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TOBY NOWLAN (film-maker)

Toby Nowlan is an award-winning journalist, explorer and biologist who produces wildlife documentaries. For the past four years, he worked on BBC1ā€™s A Perfect Planet, a five-part series narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

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On the podcast today, Toby Nowlan shares his passion for the fight to save the critically endangered Javan rhino from extinction.
We go with him on a mission to find one of the rarest animals on Earth, the Javan rhino. An opportunity rarely granted to Westerners to track these incredible animals in their natural habitat.

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Transcript of our Conversation

Toby Nowlan

[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to season two of the modern adventurer podcast. I’m your host, John Horsfall. I’m an adventurer and photographer. And each week I’ll be talking with a new guest about their latest adventure from around the world for all the new listeners and subscribers who have joined. I speak to adventurers and explorers who do remarkable things in the field of exploration and endurance.

This is an immersive podcast. So this season, their story is cut to music and cinematic. As we immerse ourselves into the heart of their adventure. My next guest is an award-winning journalist Explorer and biologist who produces wildlife documentaries for the past four years. He’s worked on, BBC’s a perfect planet, a five part series, and narrat rated by said David Abra on the podcast today.

He shares his passion for the fight to save the critically endangered Jarvin rhino from extinction. We go with him on his mission to [00:01:00] find one of the rarest animals on earth, an opportunity rarely granted to Westerners, to track these incredible animals in their natural habitat. I am delighted to introduce Toby Neyland to the podcast.

Thanks very much, John. It’s great to be here. Well, it’s an absolute pleasure to have you on, and I cannot wait to sort of get into this story. I listened to your story back in, I think, November of last year and. When I heard it, I, I knew I had to get you on. And with this new format, I think it’s gonna be absolutely incredible.

But before the podcast starts, I always like to ask you to tell the audience who you are and what you do and how you got into this sort of life of adventures. Sure thing. Well I work in, in TV and film. I make natural history documentaries, wildlife, documentaries. I’ve done that for, for the last eight, 10 [00:02:00] years.

But long before that, I, I, I, I. Have spent most of my life trying to find a way to go in search of some of the world’s rarest and most endangered animals out there. And as soon as I had the, the means to, to try and make that happen, I, I, I. I did so, so I started to lead research expeditions when I got to university and look for ways to fund those expeditions and recruit teams to come with me.

And so there, there were, there were lots of different expeditions that, that I took out. And yeah, that, that was, that was the, kind of the basis of, of, of the most recent expedition, which was to look for the Jarvin rhino. ah, amazing. And so what made you sort of get into this sort of life? What was it from a young [00:03:00] age that had you sort of hooked on the jar rhino or this sort of wildlife stories as you or documentaries?

Yeah, well, in, I remember watching planet earth, David Attenborough’s planet earth on, on the BBC when I was God, how? I mean, it was 20. 2011. No, it was, it was a long time ago. I can’t remember when, when planet earth was first broadcast, but it was a long time ago and I was a kid. I was looking on the screen.

I just remember thinking God, that looks like the best job in the world. I’d love to do, to do that. I’d love to work on that. So it was always this sort of festering ambition in my head. To try and make it happen. And I knew that Bristol was the, the global hub for it, the green Hollywood, where it kind of all happened.

So I, I had to try and sort of base myself nearby and keep petitioning people to try and work in the industry, but going back, I mean, I, I, I’ve kind of, I’ve always, [00:04:00] always, always been into to animals and the outdoors and it, and, and looking for. Birds and bees and bugs in the garden has always been a, a mad obsession of mine.

And I’ve always been really, really into all things. Wildlife I’ve been mega geeky about it for most of my life. I used to volunteer with the RS P B when I was 13 and that really. Got me going, got me into the, kind of got me into the bird world and got my first binoculars and, and started birding.

And that built into more and more exciting things, further afield. And when I got to Edinburg university, I discovered the expedition club and they helped encourage you to find a way to organize your. Research expeditions and that’s where it all kicked off really. And for the Jarvin rhino, that was another very special thing, cuz that, [00:05:00] that all started when I picked up this second, I’ve got this thing about natural history books, about wildlife books.

I just, everywhere I go, every. Kind of, you know charity book sale. I, I, I see, I go past, I have to grab something natural history. So I’ve got a house completely full of all these amazing natural attributes, most of which I never read, but I just . I love having them around and flicking through them. And one of the ones that I picked up from.

One of these these kind of backyard sales was this book called last of the wild by photograph photographer called Eugene Schumacher. And within it is that’s UJA, cuon this giant forest that they call it the forest of giant palms. And it’s this forest where everything underneath it, all the animals are just dwarfed by these enormous plants.

And it’s an amazing place. [00:06:00] Anyway, I just found it amazing to see this a, a rhino, a rhinos in a deep jungle like this, and it just set up this thing in my head as this kind of mythical mammal that I, I really wanted to go in search of. So. It, it sort of never left my head. And then one day I thought, you know what?

Screw let’s, let’s, let’s start a plan to, to head out and look for the Jarvin rhino. And so how long did this plan take? I mean, between seeing that photo between getting out the door was I guess, best part of 20 years, but. In terms of actual planning, I’d say it was ki, it was kind of two, two or three years of sort of getting everything together.

I mean, the, the idea of what to actually do for the expedition came from earlier expeditions I’d led with to look for other [00:07:00] endangered species to use a, a similar method of data collection, photo identification, which can be a really effective way to survey. Critically endangered, very rare animals. So that’s what we, we used for the vaquita PPU in the sea of Cortez, Mexico.

It works really well with Marine mammals and I thought it could work really well with rhinos and turns out it did. So for context for people who don’t know much about the jar and rhino, it’s sort of based out in a very remote island of Indonesia. Can you sort of explain a bit more about that?

Sure. Well, actually the island itself, isn’t actually remote. It’s in, it’s on that’s the most amazing thing about it is the entire population is on the island of Java, which is the the most densely populated island on the planet by quite a long way, which is just crazy. There’s I mean, [00:08:00] it’s got the iron, it’s got the city of Jakarta on it.

There’s 121 million people on it. And. At the same time in the bottom left Southeast Southwest corner. There’s this tiny little peninsula, UJA Cuan peninsula. And it’s one of the last true, great wildernesses in Indonesia. It’s this extraordinary forest. And it still has its sort of. Post ice age, mega Forner still intact.

It hasn’t been, they haven’t been hunted out. So part of that are these, the Jarin rhino Jarin rhinos. And the other thing of these, these Banting Buffalo, these very rare wild Buffalo that live in the jungle as well. And so you’ve got this incredible juxtaposition in Java of the, of pure wilderness and extra, extraordinarily high [00:09:00]population centers.

And I found, I always found that amazing that you could have, you know, You know, jungle rhinos living on, on an island in Indonesia in this day and age just found, sounded amazing. So taking you three years from the sort of concept to getting out there. Well, let’s, let’s jump into the story. So you were sort of there on your sort of first day, you flew into Jakarta and then probably took the long road all the way down to this peninsula.

Yes exactly. So you get to Jakarta overnight in Jakarta, then head all the way down to UJA cuon. Then we would overnight in a very small village near the entry to the park. And then we would head deep, deep into Jean Cuong and towards the the rhino protection. And [00:10:00] this is a very special area that not many people are are allowed to go to.

So it takes a long time to get permission to go there. Very expensive permission to go to this park. Rightly so of course, of, of the park. So it’s, it’s a day long walk through the jungle. So we’re winding our way through these very narrow tracks all day, all long, all you know, all day to, to get to this path of Asian KU long.

And then you are, you are along this incredibly long Sandy beach. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s all along the coast there, that jungle. So Very wild coast. So, so even when you’re in the jungle, you, a lot of the time you’ve got the sound of big breakers, but, you know quite close by because it’s this very wild CLO coast that just the ocean is unbroken all the way to Antarctica.

So you’ve got these big [00:11:00] breakers that just rolling and And I, I mean, the jungle is hot and sticky and sweaty and wonderful as though that’s why I love it. It’s a very intense place to be. And new John cuon is no exception. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a heavy. Going lowland jungle with lots and lots of mosquitoes and quite high malaria.

And so you have to be careful, but it’s, it does, you know, it’s, it’s got its bugs, it’s got all, its the, the normal jungle things. So we arrived next to a small a little river that came off a, a lagoon, big coastal lagoon where we planned to camp. We arrived there at. Late in the evening and pitch camp pitched hammocks between small trees and litter fire and planned to head [00:12:00] off on the river in search of the rhinos at about 4:00 AM the next day.

And actually that night even within 24 hours stuff started to happen in quite an extraordinary way. Really. So. Went to sleep to all the sounds, the night sounds of the jungle, you know, the, the, the tinkling of frogs and cigars night jars and owls. And I drifted off into sleep knackered from travel, of course, and just, and woke up at about 4:00 AM with a start.

And to this sudden sort of thumping sound outside. Outside my hammock. It was like this kind of mini stamped, really loud crashing through the jungle, very close to our camp. And so soluary eyed kind of ran outside and [00:13:00] went to see Chelo who was one of our top trackers sitting by the fire kind of dazed looking sort of shocked and uneasy.

So I started talking to him. He like, oo what’s what’s happened. And he basically that night he’d gone onto the beach to just sleep to light, to fire on sleep. And I don’t think anyone had been to this part of Eugene KU for a long time. So we were the first humans there for quite a while. I think.

So change lit, lit small. And then he’d woken up with a start in the middle of the night to essentially see a rhino standing over him, snorting looking at him and not knowing what he, what he was very confused. And the rhino got closer and closer realized that Chelo was, was. [00:14:00] Something suspicious, possibly human snorted and just ran off with the start.

And Chenu was absolutely terrified. And essentially what had happened is the rhino had seen Cheng Lu’s fire on the beach and been drawn out of the forest. This is our theory in, just by curiosity, swam across the big coastal lagoon that separates the beach from the forest. You know, just to try and come and check out what the fire is, swam across the lagoon, climbed up onto the beach and walked over to oo and looked over at him.

And bear in mind, these animals are extremely shy and were barely seen in the wild for about 50 years. So, so it’s, it’s. You know, that kind of behavior is just amazing. So it was tantalizing to hear this. And I mean, obviously very scary for, for oo, but, but also to think my God would’ve [00:15:00] already come that close to a German rhino or night one, and I went down to the beach that morning and could see these fresh prints.

These fresh footprints going along the beach towards where tangles had his fire. And it was amazing. You could just see these very clear, huge toads of rhinos. So that was, that was an exciting start. How long had it been since in the jungle? Before you had actually seen your first rhino. It actually happened on, it actually happened pretty quickly.

It was within, it was within the first week that we had our first sighting. We then had about best part of two weeks of nothing because of the rain largely. And our camp was unusable and we couldn’t really get on the river cause the water levels were too high. And when we could. There was no evidence of rhinos.

I think it was too high for the rhinos. There was just too much, there was just [00:16:00] too much water. There seems to be a happy medium that they liked. So we had our first sighting pretty quickly within, I think, within the first week, but then there were kind of gaps after that long gaps before the next one.

And then when the conditions were just right then we had this wonderful cluster of sightings and there were. Three days where we saw two different rhinos at least one of them every day, which was extraordinary, really, to be able to see the rarest large land mammal on the planet with that degree of regularity was such a treat.

I mean, was there a moment during that trip you know, where you felt it would might all fall apart? well, you know, when it lashed it down with rain for two weeks. Well, to be honest, that first night with oo in the, on the, when he was on the beach and the rhino came after him, that was pretty . It was [00:17:00] pretty good.

Nothing happened that night on night one, but then I think about two weeks in cause as I said, these canoes are inflatable and, and, and I mentioned this, this jungle is just. Completely Chaka with spiny palms. So as you go up these waterways, you’ve got these hu huge dangling spiny fros, just hanging, draped all over, all over the channels.

And you’re kind of clearing your way through them. Of course, always nervous about the inflatable canoe underneath. because there are a lot of saltwater crocodile there. They, they love the area. It’s very easy for them to get into these rivers. They weren’t huge CROs, but there were plenty of them. And and at one point we were a couple of miles up and suddenly one of the, one of the canoes [00:18:00] just.

Just burst, essentially. It just got, got caught on a thorn and, and started taking on water pretty quickly. So we had quite a frantic paddle, quite a frantic couple of hours paddling back to camp before one boat was completely, you know, over sunken and left, left for CRO food. That was probably the most nervous.

and so you are paddling frantically. Wow, God. And so how many for this sort of audience, how many were sort of in a bait at the time? Was it just two of you on each boat? Two of us. Exactly. There were two trackers and there were two of us, myself and my friend, Kyle MC, Bernie, who was filming the expedition.

So I was, I was getting the images for the photo ID and, and Kyle was making a film about it. So we each were in a kayak with, with a tracker. [00:19:00]I mean, we were amazingly quiet actually, as we drifted upstream, it was. It, it was, it did work very, very well until the boat burst and, and you start taking your water and then it, then it all back for us.

But we patched it up when we got back to shore. It never really fully recovered, but enough for us to, to head out, keep heading out and just keeping an eye on it. wow. And so towards the end of the. And maybe the last time that you paddled out to see the rhinos one last time, what happened? The final encounter we had was the best one without a doubt.

The final encounter we’d, we’d drifted around a couple of corners. It was near the sort of middle of the day. The heat was really starting to build then it was kind of. [00:20:00] Nine or 10. I remember a lot of monkeys around jumping over the, over the channels at that point. And I sort of think we think we’re done for the day and then we round this corner and then, then again, getting the shoulder tap and meter had seen this thing in front of us and we just kind of.

Stop paddling and just drift and you just see this incredible purpleish pink. They were an amazing color. They’re sort of hippo colored really sort of deep purple and this big male rhino just. Just holding itself there in the water with its chin on the mud, on the riverbank. And he was just sort of dozing and, and farting and puffing and snorting and [00:21:00] and we watched him and drifted closer and then he kind of had a little.

Dip and a bath and washed his head a few times. And we, we were really close. I mean, we were within, we were within 10 meters. The, the rhino just kind of kept coming closer and closer and cuz their eyesight’s te pretty terrible most rhino species. Eyesight’s terrible. So as long as you are. As long as you are the right wind direct, you know, the right side of them in terms of wind and they can’t hear you.

You’re super quiet, then you’ve got a good chance of just being undiscovered. And I assume that was what was happening because we just had this most incredible hour long encounter with this male as he did his thing and I just rattled. A load of pictures. [00:22:00] And he became the star of the show really?

And it was wonderful. It was just what it was. It was, I mean, the, the trackers were at great pains to say this was in their opinion. The longest recorded encounter with the Jovan rhinos in the wild. It was, it was, it was a super special encounter. And it was really, really important for the expedition because we could get, I could get such close, detailed images of the horn and of the skin folds around the rhino face around the cheeks, around the eyes.

And it, it was just really easy after that to be able to compare. Other rhinos we’d photographed and, and see, oh yeah, we’ve seen this rhino on this day and this day and this day, and that was a bit of a game changer as well, because the trackers had assumed because they hadn’t obviously been taking detailed photos like these.

They’d been [00:23:00] limited to camera traps before these expeditions. That was the whole point of the expedition. They’d assumed that if you encounter a rhino on the river, then. It gets so disturbed from the area, cuz they’re so sensitive that it will leave the area and not come back for a long time. And if you see a rhino again, that’ll be a whole new.

Individual moving in that you would then be disturbed again and moved away. But these images were showing that these were repeat rhinos that we were seeing. So they were not being as, as disturbed as we were expecting. So they were, they were coming back to, to rest and, and, and wash and bathe in the river.

Regardless of their previous encounter, regardless of their previous disturbance. So that was really interesting and it showed, it indicated perhaps there are fewer than people were thinking before in terms of using those river right [00:24:00] areas. But also just perhaps the less sensitive locally to disturbance than we than had been assumed.

What was the sort of feelings like when you sort of got back to camp from there and the sort of feelings when you left after experiencing, you know, this incredible. You know, expedition and you set out and you achieve, if not more than you had ever hoped it was ex it was completely euphoric. It, it was absolutely E I mean, it was, it’s very cliche to say it was it’s a dream come true, but it really was.

It really was, it was just hard to sort of contain my joy or our joy. It was electric, the feeling in the camp after we’d got these, had this first encounter, got these first images and then it got better and better. And the joy just sort of built and, and [00:25:00] it was, it was just, it was remarkable. I remember the first time when I first clapped eyes on one that, that sort of really dark.

The one in the darkness there and in, in, you know, early, early morning. And I, I remember just finding it really hard to believe what I was looking at and thinking you know, your, your eyes don’t quite allow your brain to process it in the, you just, you I’d searched for them for so long and hoped to see one for so long.

And it was such. A dream and all the work that had gone into it to, to make it happen. And then it was sort of unfolding in front of me. There was this gorgeous, very gentle beast, just having his early morning bath in front of us. It was, it was absolutely absolutely wonderful. Yeah. I’ll never forget it.

Wow. What an incredible [00:26:00] sort of story. And have you got any plan to sort of go back out there again? Yeah, I do. I do. I was I had plans for every year afterwards, but I was there in 2020. I was there in third, 2020. So just as the COVID pandemic was starting to, to take effect. And so I had plans to go back.

That year, and obviously they got canceled and then the following year, and they got canceled and the year after that and they got canceled, Indonesia’s only just opened up. So the, the opportunity has returned to go back to Jean cuon. But I’m about to descend deep into a year long edit for my current film work.

So it’s gonna have to go on hold for a little bit, but yes, I absolutely want to go back for sure. And with this little peninsula at the [00:27:00] bottom of Java. I know that I, I think there’s sort of talk of Java being moved as a capital. Is there a fear that this little peninsula could be threatened by writing T levels?

I, I actually, I don’t know. I don’t know if I don’t. I mean, it could be, it could be. I mean, it’s on, it’s all extremely low level. There’s always been. A really high tsunami risk. There. There’s always been a lot of fear about about the peninsula being washed away and the, the rhinos being seriously affected by tsunami because the peninsula is really low lying.

So. Sea level rise could affect it. Theoretically and completely the same way. I haven’t heard much on the ground. Talk about specifically sea level rise [00:28:00] affecting UJA the same way. I don’t know if it’s because the jungle itself Offers some level of protection. I dunno. I don’t know, but in terms of tsunami risk and it being low level you know, it’s, it’s really, it’s the stones throw from cracker to crackow is almost with sight.

It’s the closest land to cracker to. So it was hit, it was affected by tsunami a couple of years ago. I think the right, I think, I can’t remember how. How the rhinos fared in that? I, I know it wasn’t catastrophic for them, but there was a small enough tsunami to take out some of the jungle. So that is a, that is a fear.

There’s been talk of airlifting capturing some of the rhinos, airlifting them out, plunking them on an offshore island as a kind of backup reserve population, a new founder population. I think that plan was abandoned. I [00:29:00] know it was abandoned. I, I don’t think it’s been resumed or gained traction again because it’s a sort of double edged sword for the jar rhino because it, it lives in this incredible habitat.

That’s very intact and you know, there’s an invasive Palm. But apart from that, it, it, it’s, it’s really an excellent quality. It’s an excellent Nick. All of the different niches are, are acting as they should. The, the forest foreigner is, is, is in really great shape and it’s very hard for poachers to reach because it’s well protected.

It’s a peninsula, it’s almost an island. There’s heavy poaching patrols, and it’s very dense. It’s very difficult to navigate into But the, all of the German runners are in one place. So you’ve got all 72 remaining jar rhinos in one single forest, [00:30:00] which is great in that they can find each other and they’ve got a home that’s in of great quality.

And they’re all connected. So it really minimizes the risk of inbreeding and the, the, the bad effects that has on genetics, diversity of, of small populations. But it does mean. It does expose them to being very vulnerable to, to single risks and single incidents. Like you touched on there, be it sea level rise, be it tsunamis, be it you know, any big natural disaster, be it disease outbreaks.

So there’s always that fear with the jar, right. One big thing. And that would, could spell disaster as it stands. They’re increasing, actually, they’re doing really well in this little forest that they, this well, relatively small forest where they’re remaining. So The last camera trap images from a few years back showed a new [00:31:00] calf, which bumps the population up to 72, which is extraordinary.

So I, I think the thinking is that they there’s nowhere left for them to go outside of that. So they’re probably at capacity. You probably can’t squeeze anymore jar rhino territories into that forest. But they’re, they’ve filled it up as, as, as best they can, as you know. So I think the population is doing relatively well.

Yeah, that, that was actually my question for the audience who probably dunno just how rare these rhinos are. There are only 62 or yeah, 62 odd recorded sightings or different numbers. So just wanted to sort of pinpoint that as just to show how rare these ma these mammals. they’re super, super rare.

Yeah. They, I mean, we didn’t really realize how many there were. For a long time. So there used to be until [00:32:00] 2011, they were in Vietnam as well. There was a small population up there, different subspecies and they, the last one was poached there in 2011. The last one was found decapitated, sadly, and that spelt the end for the Vietnamese Jarvin rhino, which meant all the remaining Jarvin rhinos only solely found in Jarver of which we know there’s we think there’s 72.

Remaining, but they used to be, they used to be extremely widely distributed back when unbroken forest covered. Most of Asia, they used, used to find them from India up through Northern China, across all of Southeast Asia, they had this, they enjoyed this massive distribution. And then slowly as the world changed and, and humanity spread across the globe that habitat was eaten away at and then came in trophy hunting [00:33:00]and then they were hunted for food.

And then there was a lot of war in those regions and that took its toll on the, both the rhinos and the forest. And then. It’s only really the last 40 years that the, the poaching E epidemic has, has taken hold. And that’s, what’s driven the, the Jarvin rhino to the very edge of extinction. And I’m sure everyone knows a lot, you know, plenty about the, the international poaching trade, but.

The rhinos are hunted for their, for their horn which is predominantly made of keratin, which is the same chemical protein, which is in fingernails and hair, human fingernails, and hair. They’re hunted for their horn and it has been for various uses, but currently the biggest uses is for for parties in China.

[00:34:00] And it’s used as a kind of a hangover cure, both a party drug and a hang hangover cure. It’s kind of ground into a liquid and, and just drunk as a hangover cure. I don’t imagine it works. But that’s, that’s, what’s, that’s, what’s been driving them to the very edge and is still driving them to the very edge and, and means that their situation is still extremely precarious.

You said though that the females don’t have the horns, do you think that’s probably one of its successes? Why they haven’t? I mean, they’re so close to extinction, but do you think that’s maybe something that’s helped? I, I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so. I don’t think, I think the rhinos are hunted regardless.

And you know, if, if a, if a, if a rhino is hunted without a horn, They, they might not, you know, I I’m I’m, I, I would bet that poachers wouldn’t know that until the rhino’s dead in front of them. [00:35:00] And at that point they, you know, it would just be bad luck for them that they, they would have a rhino with no horn, but the females actually, they don’t have a horn, but I.

I believe there’s still a, a bit of, there’s a sort of N in there there’s a kind of, just a sort of basal part of a horn. They don’t have an actual horn, so to speak. I mean, the Mayo horns are, are tiny. The, this, this is a species it’s one of the only two species on earth to have one horn in common with the Indian one horn rhinos.

And the one horn they do have is. Is very small, you know, it’s usually around 10 centimeters. So it’s, it’s really, it’s nothing like the big horns of the black and white rhinos of Eastern Africa, Eastern to Southern Africa. It’s nothing like that. So the, the. The yeah, the kind of rewards for a poacher, a minuscule.

So is it’s remarkable really, but, [00:36:00] but it’s ex you know, it’s extremely valuable. It’s still rhino, rhino horn is still the most valuable commodity on planet earth. It’s, it’s still more valuable than gold diamonds and silver than any, any Jew gram for gram. Yeah. Toby. It’s been absolute pleasure, like listening to your stories.

And it’s just incredible to sort of hear about, you know, there’s such a rare species, but there’s a part of the show where we always ask the same five questions to each guest each week. And the first one being, what does it mean to have purpose? Hmm, that’s a very good question. I mean, I, I, I think for me, I mean, it, I guess that’s a very subjective question, isn’t it?

It it’s it’s gonna be different for everyone. I, I, I think we live in a, we live in a, [00:37:00] in a world of, of great environmental crisis and We’ve been in a state of biodiversity crisis for as long as I’ve been alive, but it’s never been more pressing and never been more important and more urgent for us to address than now.

So, and, and I think that’s, I think the biodiversity crisis in, in hand with our cl the climate crisis is for me the most pressing of all things on planet earth. And I think, you know, if we don’t sort our environmental woes out, then we, we are not, we’re not gonna, we’re not gonna last. We’re not gonna survive.

We’re not going to be able to live in the world. We want to live in. Our species and almost any other. So for me being able to [00:38:00] do and go on these incredible adventures has to meaningfully in some way, contribute towards, go some way towards Helping that and helping remedy that crisis. And that might be in part through collecting relevant data and also might be in part through trying to raise as much awareness as possible about specific issues and inspire motivation in other people to, to, to make change as well.

And that’s that’s as that’s as important as it gets for me. Ah, amazing. And what about your favorite quote? This is a quote from Henry David Thoreau, Walden or life in the woods. We need the tonic of wildness at the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things. We require that [00:39:00] all things be mysterious and unex explorable that land and see be indefinitely wild UN surveyed, and unfathomable by us because unfathomable, we can never have enough of nature.

And that kind of that sums it all up for me. What about your favorite travel book and why? My favorite travel book? Yes. My favorite travel book is into the heart of bono by Redmond Hanlon. It’s it’s it’s this wonderful. Romp through the Bian jungle in search of the SUMAR and rhino, actually it’s very, it’s not far off.

It was actually one of the, one of the inspiring books for me to go in touch the Jarin rhino, but I’ve read this book. Three or four times, and it it’s just written so well, and it’s very funny and it captures all the wonderful details of [00:40:00] living with people in the jungle, in bono and traveling through the Bian jungle.

And I’ve spent a lot of time in bono and in Malaysia and in Indonesia. And I, I absolutely love it. And it’s very easy, easy for me to connect with that. Incredibly rich and exciting part of the world by diving back into that book. So I, I absolutely love that. Nice. Why are these adventures important to you?

I mean, the, I guess that comes back to that comes back to this idea of, of trying to do something to, to remedy the state of the world. You know, E everywhere we look by diversity, wildlife is in trouble. And I, I think it, we have a responsibility to. We surely have a responsibility [00:41:00] to protect and preserve life on earth as much as, as much as we can.

I mean, I guess there’s an argument that some people say sometimes, and I’ve often thought about it that You know, everything is in flux and life that, you know, there’s always been extinction events and life comes and goes on planet earth. But, but surely we have within us a moral or Aneth, I feel that like we still have a moral or a, or an ethical Responsibility to, to preserve life on earth.

I mean, would we be poorer or richer if the jar rhino went extinct? I guess you could argue that a lot of people wouldn’t wouldn’t know the difference. Your life would go on UN unaffected, but the world would be a lot poorer the world. Surely is a richer, more interesting, more inspirational place with animals like the Jarvin rhino and with [00:42:00] the vaquita PPU, you know, these are animals that don’t have a functional they don’t have a kind of great function in our day to day lives.

But if you let them go, then where does it stop? Where do you draw the line? You know, where do you say, okay, well, the vaquita didn’t matter, but the honey bee does, you know, I, I think we are part of such an intricate, intricate web on this planet of such an interdependent, intricate web of, of millions, of different species.

And we have no idea where, where we slot in really and how dependent we really are and how our dependent of other species are on, on each other. And as soon as you start, start removing those building blocks, you know, taking out the pieces of gender, then you don’t know when it’s gonna topple and you, you don’t know what’s gonna happen.

So I think E every turn we have a responsibility to, to save life and, and Preserve other [00:43:00] species on the planet. Very true. And in your lifetime, where’s the most memorable place you’ve been and why? Oh, that’s a really good one. Do you know the most memorable place is probably the, the depths of the Gobi deserts in the middle of winter.

We were going to film the last wild camels. There’s only about 500 left for a BBC series. Went out a couple years ago, called a perfect planet. And it was. Just extraordinary. It was five days travel from ULA. Batar the capital down through Mongolia into the Gobi. And it was about minus 50 Celsius at times with wind chill.

Absolutely. Just, just frigid, frigid cold. And. The the, every everywhere you looked it, it was [00:44:00] like, it was like a Marshan landscape. I’ve never been anywhere that looked less like this planet than the, the heart of the Gobi. It was just black shale. As far as you can see very little vegetation at all. And yet one of the largest mamals on the planet, the, the wild camel still survives there somehow.

And we were filming it as it. It looks for snow and it’s extremely shy and extremely hard to get close to, but that was, that really stuck out for me. That was an incredible place. I was very lucky to go there. Wow. Sounds incredible. Yeah. We had a few people on the podcast who went through the Gobi and everything.

They said about the Gobi, just all about strangeness and just oddities within it. Sometimes we had Ash dykes who talked about like the silence and how you could even like hear your body function in a sense. That’s lovely. yeah, I like that. [00:45:00] Amazing. And what Terry, what are you doing now and, or what are you doing next and how can people follow you with these sort of adventures that you do in the future?

Well I’m I’m about to dive into this, edit on this series, as I said, so I might not be on expedition for a little while but do keep an eye on my Instagram and I will have, I will be blogging about it. Instagram is always the best way. And I’ll, I’ll put news out about that. I always start a new blog or a new website when it comes to a new journey or a new adventure.

So yeah, Instagram’s the best way. Amazing. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure listening to your stories, and I cannot thank you enough for coming on today. You’re very welcome. And I’m sure the audience absolutely loved hearing about the Jarvin rhino. Well, you’re very welcome. If anyone [00:46:00] wants to know more about it, they’re very welcome to get in touch.

Just ping me a message. Amazing. Well, there you go. Well, again, thank you so much. And look forward to following your adventures in the. Great, John. Thanks so much for having me. Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the show and don’t forget to subscribe and review the podcast. If you’re listening on apple, a massive thank you to those who reviewed it.

And I hope to see you next week for another fascinating tele adventure until then have a great day wherever you are in the world and happy adventures.

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