Monday, September 22, 2008

David Attenborough Reveals Career Highlights

Two of David Attenborough's career highlights, as mentioned in this Mirror article, are his visit to Komodo back in the 50s and his famous encounter with the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda for his Life on Earth series.
We went to Indonesia in 1957 to find the Komodo dragon, which had never been filmed.

Today you can get to Komodo overnight, but it took us three months.
I had no intention of getting close to the gorillas. I was crawling along preparing to turn round then suddenly this thing appeared and put his hand on the top of my head and put his finger in my mouth. Then two baby gorillas came up and took off my shoes.

A lot of it wasn't filmed. The director told me afterwards he thought: "God, the gorilla's going to tear his head off... and we're only half way through the series."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Komodo Dragon hatching from a parthenogenetic egg

Here's a short video of a Komodo Dragon baby hatching from a parthenogenetic egg at the Sedgwick County Zoo from earlier this year.

And then...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Last Chance To See: The Return

Many thanks to Dave Haddock for spotting this article on HarperCollins have bought the right to publish the tie-in book of Last Chance To See - The Return as it airs on BBC2 in the autumn of 2009. Between now and then, Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine will be continuing their filming adventures to prepare for this eagerly anticipated TV series. Can't wait...
The book will feature their journeys, from Madagascar to Indonesia, as they search for a flightless parrot, a river dolphin, man-eating dragons, and an animal described as being "so bizarre it seems to have been assembled from bits of other animals". Fry and Carwardine will also talk to the campaigners who have tried to save these animals.

Fry enthused: "Having ­travelled with Mark Carwardine to the Amazon I can quite see why Douglas Adams so raved about his experiences. I might say: ‘I went to the Amazon with Mark where I broke my arm, but mended my heart'—but that would be to risk your vomit."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Year of the Gorilla - Book Giveaway

I've recently been re-reading an old hardback edition of George B.Schaller's book "The Year of the Gorilla". It is a very entertaining account of a Mountain Gorilla study expedition in the late 1950s and early 1960s. If anyone would like a chance to read it now that I'm done with it, please simply enter your name in this ContestMachine widget below. Or, if you know someone else who may be interested, do let them know. I'll pick a random winner in two weeks time. US readers only please. Contest closes Sat Sep 20 20:56:00 EDT 2008

Prize: Second-hand hardback edition of The Year of the Gorilla. The story of George B. Schaller's expedition to study Mountain Gorillas in 1959-60. It is as much an adventure story as a scientific analysis. From the riveting first encounter with a family of gorillas through the identification of several distinct groups, the gorilla's daily routine is revealed. Schaller's findings dispelled many long held myths about Gorilla behavior.