Planet Earth and the Natural World

A series of astonishing film/documentaries by the Volta Cine Club about four natural scientists who greatly expanded our knowledge of life on planet earth.

Jane Goodall (16 October, Life with the chimpanzees) was born in 1934,  graduated in Cambridge (Newnham College) and spent over 45 years of her subsequent life studying the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park (Tanzania) and revolutionised our understanding of these topics. She is a leading figure on issues of conservation and animal welfare.

Shaun Ellis (23 October, The Wolfman) was born in 1967 near King's Lynn in Norfolk and began observing wild animals at a young age, learning to use his sense of smell and sound to find his way at night when studying foxes and badgers. After serving several years with the Royal Marines he met a Native American biologist at a wolf seminar and joined as a volunteer in a project studying wolves at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. He has made major contributions to the study of the behaviour of wolves and their social structure.

Dian Fossey (30 October, Mountain Gorillas Lost Film) was born in 1932 and died in 1985). She was an American zoologist who undertook extensive field work on gorillas over a period of 18 years in Rwanda. With Jane Goodall and Birutė Galdikas, she was part of the so-called Leakey's Angels, a group of three prominent researchers on primates (Fossey on gorillas; Goodall on chimpanzees; and Galdikas on orangutans) encoreged by anthropologist Louis Leakey to study great apes in their natural environments.  She made outstanding contributions to the study of the social life of gorillas and paid with her life her opposition to poachers, lobbyists and government people with strong financial interests in the exploitation of gorillas.

David Attenborough (6 November, 60 Years in the Wild) studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge (Clare College) and Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics. For over 60 years he has studied natural life and his early association with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) enabled him to become one of the most respected and successful figures in the world of public understanding of the natural world and science.


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