In the Wild
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Slithery serpents, brazen bullsharks to ferocious fish and mischievous meerkats, zoologist, wildlife adventurer, filmmaker and television presenter Nigel Marven has travelled widely in search of animals, observing their behaviour in their natural habitats. This October is "Nigel Marven month" on Animal Planet, and it will capture his encounters and adventures across China, Brazil, South America, South Africa and India. In an email interview with Marven, Jaskiran Kapoor explores his world.
How did your love for animals begin? What sustains it?
I've always been fascinated by nature and wildlife. Whenever I had the opportunity, I was looking for wildlife — in ponds, in the garden, on family holidays, everywhere. I have a collection of reptiles and amphibians — four giant tortoises, a few Mediterranean tortoises, spotted turtles, geckos, skinks, snakes and even an axolotl. I also have a couple of owls.
You also have a visit lined up to India for the one-horned rhino and Bengal tiger. Tell us about it.
I'll never forget seeing the one-horned rhinoceros (the episode is Rhino Adventure). Luckily, we were in a jeep. Rhinos don't use their horns, they bite with their teeth and they've got big teeth. Following the tigers on elephant back was a very intimate moment. We got very close to a mother tiger and her cubs.
You are probably one of the few animal lovers who does not obsess over one species. You have gone out and explored all types and kinds.
Yes. I spent two years in China, filming in the mountains, deserts and jungles. Getting intimate moments with animals takes your breath away. You learn every time you do something and I enjoy them all.
What has been the most adventurous and dangerous moment for you?
When I was filming bull sharks, there was Eric Ritta, the scientist I was working with, who was bitten by a bull shark and 26 inches of his leg was inside. I was just standing a metre away. That was definitely the scariest moment. I was also charged by a one-horned rhino in Kaziranga. Luckily, we were in jeep. I have a lot of daring moments in my life, like swimming with the great white shark without protection and have the Goliath bird-eater spider, arguably the largest spider in the world, walk over my face.
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