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Bradt green prints: if using four colour - C100 M10 Y100 K0


if using spot colour - pms 355u

Sunday 20th May 2018 Royal Geographical Society

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Welcome to the Bradt Travel Guides Big Cat Festival – the UK’s only event devoted purely to nature’s glamour pusses! Bradt is well-known for its strong focus on nature in its travel and wildlife guides. However, it’s big cats specifically that have taken centre stage in several of our recent ‘literary’ titles, from Jonathan Scott’s Big Cat Man to Princess Michael’s A Cheetah’s Tale. Which got us thinking: why not host a day celebrating the apex animals on everyone’s safari wishlist? And so here we are. We’ve pulled together a stellar line-up of some of the UK’s leading broadcasters, naturalists, photographers and conservationists, talking about everything from big cats in literature and on canvas to raising big cats for release to the wild. Alongside the main talks in the Ondaatje Theatre, there are smaller breakout presentations in the Education Centre (with seats available on a firstcome first-served basis), and the chance to see Jonathan Truss’s breathtaking paintings in the Map Room, where you’ll also find the bar. It’s a varied and fascinating programme. I’d like to thank our sponsors – Exodus Travels, Swarovski Optik and the Cheetah Conservation Fund – without whom the event simply wouldn’t have been possible. They each have a stand in the Hall upstairs, and have provided a few exclusive festival offers which you’ll find in your goodie bags when you leave (along with a free copy of Bradt’s A Summer of British Wildlife). And of course everyone who bought a ticket to the event has been entered into the draw to win a safari holiday for two to Kenya, generously provided by Kicheche Camps and Kenya Airways. The winner will be notified by email, but – if you can’t wait – we’ll also announce the name shortly before the final talk of the day in the Ondaatje Theatre. Good luck! Thank you for choosing to spend your Sunday with us at this festival, which we hope will become an annual event. I’m under strict instructions to avoid any roll-your-eyes cat-related jokes. But obviously that’s utterly impossible… So I’ll paws there, and wish you a purr-fect day.

Adrian Phillips Managing Director Bradt Travel Guides


Ondaatje Theatre

11:30 – 12:15 Christian the Lion: The Legacy

Education Centre

Max capacity: 50

Hall – book signings

John Rendall and Derek Cattani

12:30 – 13:15 Paws for Thought

12:15 – 12:45 So You Want to be a Wildlife Photographer?

Jonathan & Angela Scott

Mike Unwin

13:15 – 13:45 The Art of the Big Cat 13:30 – 14:15 A Cheetah’s Tale

Jonathan Truss

HRH Princess Michael of Kent

13.45 Mike Unwin

14:15 – 14:45 The Big Cat Picture Clinic 14:30 – 15:15 Big Cats on the BBC

Gavin Boyland

13.00 Jonathan and Angela Scott

Paul Goldstein

14.15 HRH Princess Michael of Kent


Ondaatje Theatre

Education Centre

Max capacity: 50

Hall – book signings

15:15 – 15:45 A Big Cat Travel Guide 15:30 – 16:15 Spots and Stripes Paul Goldstein

16:30 – 17:15 Living with Lions: The Marsh Pride

Jonathan & Angela Scott

17:20 Safari Prize Winner Announcement

17:30 – 18:00 Big Cats: The Future?

Panel discussion

Mike Unwin

16:15 – 16:45 Videoing Wildlife for the Amateur

Gavin Boyland

16.15 Paul Goldstein

PROGRAMME Ondaatje Theatre

11.30 “Christian the Lion: The Legacy” John Rendall & Derek Cattani Christian the lion cub was bought by John Rendall and his friend, Ace Bourke, from Harrods in 1969 and later successfully released into the wild. The video of John and Ace’s emotional reunion with Christian in Africa became one of the most-watched clips ever on YouTube, and sparked renewed interest in this remarkable story. Ahead of publication of their new book of photographs of Christian, John Rendall and Derek Cattani – who took the neverbefore-seen photographs in the book – discuss Christian’s legacy.

12.30 “Paws for Thought: Big Cats in Words and Reality” Mike Unwin Travel and nature writer Mike Unwin asks what it is about big cats that has so long fired our imaginations. He looks at their depiction in literature, from Shere Khan to Elsa, and describes his own journey from admirer of cats on page and screen to observer of cats in reality. Along the way, he also reflects on what our obsession with these animals tells us about ourselves.

13.30 “A Cheetah’s Tale” HRH Princess Michael of Kent in conversation with Adrian Phillips As a teenager in Africa in the 1960s, Princess Michael rescued an orphaned cheetah – which she named Tess – and spent 18 months hand-rearing the cub for release back into the wild. Princess Michael describes this extraordinary period, and discusses her lifelong passion for big cats, including her conservation work with organisations like the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

14.30 “Big Cats on the BBC” Gavin Boyland The BBC’s acclaimed Big Cats documentary series offered a captivating portrait of the entire cat family, from super prides of lions in Tanzania to the rusty spotted cat of Sri Lanka. Join Series Producer and Director Gavin Boyland as he shares his favourite moments, and offers a rare insight into how his team used technology and science to get their ground-breaking big-cat footage.

15.30 “Spots and Stripes” Paul Goldstein Paul Goldstein has spent much of the last 25 years trying to capture the perfect spotted image of cheetahs, leopards and jaguars, a quest in which he generally fails. He has also run 15 marathons in a tiger costume to raise awareness of the plight of these endangered Bengal predators. Join this award-winning photographer, guide, camp owner and presenter as he gives a passionate and often hilarious talk about his obsession with big cats.

16.30 “Living with Lions: A Lifetime in the Company of the Marsh Pride” Jonathan & Angela Scott Jonathan Scott, the presenter of BBC’s Big Cat Diary, and his wife Angela, an award-winning wildlife photographer, have spent over 40 years in the company of big cats in the Maasai Mara. They describe what it was like getting to know the Marsh Pride, watching the lions’ highs and lows, and discuss the challenges faced by animals living on the boundary between a protected area and privately owned ranch land.

17.30 “Big Cats: The Future?” Panel discussion featuring . . . Jonathan Scott, Dr Laurie Marker, Dr Sarah Durant, and Carey Widdows Who is doing what to preserve our favourite species? How can big dogs help big cats? What has the “Cecil Effect” meant for conservation efforts? Will tigers and cheetahs still roam free when the 22nd century rolls around? We conclude the day by considering the future of big cats in the wild with a panel of leading experts in conservation.

PROGRAMME Education Centre

12.15 “So You Want to be a Wildlife Photographer?” Jonathan & Angela Scott Jonathan and Angela Scott give their expert tips on taking top-quality wildlife photographs, and discuss the challenges facing those trying to get stunning shots in highly congested places like the Maasai Mara. They also offer advice on how young people can follow their dream of “doing something with wildlife”, and what that might mean.

13.15 “The Art of the Big Cat” Jonathan Truss Jonathan Truss, a world-renowned professional wildlife painter for over 25 years, shows some of his original Big Cat oil paintings, and offers an unmissable insight into what it takes to paint the perfect image on canvas.

14.15 “The Big Cat Picture Clinic” Paul Goldstein Each year, guide and cat photographer Paul Goldstein looks at thousands of guests’ images and offers an expert – and unvarnished! – appraisal of their strengths and weaknesses. Bring your own pictures (on hard copy or USB stick) for some practical, honest and constructive advice from a professional in the field.

15.15 “A Big Cat Travel Guide” Mike Unwin Mike Unwin gives a round-up of the best big-cat-watching opportunities around the world, with practical advice on where to go and how to maximise your chances of viewing the animals without blowing your budget.

16.15 “Videoing Wildlife for the Amateur” Gavin Boyland These days, most smartphones can take video, and – if you know what you’re doing – it’s quite possible to capture good footage of big cats. Gavin Boyland uses his broadcasting experience to reveal some tricks of the trade, and provides handy tips on both filming and editing your video.

Hall 13.00 Jonathan and Angela Scott sign copies of Big Cat Man, The Marsh Lions and Sacred Nature. 13.45 Mike Unwin signs copies of 100 Bizarre Animals and Southern African Wildlife. 14.15 HRH Princess Michael of Kent signs copies of A Cheetah’s Tale. 16.15 Paul Goldstein signs copies of Spots, Mara Magic and Predator.

Bradt green prints: if using four colour - C100 M10 Y100 K0 if using spot colour - pms 355u

Bradt green prints: if using four colour - C100 M10 Y100 K0 if using spot colour - pms 355u


Q Where can I collect my pre-ordered lunch? A Lunches, which must have been pre-ordered in advance of the festival,

can be collected from the bar in the Map Room. The bar will also have snacks and drinks available to purchase throughout the day.

Q How long will the talks last? A The talks in the Ondaatje Theatre will last 30 minutes, with 5-10 minutes

of questions at the end. The sessions in the Education Centre will last 30 minutes. Please note, space in the Education Centre is limited so entry to talks there is offered on a first come first served basis.

Q What is there to do at the festival other than talks? A You can visit the Hall and Map Room where we have exhibitor stands,

and an art exhibition by Jonathan Truss. There will be plenty of time between the talks and breakout sessions to visit these.

Q Can I leave and re-enter? A Of course! Please see the front desk staff for a wristband if you are

planning on re-entering the venue.

Q Where do I collect my goodie bag? A These will be available for collection when you exit the event. If you have any other questions please visit the Bradt Travel Guides stand in the Hall, where someone will be able to help you.

Don’t forget to visit the

Bradt Travel Guides bookshop, located in the Hall. Here are just a few of the titles available to purchase:

Bradt green prints:

Bradt green prints:

if using four colour - C100 M10 Y100 K0 if using spot colour - pms 355u

Big Cat Festival - Programme  

Join us at the RGS on Sunday 20th May to immerse yourself in the world of big cats with inspiring talks, workshops and films by some of the...

Big Cat Festival - Programme  

Join us at the RGS on Sunday 20th May to immerse yourself in the world of big cats with inspiring talks, workshops and films by some of the...