Sir David's animal magic

Broadcaster, naturalist and national treasure Sir David Attenborough turned 95 this year.

It’s almost impossible to overstate his influence. Sir David has brought us iconic documentaries including The Blue Planet and Planet Earth, had various species named in his honour (including the ghost shrimp from Madagascar, known as Ctenocheloides attenboroughi) and, more recently, campaigned to raise awareness about the climate crisis and the effect it’s having on the natural world.

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Sir David started working at the BBC in the 1950s, and over his long career he’s travelled the globe, meeting new and unusual animals and giving us a glimpse into the wonders of the natural world. These are just some of the creatures he’s met along the way.

In the 1950s, Sir David went on an expedition to the former British Guiana (now the independent country of Guyana) and made one of his first programs for the BBC, Zoo Quest. Here, he’s pictured with his son Robert in 1955, with a coatimundi – a close relation to the raccoon – brought back from the country.

Read more: David Attenborough locations

After giving a lecture about the expedition, Sir David showed excited children a capybara from Guyana.

Here, the naturalist and his daughter Susan are pictured with a sulphur-crested cockatoo called Georgie in 1957.

Sir David travelled to the Kalahari Desert in South Africa and met with some of the local meerkats for his 2002 documentary series The Life Of Mammals.

One of Sir David’s more unusual red-carpet guests was Inti, an armadillo from Edinburgh Zoo.

In 2016, the broadcaster officially renamed the Attenborough Komodo Dragon House at ZSL London Zoo – and here he’s with Ganas, a six-year-old Komodo dragon.

Continuing on the lizard theme is the time Sir David held an Australian bearded dragon, after receiving an honorary degree from Queen’s University in Belfast in 2013.

Read more: Attenborough’s memorable moments

As Butterfly Conservation president, Sir David is no stranger to getting up close and personal with butterflies – and here he is with a Southeast Asian great Mormon variety in 2012.

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Sir David has had a lifelong fascination with frogs; they were the first animals he kept as a boy.

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A whole episode of the 2018 series Dynasties was dedicated to these animals – the painted wolves of Zimbabwe.

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This is the moment Sir David said ‘Boo’ to a sloth, in the 2002 show Life Of Mammals. He called them “one of the most extraordinary plant predators” – and “one animal that I don’t need to sneak up on”.

Read more: Sir David’s life on our planet

What’s your favourite David Attenborough moment? What do you think is his most fascinating documentary? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

– With PA

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