May 22

Charlie Whittaker, ARKive Media ResearcherI’ve been looking for pictures of cute animals for a living and asking people very nicely to let us use them for ARKive since August 2008. I also work on ARKive Education and helped set up the STEM Ambassador scheme at Wildscreen, creating new teaching resources and running ARKive-themed workshops in schools.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just been moonlighting as a film producer with Nick, our film editor, putting together some “ARKive News” films about conservation in Madagascar and the Galapagos Islands. These were filmed by students at a school in London as part of a workshop we ran with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, one of our supporters. We’re jazzing up the best ones with some extra footage and music and will be presenting these back to students shortly.

What animal skill would you most like to have?

I always used to think that I wanted to be able to fly but I think for my weight, my wings and keel would have to be huge and look rather ridiculous. So I think it would be to have gills. My background is in marine biology and I’d love to be able get down without SCUBA gear.

Which three people would you invite to the ultimate dinner party?

If it were the ultimate dinner party then I assume that the other guests attending would be the ultimate guests – so I’d probably take three of my closest friends to share in the experience.

Where in the world would you most like to go?

The Coral Triangle, simply for its marine life. I’d definitely want the gills for that trip. I’d probably come back via Easter Island too – stone heads and a stern lesson in environmental mismanagement are right up my street!

Which celebrity do you most look like?

Apparently it used to be Nick Grimshaw, from BBC Radio 1 – but now I have short hair I am apparently more similar to John Torode of UK Masterchef infamy. It’s the large jaw.

What’s the best wildlife encounter you’ve ever had?

When I was 17 I did an Earthwatch project studying sea otters in Alaska. We stayed in small log and canvas cabins by the side of Prince William Sound. One day whilst loudly complaining of “the lack of bears in Alaska”, a HUGE male black bear walked past the window, less than 2 yards away. The thing is, he looked so soft and cuddly I wanted to run outside right there and then. I doubt he would have been as pleased to see me, though.

What’s your favourite thing on ARKive?

One of the things I love about ARKive is that it displays wildlife in all of its glory, but also at its most grisly. The natural world is a tough place and the survival strategies that have evolved never cease to amaze/horrify me… I just try not to judge it from a human perspective.

Tell us an animal related joke.

Q:         What do you call a bovine animal on all fours who likes singing the Eurythmics…

A:         A kneeling ox

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