Can Wildlife TV Change The World?

As with all popular culture, different television genres have had their turn in the limelight depending on the mood of the nation (who knows what Britain was going through to allow ‘Eldorado’ to air!). But, the one field of programming that has been admired throughout the decades is Natural History. The reason for its everlasting popularity is man’s primitive need to understand the workings of nature and the behaviour of animals in order to survive. Now, in the sterile urban world that we have created, wildlife TV might be the only interaction with the natural world that modern, city dwellers have.

David BTSMy personal infatuation with wildlife watching came at a very young age on a suburban sofa. I was transfixed by the colourful and dramatic images appearing on my television in Kent. Sir David Attenborough showed me creatures more bizarre than even my childhood imagination could invent and I ached to explore these places that I now knew existed but had never seen with my own eyes. These programmes are the sole reason that I continued to study science at school, the reason that I started a career in wildlife filmmaking myself and the reason I’m currently trying to inspire more people to immerse themselves in nature in their time off work.

Big Blue LiveBig Blue Live is currently on air on the BBC from Monterey Bay, California. This series enables viewers to experience all of the marine highlights in the area, learn about the biology of the mammals, fish and birds, and try whale watching without even stepping foot on a boat. I can almost guarantee that by the end of this week, there will be a huge spike in the number of people booking a holiday to Monterey. This is where I believe wildlife TV has the chance to change the world. Already the whale-watching industry is worth about $2 billion a year (far more than the whaling industry) and if this continues to increase, the simple economics will guarantee the conservation of the great whales. The people who have been inspired by TV to book a wildlife watching holiday are contributing to the conservation of endangered animals by making those species worth more alive than dead.

I believe that wildlife television CAN change the world. It has the potential to inspire young (and not so young) people to study, explore and protect wildlife throughout our planet. Nothing can replicate the experience of being with a wild animal, but as a taster, these programmes are more valuable to the future of our planet than they are given credit for.

Riddle me this… Catherine Capon

Up close and personal with the British Adventurer, Naturalist and Environmental Activist


If you knew then what you know now, would you still do it?
If I knew before embarking on my ecotourism project that I would vomit in front of a boat full of South African men, get multiple leech bites in Malaysia, break my leg, suffer severe dehydration, almost get arrested in Mexico and have a Gorilla urinate on my head, would I still have gone? Absolutely, 100 times over! Lifetime experiences aren’t always plain sailing.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Find a way to be paid for something you are passionate about and you will always be fulfilled in your career.

What’s the weirdest rumour you’ve ever heard about yourself?

That I’m dating Leonardo DiCaprio. Although I’m pretty sure I started that one!

What was your biggest break?
I’d say my biggest break came when I took a huge risk. I moved back in with my parents and took a job with a significant pay cut. I felt I had nothing to lose and found a career path that truly excited me.

Do you consider yourself lucky?
I was lucky enough to be born into a country where I can travel freely and gain a fantastic education; so absolutely yes. On a day to day basis I think If you are a positive person you can see luck around you every day.

What most important in your life?
Free wifi! Just kidding! To learn constantly, to try to be content in every moment and aim to make a positive difference to the planet and people who I come into contact with.

What brands do you admire?
I admire any brands who incorporate improving people’s lives and minimising environmental impact into their brand strategy. Any brand who is only about making profit in this day and age won’t last long with the power of social media letting consumers have their say. I also admire brand in the ‘sharing’ space like AirBnB and ZipCar and those that use waste products to create new items. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the Virgin group and the work that Virgin Unite has undertaken in the past years is hugely admirable.

Do you have a guilty pleasure and if so, what is it?
My guilty pleasure is that I love dressing up and doing my hair and makeup. I spend so much time being sweaty in rainforests or salty in a wetsuit that it’s a real treat to feel preened and girly every now and then.

Describe your personal sense of style.
When travelling I’d say I’m functional with a hint on glam.  At 5’2″ I’m in heels wherever possible!

This article was originally published in Riddle Magazine