Q&A With Sir David Attenborough for BBC Africa

On Wednesday this week, the legendary British broadcaster and conservationist Sir David Attenborough hosted a brief question and answer round on BBC Africa’s Twitter and Facebook platforms in promotion of his new series entitled ‘Africa’. The series, Attenborough’s last of such magnitude, examines six distinct ecological zones on the continent:  The Kalahari; The Savannah; The Congo; The Cape; The Sahara; and The Future.

Here are some staggering statistics about the epic production:

  • 196 hours were spent filming the series from a helicopter.
  • 553 cameras, 42 file formats, 21 types of cameras and over 1km of cabling was used.
  • 111 888 miles were covered over 905 hours of jungle trekking, 180 hours of mountain trekking, and 100 days on horseback.
  • The team spent a total of 1598 hours on location with 601 nights spent in tents.
  • In total. filming took four years with 79 separate expeditions to 27 different countries.

Incredible!

Users were able to submit questions to the great man using the #AskAttenborough tag. Here are some of the questions submitted and Sir David’s responses:

Have you encountered any animals over your career that have now gone extinct?

In Galapagos, there was the world’s loneliest animal Lonesome George –  the tortoise – who recently died. [read about Lonesome George here].

If you had an evening to spend on the Space Station, how would you spend it?

I’d just sit and watch the earth go by – its a perspective I’ve never had.

To go into a career in natural history documentary which is more useful – a science background or media?

I’d study Science first, Media later.

What was your favorite subject at school?

Biology. And my least favorite was Latin!

Have you got a favorite shark? If so what is it and why?

The whale shark… it’s the biggest fish in the sea and it doesn’t eat scuba divers!

What is the nastiest thing that has bitten you?

I was once bitten by a python. It was my fault, not his!

You seemed comfortable around all of the African animals; are there any that you don’t like or are scared of?

The spitting cobra.

How would you educate children to save wildlife? What can they do? My students ask me this ALL the time.

Being aware of what is happening in nature around the world… beyond your own home.

Have any of the African animals’ behaviors surprised you over the series?

The nest behavior of the shoebills was fascinating. The savagery of the giraffe battle was something we did not expect. And of course the socializing rhinos at night.

Is there anything you would say to your younger self looking back?

I don’t think I would have anything to say to him, I wouldn’t do anything differently.

Visit the BBC Africa series site here.

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Sir David encounters a young rhino calf.

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