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Dr Michael Leach

Dr Michael Leach is a zoologist, wildlife author and photographer. He has worked with animals on all 7 continents. He started as a BBC wildlife cameraman, filming more than 150 TV natural history programmes. He has written 38 wildlife books that have been translated into 22 languages.


About Dr Michael Leach

Dr Michael Leach has had photographs published in 11000 + books and every major wildlife and environmental magazine in the world. Michael has given more than 4000 illustrated talks all around the world. He is a regular visitor to Science Festivals, Arts Festivals, Literary Festivals etc. in 33 countries


Dr Michael Leach holds a Doctorate of Science (DSc), is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), Fellow of the Linnean Society, Fellow of the Zoological Society (FZS) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB)

Speech Topics

Snow Monkeys

Winter in the Japanese Alps is numbingly cold. Thick snow blankets the ground for months. Yet this is home to macaques, monkeys that normally live in warmer climates. To thrive at this altitude ‘snow monkeys’ have developed one unique survival technique, they spend the coldest days chin-deep in outdoor hot-tubs. This is the story of Michael’s (very chilly) time with one group.

In the Steps of the Ice Bear

Polar bears, the super-predators of the frozen North, may vanish in our lifetime.   The ice that supports them, in every sense, is becoming thinner. This talk explores the life of the giant white bears that roam the Arctic wilderness, the seals upon which they depend  and their turbulent relationship with humans.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Wolves of myth are murderousband cunning –  the real animals are very different but equally compelling. Michael guides us into the realm of the timber wolf.  He explores their complex social world, their subtle behaviour and powerful family bonds – these animals are intelligent, timid and kill only to survive. In our shared history the most violent behaviour, by far, comes from humans. This talk unravels murky and misleading legend from fact.

Secrets of Wildlife Filming

Michael explains the basics of his art in this revealing and humorous introduction to the realities of professional wildlife photography. This is definitely NOT a technical talk, rather, Michael looks at the superlative highs and painful lows of the job. He explains how to coax animals into the right spot and convince them that no human is watching. He uncovers some of the cunning, underhand tricks-of-the-trade that produce some unlikely photographs. Be prepared to have some illusions shattered!

Enchanted Islands

Little was known about the Galapagos Islands when Charles Darwin visited in 1835. But his discoveries there produced ideas that completely changed the way we view ourselves and the world around us. Today these iconic islands are home to some of the world’s most extraordinary wildlife. Michael has visited Galapagos many times and here he tells their story.

The Natural History of Christmas

Every winter we decorate our homes for Christmas but where do these customs come from?  Michael explains the natural history of the holly and the ivy, the pre-Christian roots of hanging mistletoe and the origins of roast turkey. He explains the true story of our favourite Christmas bird – the robin and looks at the Viking ancestry of Yule logs. Most interesting of all, He reveals just how we celebrate flying reindeer.

Beneath the Dark Canopy

A tropical rainforest is the richest habitat on Earth. It contains more than half of all known animal species. But what exactly is a rainforest? Using his experiences around the world Michael explains this fragile and intricate environment and shows some of the highly specialised animals that live there The talk covers monkeys, parrots, tree frogs, orangutans and, of course, the millions of humans that make their home inside the rainforest.

The Children’s Eternal Forest

Bosque Eterno de los Ninos is vast, one of the largest wildlife reserves in Central America. This cloud forest is home to monkeys, sloths,  hummingbirds and species still undiscovered by science. It was saved by children  around the world. They raised funds and contributed pocket money, until there was enough to buy the forest. The children rescued a hugely important habitat and gave it, for ever, to the wildlife it supports.  This talk tells the extraordinary story of the forest and its salvation.

Poles Apart  

The Arctic and Antarctic are blurred in our popular culture, Michael’s adventures have taken him into both these extreme environments. This presentation reveals the fragile domains of polar bears, king penguins, snowy owls, elephant seals and reindeer from both ends of the earth. In this time of climate change we discover landscapes that have lured explorers for centuries now under threat of destruction.

In the Midst of Gorillas

Michael tells of his time living with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. He explains how to get close to these charismatic characters and demonstrates how to communicate with the gentle, intelligent creatures. Audiences learn to chest beat, knuckle walk and communicate with long belches.

The Complete Owl

Based on Michael’s best-selling book, this talk reveals British owls in folklore and fact; it looks at barn owls and tawny owls, little owls and cat owls and the specialised techniques that help them hunt. It dispels misleading myths and is illustrated with high-speed photographs of owls in flight.

Animals Behaving Badly                                          

It’s not only humans that manipulate and mislead. Animals – particularly the brighter ones – often learn to cut corners, cheat and become con artists. Meet the drunken monkeys, psychotic magpies,  hallucinating lemurs and piratical orang-utans.

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