Television wildlife cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan will give an insight into filming some of the world’s most fearsome and majestic animals.
His recollections of globetrotting travels, accompanied by film footage, will be shared in his talk, Animal Families and Me, at Chesterfield's Winding Wheel Theatre on Sunday, November 3.
With a reputation for relishing dangerous and tough assignments, his tales of challenging expeditions make for a night not to be missed.
Gordon has presented a long list of BBC nature documentaries, including Equator from the Air in which he used helicopters, light aircraft, drones and satellite sensing to examine the environmental challenges facing the animals in those environments.
He said: “It was a shocking series to make. To see first hand the damage that’s being inflicted on the natural world. The extent of illegal logging in Brazil was most shocking, in that due to the richness of the Amazon we will be losing some species before we even know of their existence.
“While filming for the Equator from the Air series I was in a place called Misool in Raja Ampat (Indonesia). Not only are the people wonderful and the food delicious, the Misool area has some of the best coral reefs in the world. We had limited time so only managed two dives before leaving.”
The wildlife television personality is best known for his work on the Animal Family and Me series. These popular BBC programmes have seen him getting up close with snow wolves, elephants, bears, gorillas, polar bears and reindeer.
Gordon said that one of the most inhospitable places he has visited for work was the high Arctic. “A little mistake can prove fatal, but in a way that’s what I love about it,” he said. “You have to think constantly about what could possibly go wrong and plan ahead for worst-case scenarios. You need the right clothes, the right equipment and know what to do should things take a turn for the worse.”
Which of the species on the endangered lists does he feel are most at risk? “The loss of forests in Malaysia and Indonesia has greatly reduced orangutan numbers, but more worrying than that for me are the millions of sharks killed internationally every year. We tend to care more about animals like orangutans than we do sharks, but the threat to shark species is greater.”
His work abroad has presented Gordon with the opportunity to try unusual food. “In the past while living and working with local and tribal people I’ve eaten what they eat,” he said. “So things like rat, monkey, snake, pig’s testicles, tortoises, armadillo, spiders and ants have been on the menu. I’ve cut down the amount of meat that I eat. If you can be 90 per cent vegan, I’m 90 per cent vegan!”
Gordon has presented a long list of other BBC nature documentaries, including Life in the Snow, Life in Polar Bear Land, Tribes, Predators and Me, Winterwatch, The Lost Land series Wild Burma as well as appearing on Planet Earth 2 with Sir David Attenborough. More mainstream entertainment projects include Super Cute Furry Animals and Into the Wild with Gordon Buchanan, taking celebrities Alastair Campbell, Dermot O’Leary, Ed Byrne, John Simpson and Sara Cox all around the UK exploring Britain’s beautiful wildlife.
He has had a lifelong interest in animals and a fascination for those in the wild, either in the flesh or on television. He said: “I find being around animals very calming. You can get lost in their behaviour or just enjoy their beauty.”
Tickets for his talk on Sunday cost £22.90. Book online at www.chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk. or call 01246 345222.