The Countryman's Weekly

Sporting History

Sporting History
May 27
07:08 2020

John Reeves – East India Company tea inspector and naturalist

By Tim Weston.

ALL of us who shoot are familiar with the species we hunt: pheasants, partridge, grouse, duck and deer. But there are many different species and subspecies within those animals which we actively go to shoot or shoot to manage.

The Reeves’s muntjac deer is one such species which springs to mind. There’s another animal which shares its name with the Reeves’s muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) and that is the Reeves’s pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii).

There are several other animals which share the reevesii name; Gekko reevesii, Leiolepis reevesii, Mauremys reevesii and Scincella reevesii are all types of lizards. These can all be attributed to John Reeves who was an East India Company tea inspector in the 1800s.

John went to China in 1812 and on arrival started immediately sending back snippets of information about manufactures, plants, poetry, goods, gods and tea to Sir Joseph Banks, an English naturalist, botanist and patron of the natural sciences. Sir Joseph made his name on the 1766 natural history expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador and was involved with the Natural History Museum in London.

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