But few imagine now that a neighbor is likely to turn up with Mr. Beard in tow, bringing him back to his estate where only last month, he was photographed, smiling as he held his first grandchild, Daisy, a girl born seven weeks ago to Zara Beard.
Certainly the conditions would be challenging if he had become disoriented and lost in the woods. Physically, older people are more sensitive to dehydration, a condition that can worsen cognitive impairment, and hypothermia, said Peter V. Rabins, founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital’s division of geriatric psychiatry.
In recent days, his family has spoken out only sparingly about the disappearance, and his wife not at all. But in a statement earlier this week, a spokesman for the family said that, though members “continue to hope and pray for his safety, they have been advised that each passing day darkens the prospect of his safe return. It is most important to the family that at this confusing and uncertain time Peter be thought of as the person he is and the way he has always lived: an extraordinary artist, an insatiable traveler, a hero of the conservation movement, a lover of life, of Africa, of adventure, of his family and friends.”
In a brief interview earlier this month, Zara Beard, 31, had expressed a “bountiful thank you” to those who were helping to search for her father.
“Ultimately, I think the most important thing to relate to anybody is that we love him,” she said. “We love him the way he loved us, which is the way he loved his work, the way he loved life, with passion and with no conditions.”