WSC Stories | Wildlife Safari
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Please note the 2019 programme is being developed, in the meantime, the 2018 schedule below offers a sample of what you can expect.

In the WSC Stories theatre, we want to inspire you with our savvy line-up of stories tellers who will encourage you to think about what you want from your next Wildlife – Safari – Conservation travel experience. From award winning wildlife photographers, conservationists, travel writers and travel guides, come listen to their astonishing animal encounters in the field, bush and polar regions. These talks are not to be missed!

To stay up-to-date with the programme developments and new speaker announcements, sign up for our newsletter. To register please click here.

Saturday 29 September 2018

10:40 – 11:10  Design for Wildlife. Holly Budge. How Many Elephants


British adventurer, conservationist and motivational speaker, Holly Budge, was quite literally on top of the world when she summited Mount Everest last year. Her passion for adventure is evident with two world records under her belt so far, including being the first woman to skydive Everest and race semi-wild horses 1000 kms across Mongolia in just nine days. Holly is not limited to adventure, she is also an acclaimed artist and passionate conservationist. She is the founder of ‘How Many Elephants’, an award winning campaign raising awareness of the plight of elephants in Africa and funds for anti-poaching projects. Recently, Holly immersed herself with the Black Mambas, an all female front line anti-poaching team in South Africa and documented this on film. She has helped raise over £300k for a diverse range of charities through her adventures and campaign work so far.

Holly is also running her Join the Herd colouring in petition on the  How Many Elephants stand at the show, please do get involved and support her work.

11:20 – 11:50  What’s it like to work on the frontlines of wildlife conservation? Dr Niki Rust

Niki Rust is a wildlife conservationist and a journalist with a passion for big cats. Having spent most of the last decade in Africa researching into how best to conserve these charismatic species, she’s now back in the UK where she writes about wildlife for the BBC and New Scientist. Niki has worked for a multitude of conservation organisations in the past, including BirdLife, San Diego Zoo and Cheetah Conservation Fund. Most recently, she was WWF’s media spokesperson where she was regularly interviewed by Sky, ITV and the BBC about pressing conservation issues. She now trains conservationists in communication skills to help them inspire the general public into action to help protect the natural world.

12:00 – 12:30  “Bringing Your Wildlife Dreams to Reality” The Travel Trade View

A panel of wildlife travel companies offer practical tips for choosing the right wildlife holiday for you moderated by the Editor of the Travel Trade Gazette.






( L-R: Pippa Jacks, TTG. Craig Rix, Travel Africa Magazine. Bret Charman, The Natural Collection. Alex Gavalda, Vivid Travel.)

Answering questions such as:

• How much do I have to spend? (comfort level, expertise and exclusivity of experience vs price)
• When is the best time to go, and how far ahead do I need to book for [permit-controlled] experiences such as gorillas, Galapagos, Antarctica?
• What should I look for in a good tour operator/travel company (financial protection, group size, experience of guides)?
• How knowledgeable do I need to be about wildlife?
• How can I travel responsibly?

12:40 – 13:10  When the Last Lion Roars. Sara Evans

Sara Evans is an award-winning writer, specialising in travel and wildlife. Her work has featured in numerous publications, including the Sunday Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday, The Australian, The Boston Globe, BBC Wildlife Magazine and Africa Geographic. Sara will talk about her new book When The Last Lion Roars which considers how lions – that once roamed much of the earth – have been brought to the brink of extinction. She will also talk about what is being done to save this globally-iconic species and reverse the current crisis in lion conservation.

Sara will be signing copies of her new book “When the Last Lion Roars” after her talk.

13:20 – 13:50 Safari Spectacular. Simon King OBE, HonFBNA, HonFRPS, LLD

Simon King is a naturalist, author and broadcaster, known to millions through series like Big Cat Diary and Springwatch. He has been leading exclusive wildlife watching tours all over the planet for many years and takes great pride in interpreting animal behaviour and creating a memorable and life changing experience for his guests. He is also an accomplished photographer and wildlife cinematographer, his work on series like Blue Planet and Planet Earth having earned him recognition with major awards including 3 Emmys and 2 BAFTAs. He was awarded the OBE in 2010 for services to wildlife cinematography and conservation.

14:00 – 14:30 Why it’s time to remember and not just photograph wildlife. Margot Raggett

Wildlife photographer Margot Raggett shares how seeing a poached elephant in Kenya in 2014 changed her life and caused her to start the highly-acclaimed Remembering Wildlife charity book series. During the course of her talk she’ll share images from all three books – Remembering Elephants, Remembering Rhinos and Remembering Great Apes – and talk about the process of putting the books together, attracting the support of the likes of Art Wolfe, Steve Winter, Greg du Toit and Frans Lanting and how she managed to gain international attention and endorsement from the likes of Russell Crowe, Chris Martin and Ricky Gervais. Her talk will culminate in a book signing and a sneak preview of the forthcoming Remembering Great Apes.

Margot will be signing copies of her books after her talk.

14:40 – 15:10 My adventures as a wildlife photographer and why the Emperor is The Perfect Penguin. Sue Flood

Sue Flood is an award-winning wildlife photographer and former BBC Natural History Unit filmmaker, who worked on The Blue Planet, Planet Earth and the Disney movie Earth, before leaving the BBC to concentrate on her photography. Her adventures include swimming with humpback whales, diving under the Arctic ice with beluga whales, and camping in the Antarctic for 6 weeks to photograph her favourite subject – the Emperor penguin. When not on assignment, Sue regularly guides wildlife photography trips for clients to all seven continents. Come and find out why Sue says she has the best job in the world!

Sue will be signing copies of her new book “Emperor – the Perfect Penguin” after her talk. 

15:20 – 15:50  The Unexpected Truth About Animals. Lucy Cooke

Brilliant natural history, starring lovesick hippos, stoned sloths, exploding bats and frogs in taffeta trousers… History is full of strange animal stories invented by the brightest and most influential, from Aristotle to Disney. But when it comes to understanding animals, we’ve got a long way to go. In The Unexpected Truth About Animals, Zoologist Lucy Cooke, unravels many such myths – that eels are born from sand, that swallows hibernate under water, and that bears gave birth to formless lumps that are licked into shape by their mothers – to show that the stories we create reveal as much about us as they do about the animals. Astonishing, illuminating and laugh-out-loud funny.

Lucy will be signing copies of The Unexpected Truth About Animals after her talk.

16:00 – 16:30 Presenting Tusk Trust. Advancing Conservation Across Africa. Adele Emmett

Tusk’s projects provide greater protection for more than 40 different threatened species and many more that share the same landscapes. As well as protecting African elephant, rhino and lion, Tusk’s projects are playing a critical role in the survival of cheetah, chimpanzee, eastern lowland and Cross River gorilla, painted dog, Grevy’s zebra, giant sable, Cape vulture, Alaotran gentle lemur, hawksbill turtle, and many more, some of which are described further below. In keeping with Tusk’s overall philosophy these projects are often not solely focused on wildlife, instead they take an integrated approach to conservation working hand in hand with local communities and combining the protection of wildlife with the management and sustainable use of natural resources.

16:40 – 17:20 Tusk – Charity Auction

Charity Auction with amazing lots to bid on, sponsored by event partners, speakers and exhibitors. All proceeds raised from the auction will be donated to Tusk Trust.

For more details on the Tusk Charity Auction, please click here.

Sunday 30 September 2018

10:40 – 11:10  The Matriarch Adventure, Elephants Lead the Way. Catherine Edsell

Catherine Edsell has 20 years experience in wildlife conservation through independent and collaborative expedition work around the world. Noticing that adventure in remote and extreme environments with other women has a powerful transformative effect, she designed The Matriarch Adventure, marrying conservation with personal development. This is a story of how ordinary women have an extraordinary adventure, re-discovering what it is to be confident, self-reliant and empowered, inspired by the natural world.

11:20 – 11:50  Costa Rica, ultimate jungle. Tim Martin

Tim Martin is a former BBC wildlife film maker who has been photographing and filming in Costa Rica for 30 years. He’s foraged with monkeys, joined a column of army ants, been bullied by a scarlet macaw and had snakes in his bedroom. He’s witnessed Costa Rica emerging as a global leader in conservation: over 25% of the land and 15% of the sea is protected, forest cover has doubled and hunting has been banned. There’s nowhere better to get close to spectacular tropical wildlife.

12:00 – 12:30  The Wildest Adventures! When and Where to Travel for Epic Wildlife Encounters. Catherine Capon for Hurtigruten.

Catherine is hugely passionate about inspiring others to travel to the untouched corners of our planet. Her aim is to promote wildlife adventures and re-engage people in the natural world. She believes that spending time with wild animals is the key to encouraging us to live more consciously on our planet. Prompted by her early fascination with the outdoors, Catherine went on to study Ecology and Zoology at Imperial College London. Her first expedition saw her studying bats in Honduras and it was during this time, separated from all of modern life’s ‘necessities’, that she became fiercely protective of the wildlife around her. Cat’s life since university has seen her working in wildlife film-making and sustainability communication.

Determined to encourage holiday makers to do something more adventurous with their time off work, Cat is currently embarking on a project to write about, film and photograph wildlife hotspots around the planet. Her adventures are documented on her vacation inspiration website

12:40 – 13:10 Wilderness, Wildlife and Our Wildest Dreams. The journey of Pinnon Lodges.

Lyndon Pinches is a former army officer. In 2014 Lyndon and his wife Ruth left their jobs in the UK to work in conservation. Following an initial stint working in Anti-poaching in Malawi they decided to get on a bus to Zambia to build a safari lodge. After a year of getting permissions and permits they finally completed building in Aug 2016, as filmed by the Channel 4 series Our Wildest Dreams. Two years on, despite fires, floods and numerous other challenges the lodge continues to grow and support conservation in the Kafue National park.

13:20 – 13:50 Heavy Metal Marine Biology. The Blowfish

A truly unique journey through the underwater denizens of this planet. As seen through the eyes of the world’s ONLY Heavy Metal Marine Biologist, Tom “The Blowfish” Hird will open your eyes to some of the most amazing, incredible, gruesome and disgusting facts found in the ocean. This 30 min talk is a must for those who love wildlife trivia or want to know more about the seas. Loud and dangerous (and that’s just The Blowfish) this is a talk you don’t want to miss.

The Blowfish will be signing copies of his book Blowfish’s Oceanopedia after his talk.

14:00 – 14:30  Oceans Alive with Whales and Dolphins. Anna Bunney, ORCA

Anna Bunney is Education Coordinator at ORCA, one of the UK’s leading marine conservation charities. Anna manages an innovative nationwide outreach programme inspiring people on land and at sea about whales, dolphins and porpoises. ORCA has championed marine conservation for over 15 years and their mission is to give everyone who cares about whales and dolphins an active role in safeguarding their future. Anna will be talking about the unique partnership ORCA and Silversea Cruises launched earlier this year, and the incredible cruise to the west coast of the US she worked on in May 2018, sharing her knowledge of the rich diversity of marine life you can encounter on such a voyage.


14:40 – 15:10  How travelling in Africa inspired us to create a gin brand. Robin Gerlach.

Tessa and Robin Gerlach were inspired to create Elephant Gin following their own adventures in Africa. They strongly believe that this generation has a responsibility to support the African wildlife today, so others can continue to enjoy it in the future. In 2013, they developed the award-winning Elephant London Dry Gin (45%) that uses rare African botanicals and focuses on resolutely artisan production methods. Since December 2015, the company has complemented its portfolio with an aromatic Elephant Sloe Gin (35%) and in March 2017 introduced a full-bodied Elephant Strength (57%). For each full-size bottle sold, 15% of profits are donated to Big Life Foundation and Space for Elephants, while with each miniature bottle, Elephant Gin contributes 15% of profits to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. All of these organisations are devoted to the conservation of the African elephant.

15:20 – 16:00  Confessions of an Amateur Wildlife-Watcher. Pippa Jacks, Travel Journalist

A career in travel publishing has enabled Pippa to visit some incredible wildlife destinations over the last decade – from Guyana and the Galapagos to Sri Lanka and the Serengeti.

In this practical talk, she describes some of her most memorable wildlife experiences – including mistakes she’s made, tips for your own holiday, and how spending time in nature has brought her to appreciate the ‘small stuff’ almost as much as the ‘big’. Pippa is group editor at TTG Media, an RSPB volunteer, and on the committee of London Bird Club.

Pippa will cover: The Galapagos, Arctic Circle, Great Migration, Guyana, South Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Botswana.


Please be aware the scheduled programme may be subject to change.