Aug 14

Ellie Sans, ARKive Media ResearcherI came to Bristol to study Zoology 6 years ago and loved the city so much I didn’t want to leave. I’ve been at ARKive for about two and a half years and am also studying part time for a Masters in International Rural Development.

What are you currently working on?

Like the other Media Researchers I’m currently busy updating some of the first species to be profiled on ARKive with some great new imagery and footage. I am also helping the Species Text Authors edit the hundreds of ARKive texts received this year from students as part of the ARKive and University Scheme.

What animal skill would you most like to have?

The effortless way some arboreal primates move through the treetops has always impressed me so I’d love to have the strength and agility of a gibbon. On second thoughts, I’m pretty good at locking myself out of my house so being able to squeeze back in through a really tight space, like this octopus, would be really useful.

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

I wouldn’t want spend my dinner party with people I didn’t know so I would invite my closest friends; but to make sure we have the ultimate time I’d ask Joanna Newsom to provide the music, Nigel Slater to cook the food and Noel Fielding to provide a bit of bizarre cabaret and if they happened to want to join us for pudding, then the more the merrier!

Where in the world would you most like to go?

I’d love to go to British Columbia in western Canada for the epic landscapes and the chance to see bears, moose and my favourite rodent, beavers.

What are you most looking forward to doing this summer?

My favorite summer moment is the day the swifts come back to the UK to breed – but that happened months ago so right now I am most looking forward to swimming in a mountain lake in Italy.

Which celebrity do you most look like?

I’m not sure I’d be the best judge of that – what do you think?

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

Snorkelling round one of the tiny Yasawa islands of Fiji, I wasn’t really expecting to see anything other than coral and small fish, when out of the murky water came gliding a huge manta ray. The visibility in the water wasn’t great so it vanished quickly into the gloom – a short but amazing experience.

More recently and closer to home in north Norfolk I came across a spot that seemed ideal nightjar territory. Returning just before sunset I sat in silence for an hour, waiting. Disappointed and about to leave, I heard the strangest sound, a disembodied whirring noise that seemed more electronic than natural. The nightjar then swooped down over the clearing and landed in a nearby tree. I watched it alternate between calling from its perch and hawking for moths until it was too dark to see.

What’s your favourite thing on ARKive?

It’s far too hard to choose my favourite species, but my favourite thing is ‘In the News’ on the ARKive blog.

Tell us an animal related joke.

Two penguins are standing on an ice floe. The first penguin says, “You look like you’re wearing a tuxedo”. The second penguin says, “What makes you think I’m not?”