Escape The Zoo

Tony Wu - The Whale Whisperer

An episode of Escape The Zoo

By Daniel Clarke
Welcome to the ESCAPE THE ZOO podcast, where we interview leading wildlife photographers, conservationists and scientists to learn more about the awe-inspiring species that we share this fascinating planet with. Guests of the podcast have traveled to the the edges of the world to observe, photograph, study and support wildlife in their natural environment and, as you probably can imagine, now have some of the most exciting, scary, crazy, extreme, and beautiful stories that I have ever heard.
Available on 11 platforms
Amber Jackson + Emily Hazelwood - Rigs-to-Reefs
Amber Jackson and Emily Hazelwood are marine scientists, explorers, and entrepreneurs. They are founders of the certified, women-owned marine environmental consulting firm, Blue Latitudes. We talk about their program Rigs-to-Reefs, where offshore oil platforms that are no longer being used by oil companies are modified so they can continue to support marine life as artificial reefs. Please check out and support Amber and Emily’s work: Petition with Patagonia: YouTube:
November 20, 2018
Russell MacLaughlin - Filming the Black Panther
Russell MacLaughlin is an award-winning wildlife filmmaker, photographer, naturalist, and conservationist who creates with groups like National Geographic, WildAid, and Disneynature. We discuss: - his new film project documenting one of the rarest animals in the world, the black panther in India - swimming with crocodiles - lemurs in Madagascar - wolves playing with bears in Scandinavia Please check out and support Russell’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
November 12, 2018
Jeremy Hance - Weird Species!
Jeremy Hance is a journalist with experience writing about wildlife, climate change, energy politics, animal behavior, and much more for outlets like Mongabay and The Guardian. We talk about: - solenodons: venomous, nocturnal, burrowing mammals found in the Caribbean that can trace their lineage back to the dinosaurs - the Sumatran rhino: a small, hairy rhino on the brink of extinction that does lives in Indonesia but no one ever sees it - as well as Half Earth, an ambitious yet exciting proposal that aims to be the future of conservation and save life on this planet Please check out and support Jeremy’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
October 29, 2018
Dr. James Borrell - Optimism + Conservation
Dr. James Borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator with a passion for adventurous expeditions and conservation fieldwork. I really enjoyed this fascinating conversation including discussions on: - invasive species - trophy hunting - discovering a new species of amphibian in Madagascar - using dogs that think they are goats to save cheetahs - why we should be optimistic about conservation in general Please check out and support James’s work: TED Talk: Full show notes @ Full video @
October 22, 2018
Matt Draper - Replace Fear With Fascination
Matt Draper is an internationally acclaimed fine art photographer. Matt uses his imagery to foster love for the ocean, by replacing fear with fascination. We discuss: Free diving with humpback whales in Tonga Traveling for two weeks on an ice-breaking boat to find king penguins on Macquarie Island Watching two elephant seals fight Cage diving with great white sharks Swimming with spotted eagle rays, sea turtles, tiger sharks and everything else you can imagine Please check out and support Matt’s work: Full show notes @
September 24, 2018
Elliott Neep - Tigers in India
Elliott Neep is an award-winning wildlife photographer and photographic guide. He has produced articles for major photographic publications, including BBC Wildlife magazine and the National Press. Included stories: - searching for tigers in India - witnessing hyenas hunt flamingos in Africa - extreme trips to the Arctic and Antarctic - why Elliott decided to leave social media Please check out and support Elliott’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
September 17, 2018
Dan Westergren - Polar Exploration
Dan Westergren has spent three decades producing award-winning images as a National Geographic Society photographer, photo editor, and social media strategist. He has served as Director of Photography at National Geographic Travel, and as a result, is probably the most well traveled individual that I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. Included stories: - various trips from the North Pole all the way down to the Antarctic Peninsula, where he’s been six times! - Ernest Shackleton, the famed polar explorer, and the insane, heroic stories of his expeditions - grappling with fear while climbing the Matterhorn - cage diving with great whites in South Australia Please check out and support Dan’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
September 10, 2018
Richard Peters - Back Garden Safari
Richard Peters is a UK-based wildlife photographer and Nikon ambassador who has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Included stories: - the photo that he almost intentionally deleted that went on to win his first award - his award-winning collection of beautiful images taken from his own backyard of pigeons, badgers, foxes and other common creatures - winters in Yellowstone - puffin colonies of the Skomer Islands - his flight from Slovenia to the UK that was diverted due to a bomb scare Please check out and support Richard’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
September 3, 2018
Jed Weingarten - Snow Leopards in the Wild!
Jed Weingarten is an accomplished wildlife photographer based in Bozeman, Montana who has spent much of his professional career in China. Included stories: - being one of the very few to not only see but film snow leopards in the wild - the current state of conservation in China - the rush of flying over a waterfall in a kayak - how to be accepted into a wolf pack! Please check out and support Jed’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
August 27, 2018
Tayla McCurdy - African Safari!
Tayla McCurdy is a guide on safariLIVE, a live stream from the African wilderness every single day on YouTube and TV. Tayla splits her time between the Sabi Sands in South Africa and the Masai Mara in Kenya leading this unscripted broadcast. She is super fun and I had an absolute blast chatting about her work, her photography and stories from the bush. Included stories: - a dangerous moment when her group was stuck between a horny bull elephant and a group of females - the chaos of the Great Migration - a recent experience with a mongoose she found doing something so bizarre and so funny that the video quickly went viral Please check out and support Tayla’s work: Full show notes @
August 20, 2018
Shawn Heinrichs - Undercover and Underwater
Shawn Heinrichs is an Emmy Award winning cinematographer, photographer, scuba diver, and marine conservationist. You may recognize him from the documentary, Racing Extinction. His conservation focus areas include ending the global slaughter of sharks, protecting manta and mobula rays, and establishing marine protected areas. Included stories: - going undercover to expose the endangered species trade - saving a manta ray - getting surrounded by a juvenile gang in Ecuador - finding HUNDREDS of whale sharks together in one place - his amazing work protecting endangered marine species by guiding and supporting communities towards sustainable industries Please check out and support Shawn’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
August 13, 2018
Yaron Schmid - Eleven Lions in a Tree
Yaron Schmid is a veterinarian, wildlife photographer and African safari guide. Included stories: - cheetahs jumping onto his roofless car - watching baby leopards and lions - dik diks: an antelope the size of a pocket book dog - the sad story of the murder of Tanzania’s leading elephant conservationist - staring into the eyes of a baby gorilla Please check out and support Anand’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
August 6, 2018
Drew Rush - Mountain Lions, Bears + Wolves!
Drew Rush is a wildlife and natural history photographer based in Wyoming. If you follow @natgeo and @natgeotravel on Instagram, you will likely recognize his name and photos. He is a remote camera specialist, using camera traps to capture never before seen animal behavior in the wild. Included stories: Floating above the world in a powered paraglider - tracking and photographing wolf packs in Alaska - being charged by not one, but two grizzly bears - contracting an mysterious infection in the jungle waters of the Amazon - getting stuck in waist deep in snow as a mountain lion approaches - using photography to support research and conservation Please check out and support Drew’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
July 30, 2018
Federico Veronesi - Tracking the Elusive Caracal
When I think of stunning wildlife photography, Kenya-based Federico Veronesi always is amongst the top of my list. His imagery is insanely beautiful. Living in Kenya, he has an intimate knowledge of individual animals that he has watched for years and that comes across in his work in a profound way. Included stories: - his bold and inspiring journey that brought him from Italy to Kenya to become a wildlife photographer - his years spent tracking caracals, mysterious African cats that receive much less mainstream attention than leopards and lions due to their elusive nature - being surrounded by baby elephants - the complexity and importance of conservation issues affecting African wildlife Please check out and support Federico’s work: (Facebook) (his book, Light and Dust) Full show notes @ Full video @
July 2, 2018
Alastair Pollock - Sharks, Seals + Sea Dragons!
Alastair Pollock is an underwater photographer based in Sydney, Australia. Included stories: - swimming with sneaky sharks that get too close for comfort - realizing you’ve gone too close to a fur seal colony - how to find a leafy sea dragon - what the hammer of a hammerhead shark feels like Please check out and support Alastair’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
June 28, 2018
Anand Varma - Parasites!
Anand Varma is a photographer with a degree in integrative biology from UC Berkeley. He helps biologists communicate their research through photographs, and tell the story behind the science of complex issues. Included stories: - mind controlling parasites - zombie ladybugs - a near death experience with a volcano - glowing mushrooms - bee pollination - hummingbirds Please check out and support Anand’s work: full show notes @
June 25, 2018
Michelle Valberg - the Arctic Adventurer
Michelle Valberg is a Canadian wildlife photographer and nonprofit leader with several books to her name. She is a Nikon Ambassador and was named as the first ever Canadian Geographic Photographer-in-Residence. She founded Project North, a nonprofit that delivers education and sports-based opportunities to youth in Canada’s Arctic. If you love bears like I do, this podcast is for you! Included stories: - intimate experiences with spirit bears - a way too close for comfort encounter with a polar bear - the ice grizzlies of Canada - swimming with narwhals, the real unicorns of this world! Please check out and support Michelle’s work: (nonprofit work) Full show notes @ Full interview video @
June 21, 2018
Keith Connelly - African Adventure
Keith Connelly is a wildlife guide, photographic guide, professional photographer and travel addict. Included stories: - being shoved by a gorilla - getting caught in gunfire on a hippo-filled lake - climbing Kilimanjaro - conservation ideologies in Africa Please check out and support Keith’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
June 18, 2018
Margot Raggett - Remembering Wildlife
Margot Raggett is a renowned wildlife photographer and conservationist. Her Remembering Wildlife series of photographic books include contributions from some of the greatest wildlife photographers in the world and all proceeds are directly donated to important conservation work. Remembering Elephants, Rhinos, and Great Apes have received tremendous celebrity support and collectively raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect these species. Included stories: - the Remembering Wildlife series and conservation projects supported via funds raised - meeting Sudan, the last male Northern white rhino - visiting chimpanzees and mountain gorillas - the trophy hunting debate - a conversation with the legendary Jane Goodall Please check out and support Margot’s work: full show notes @
June 14, 2018
John Marriott - Spirit Bears, Grizzlies and Wolves!
John Marriott is a Canadian wildlife photographer, author, personality and outspoken conservation advocate. Included stories: - relaxing with spirit bears in the Great Bear Rainforest - photographing the ice grizzlies of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Yukon - four years tracking the Pipestone wolves in Banff National Park - the massive caribou migration - black-footed ferrets in Saskatchewan after being absent from Canada for almost a century Please check out and support Tony’s work: (photos, books, events) (tours / workshops) (YouTube / web series) Full show notes @ Full video @
June 11, 2018
Tony Wu - The Whale Whisperer
Tony Wu is a multiple winner at the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, most well known for his work underwater with whales and other cetaceans. Included stories: - Tony’s terrifying experience with a sperm whale that changed the course of his life - an underwater phenomenon that he is the only person on Earth to ever document - mass gatherings of whales - swimming with orcas - conservation issues affecting the future of the gentle giants. Please check out and support Tony’s work: Full show notes @ Full video @
June 7, 2018
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