AUDIO: An interview with Dr. David Suzuki
Prof. David Bellamy does bird impressions, trumpets like an elephant, waves his arms as if swatting gnats and screams “beam me up Scotty!” Looking like a cross between John Houston and Saint Nick, Bellamy, the UK television character and founder of the Conservation Foundation is…well… unconventional.
I talked to the hirsute professor twice over the past few years.
AUDIO: INTERVIEW WITH DR. DAVID BELLAMY
I took a hike through Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud forest with Danilo Wallace, a park ranger born and raised in what is now one of the world’s foremost rainforest preserves. He said that when he was a child he shot Toucans with a slingshot, cut off their bills and made necklaces. For his parents, the forest was a servant, from which they extracted building materials and food. That has changed.
Restored Temple at Changu Narayan, Nepal (c) Russell Johnson
(Note: Since this story was written, the town of Changu Narayan was severely damaged by Nepal’s April 2015 Earthquake)
A few years ago I spoke at an ecotourism conference just outside of Manila — in the Philippines — at a venue labeled “Ecotourism Resort.” What first caught my attention was the fact nobody WALKED anywhere on the premises. Guests and employees rode around on jeepneys, colorful, customized jeeps that have become part of Philippine culture but lack certain emission and noise controls. In other words, they are stinky and loud, especially at 2AM when they are carrying the inebriated.
“What’s is it?” I asked Mandip, pointing into the jungle brush. “No big deal, just an LBJ,” he replied.
“Little Brown Job, a bird of no significance to a twitcher.”
I would make a dreadful birdwatcher. I am not by nature a twitcher, someone who compiles lists of bird sightings like John Wayne carved notches on the handle of his Winchester. I organize my life with Post-Its, which blow around my office like autumn leaves. Also, most birds are small and fast, too quick for the lumbering mammal that is me. But India’s Corbett Tiger Reserve is a prime place for birders with some 580 brands including Himalayan Kingfishers, Great Hornbills, and Blue-bearded Bee-eaters. So the birders head off in one jeep, in search of the Hair-crested Drongo while the rest of us Jim Corbett wannabees mount an elephant and a Landrover to search for fresh scat and pawprints, signs of the Royal Bengal Tiger.