Zoo Quest-The Adventures of A Young Naturalist
In 1954, a young television presenter was offered the opportunity of a lifetime – to travel the world finding rare and elusive animals for London Zoo’s collection, and to film the expeditions for the BBC. His name was David Attenborough, and the programme, ZOO QUEST, not only heralded the start of a remarkable career in broadcasting but changed the way we viewed the natural world forever.
I was hanging out to read this book and had to guard it carefully from sticky fingers as it sat on my desk waiting to be next in my TBR pile. Zoo Quest, The Adventures Of A Young Naturalist is a wonderful hardback book full of memories from Attenborough’s 1950’s expeditions to seek out never before seen species for London Zoo. From here, Zoo Quest the TV show was born, and our love for Attenborough and natural history began.
Attenborough writes exactly as he speaks. Every word I read was in his distinct, gentle voice with a very British accent. Reading this book was so soothing, I found myself relaxed and sleepy after just a few chapters, but the stories themselves are absorbing, so I battled it out each night. The adventures of a young Attenborough are funny, captivating and very VERY 1950’s BBC.
How Did I Find Zoo Quest?
The tales of meeting the ‘natives’, tribe leaders and the stories of capturing these beautiful wild animals are of course quite dated. I did feel a wave of sadness every time I read about a wild creature being put into a crate, even though they were wonderfully looked after, and I had to skip past details of horrendous cockfighting and general disregard for dogs in Bali. But, even though some of the decisions made by Attenborough and his crew would be frowned upon in society today, back then, it was utterly acceptable and terribly important. For it is from here that Attenborough and his team created a way to capture our attention, increase our awareness and take accountability for what we are doing to the world and all the species that live within it.
It was wonderful to read in great detail about Attenborough’s first meeting with a sloth, and the terrifying noise that Howler monkeys make, the cumbersome, yet kind manatee and the young orangutang ‘Charlie’ who became part of the expedition crew. Zoo Quest, The Adventures Of A Young Naturalist is a must have for any bookshelf. The knowledge Attenborough has, and the impact he has had on influencing how we see the natural world cannot be measured.
5 out of 5 – Zoo Quest should be on every Christmas Gift List!
Perfect for any bookworm who loves nonfiction and memoirs.
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