First Person

Finding inspiration in rediscovery

I love what I do. I’ve been a naturalist since childhood, and I was lucky enough to grow up in the wilds of west Dorset where the woodlands, coastlines and hills gave me everything I needed to explore my fascination with wildlife and the natural world. In school, the only subject which interested me was art, so that is all I studied up to university, which is where I started to combine these two passions. Since then, I’ve been incredibly…

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On the path of the Spreadwing

We were threading on a narrow foot path, running across a rainforest leading to the Adam’s Peak mountain, the most sacred mountain in Sri Lanka and the fourth highest in the country. Our team of five naturalists was ascending the mountain slowly as we were frequently held by interesting animals, beautiful sceneries of forests, mountains and streams or by occasional heavy rains. The Peak Wilderness Mountain range has always amazed me. The vast forest ranges covering the misty mountains reaching…

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Searching for the Santa Marta Toro: A tale of a Roach & a Rat

Off the coast of northern Colombia lies a formidable mountain, which towers over the small Caribbean city of Santa Marta. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (SNSM) is the tallest coastal mountain range in the world, rising from sea level to over 5,700 m. Older than the Andes, the Sierra Nevada’s dramatic topography has made this mountain the crown jewel of the Colombian coastline. Aside from its majestic beauty, the SNSM boasts high levels of cultural and biological diversity. There…

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Searching for the Southern Sea Otter

This is an oldie but goodie for the Lost and Found archives. In a letter dated February 2nd, 1915 to the California Department of Fish and Game, lighthouse keeper John W. Astrom reported on a small southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) population of the coast of Big Sur. Little did Mr. Astrom know that his observations would help launch one of the greatest and most iconic conservation success stories in history. A few decades later, in the June 1938…

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Worth losing a finger for: the Anatolian meadow viper

The Anatolian meadow viper was always an enigmatic species. It belongs to the same group as many widespread vipers, such  as the common adder. However, unlike the common adder, which is distributed across Europe and Northern Asia, the Anatolian meadow viper lives only at the top of the Ciglikara mountain plateau, in south-west Turkey. Since the species discovery, in 1969, only five individuals have ever been found. Its discovery triggered the curiosity of researchers as this species is one of…

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