills College between 1947 and 1949. He then joined the Fish and Wildlife Service in Seattle. His first task was a census of the fur seals on the Pribilof Islands. In 1955, he started an intensive research project on sea otters in the Aleutian Islands. His work to develop proper handling techniques made it possible to re-establish the sea otter community in places where they were being extirpated. He also coauthored seminal works on breeding, distribution, and life history of Laysan and Black-footed albatrosses, and the Hawaiian Monk Seal. He was one of the first to document the ingestion of plastic by seabirds. Kenyon retired from federal service in 1973; a year after the Marine Mammal Protection Act went into effect. He was an accomplished wildlife photographer, water colorist, oil painter, and he wrote for popular magazines. His worked in conservation well after his retirement, focusing on the protection of sea mammals. He died on March 27, 2007.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service : He worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

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