Nat Geo WILD – Inspiring Discussions

Filed in Events, In the Press on Sep.28, 2017

With my travel bag barely unpacked from my several days away in beautiful Portugal as part of the Waves International event I headed to London this week as one of the invited panel of experts for a filmed debate for National Geographic, and specifically their channel Nat Geo Wild and partners ,The Week magazine. This thought-provoking and inspiring panel discussion focused on the some of the themes that will be explored in the two upcoming programmes – Paradise Islands and Photo Ark, both streaming on National Geographic in October.

Paradise Islands is a fascinating three-part series exploring the fascinating diversity of life that has developed over millions of years on these islands. The first episode Born of Fire visits the islands of Indonesia, Malaysia and New Guinea, a home to the beautiful and bizarre. This is a world where birds hatch from active volcanoes, pigs enjoy a bout of boxing and kangaroos climb trees. Future episodes are, Creatures of the Moon and Sun Kings will explore the rainforests and visit a world where fish live inside trees, insects light up the darkest of nights, and crabs dance.

The aim of the filmed discussion promoted via the official website, and the magazine throughout October, was to generate some vibrant conversation between experts, columnists, photographers and famous explorers and engage the readers and audience into the topic of wildlife and its diversity. The venue selected, the Clapham Tram studio was amazing, a green oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle in East London.

Paradise Island will explore the small islands that lie between Asia and Australia that can claim to be the biologically richest on earth. The fascinating diversity of life is due to the many millions of years that these islands have remained in the tropics almost untouched. Paradise Islands starts on Sunday, October 1st at 6pm on Nat Geo WILD.

Photo Ark series present viewers with an opportunity to get a real close imagery and shots of some of the most endangered species, and highlights the importance of documenting and photographing them. Showing us what we will lose if we don’t act now.

It was a fascinating discussion and very inspiring for me to hear from the other chosen experts about their experiences, passion and travels adding such a variety to the whole discussions. The panel of experts chosen by National geographic and their partners were as follows;

Benedict Allen, a highly respected explorer and famous for his technique of immersing himself among indigenous peoples around the globe.

Adrian Cale, a highly experienced producer, director, cameraman who has travelled around the globe making natural history programmes for the likes of ITV, National Geographic and the BBC.

Will Burrard-Lucus, a wildlife photographer from the UK who uses innovation and technology to achieve fresh perspectives of the natural world.

Nisha Owen the programme manger of ZSL’s Edge of Existence programme, who brought an amazing wealth of knowledge and science to the discussions.

The two main questions of the discussion were –

Do mass extinctions matter? : To complement Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark documentary series, The Week will host a lively debate on extinctions and their impact on broader ecosystems. Our expert panel will discuss which animals are most at risk, what is being done to protect them and the consequences for the world and its human inhabitants.

If you could preserve the flora and fauna of just one island or nation, which would it be? : This will be the starting question for our second debate, which links to the National Geographic series Paradise Islands. The panellists will be invited to talk about their own travels, research and experiences, and discuss the interdependence of the weird, wild and wonderful creatures that inhabit the Earth.

I spoke about some of the amazing people and conservation projects I’d seen on my travels and what they are doing to save the wildlife and their habitats. I covered the beautiful Indonesian island of Sumatra which I’ve visited many times and returning soon. Its home to four of the worlds rarest animals; Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Elephant and Sumatran Orangutans. They live in one of the worlds must beautiful and diverse rainforest regions on the planet that is sadly being raised to the ground at an alarming rate for palm oil.

I also spoke about the issues facing the wildlife on Sumatra, one such issue regarding the Sumatran Orangutans that are sold illegally into the pet trade. My images were used to help tell one such story that was covered in a previous issue of National Geographic magazine that you can see here. More of this work and projects I spoke about on camera can be seen on my conservation page of my website.

The venue for this discussion and the event was amazing to be part of, talking alongside some very inspiring people on the panel. Thank you to the wonderful and very professional team that looked after us all on the day also. The short films we did will be released in a few weeks to coincide with the release of these programmes on NatGeo Wild. I will share these on my blog and my social media platforms once they go live, many thanks.

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