Recently I had the opportunity to meet Sir David Attenborough in London, thanks to a great friend of mine from the UoLeeds Masters, Leanna Dixon.
It was one of his annual talks and this year had the theme of urban wildlife. You could meet him too by joining the World Land Trust (www.worldlandtrust.org) for the latest information. In David Attenborough’s own words, “The money that is given to the World Land Trust, in my estimation, has more effect on the wild world than almost anything I can think of.”
Here are a few top quality moments from the afternoon in a Q and A session.
Q: What is the rarest thing you have ever seen?
A: I know exactly the rarest thing, the Pinta Island tortoise. The very last one of its species. I was lucky enough to meet him, and then again in 2012 two weeks before he died.
Q: What is the most dangerous animal you have been with?
A: Man. More specifically, a man who doesn’t speak your language, drunk and with a gun. It happens more than you would think!
Q: What has been your most memorable adventure?
A: There are many, one of the most unforgettable would be underwater diving in the Great Barrier Reef. You can go up or down, left or right, and be surrounded by so many different fish.
There were other questions too, including GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), favourite animal (“it changes every day, today… it is Seaweed pipefish*.”), education in urban wildlife, how to get closer to nature, how to get into a conservation/filming career, invasive species (“I for one, welcome the ring-tailed parakeet. They are beautiful to see visiting your garden bird table.”) and a fantastic answer to a question on why there are flightless birds.
*There was mention of “seaweed” and “fish”, I think this is the one he said?
It was David Attenborough’s birthday 8 days prior to this event, and someone surprised him with a birthday cake as a gift. How kind is that? There was also a chap who brought in a chameleon which I think he liked very much.