I have been a wildlife enthusiast, some would say obsessive, since I had the good fortune to visit Kruger National Park when I was twelve. The two-and-a-half days I spent in the park were part of a school trip. I still have vivid memories of the experience, which included bumping into a male Impala in the camp. There was less than two-meters between us and, being only 12 years-old, it was easily as tall as I was. Even though it was well armed with impressive horns, I can’t remember feeling scared. I do remember a buzz of excitement which may have been the trigger for my love of wildlife.
Fast forward to 2000 when I first launched talk: Wildlife. My aim was to raise awareness about conservation projects that I felt were not as well-known as they should be. At the time, three species in particular caught my attention and led me to three excellent, but very different charities.
The first was Dinofish, a charity for protecting the Coelacanth. The second was the Iberian Lynx. At the time (2000) there were only 150 of these enigmatic cats left in the wild. It’s reassuring to see the numbers have grown but this is still a critically endangered species.
Finally, there was the Jocotoco Antpitta. Only discovered in 1997 in the Ecuadorian Andes, this bird is described as looking like a melon on pogo sticks. It came to my attention when the World Land Trust published a story about it being discovered on land they had purchased. I was fascinated by the fact that such an amazing bird could stay undiscovered for so long! The story also alerted me to the work of the World Land Trust – what better way of protecting species than buying and managing the land they live on.
talk: Wildlife has been through a few formats and now, following a short hiatus, I have relaunched it (March 2020). I am still very passionate about wildlife and get a real kick out of talking to people about it. Whether it be talking to schools and visitors to Pensthorpe Natural Park, where I am the Wildlife Education Officer, family and friends or other like-minded people I meet. I am hoping the site will provide me a platform for doing more of it.
WingSearch 2020 – People who make a difference
I was flattered to be included in this feature on the WingSearch 2020 website.