PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF VENUE: PHYSICS DEPARTMENT, NOT CHEMISTRY.
The fourteen UK Overseas Territories are Britain's secret wildlife treasure-troves. From remote desert islands to Antarctic wastelands, tropical ocean volcanoes to distant coral reefs and atolls, the territories collectively comprise an area seven times the size of the British Isles and have twenty times the biodiversity of mainland Britain. They are connected to many of the most important characters in British history (Charles Darwin, Ernest Shackleton, William Bligh), and are home to over a quarter of a million British people… Yet few in mainland Britain know that they exist or are connected to our country. Up to now, no one in history has ever visited all fourteen territories, or filmed the extraordinary wildlife that they harbour.
Scattered across the seven seas, the territories are the remnants of the British Empire, but they are often misunderstood today. They are the exact opposite of colonies – mostly self-governing states that democratically chose to remain under British sovereignty instead of independence. They are globally important wildlife centres home to thousands of unique species, as well as many of the world's largest populations of penguins, seals, albatrosses, sea turtles, tropical sea birds and land crabs. But the territories and their unique wildlife are lands under critical threat – exploding volcanoes, devastating hurricanes, declining rainforests, rising coral seas, melting Antarctic ice, retreating glaciers and invasive exotic “alien” species are issues not normally associated with protecting British environments; but across the territories, fighting these and other challenges is a race against time.
In this lecture, Stewart McPherson recounts his travels over the last three years to visit all of the UK Overseas Territories to film their extraordinary wildlife and conservation stories to complete a 4 part wildlife documentary series and accompanying book. Through this account, we discover Britain's greatest natural history heritage, and hear Stewart's personal experiences traveling to many of the most remote inhabited islands on earth, and filming some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife found anywhere on earth.