The life of Sir David Attenborough

He spent his life sharing his passion for nature and telling the world about its fragile beauty. This is the life of Sir David Attenborough.

Presenter, naturalist, and ecologist

David Attenborough is an iconic figure when it comes to biodiversity. He was born on May 8, 1926, in a suburb of London. During World War II, his parents welcomed two Jewish refugees into their home. One of them gave David a piece of amber containing fossilized insects. From an early age, he was interested in the wild species around him. At just 7 years old, he had his own collection of butterflies. At 11, he sold newts and salamanders to the zoology department at the university nearby.

So, in 1945, it was only natural that he went to study geology and zoology at the University of Cambridge, where he obtained a degree in natural sciences. After his studies and two years of military service, he began writing natural science books for children. In 1952, he was hired as a producer for the BBC. In 1954, he hosted the documentary series “Zoo Quest” in which he followed teams from the London Zoo on their quest for wild animals. He became a celebrity and increasingly contributed to the evolution of wildlife documentaries.

In 1965, after a break to pursue a PhD in anthropology, he was appointed controller of BBC Two. A clause in his contract nevertheless allowed him to carry on filming all over the world. In 1979, he presented one of the most famous shows of his career: “Life on Earth”. In a now-classic episode, mountain gorillas began interacting with him.

For over 60 years, he has worked on numerous TV shows and documentaries, receiving numerous awards in the process. He also holds the record for the most
honorary titles of the United Kingdom and over 20 species have been named in his honor, such as the Attenborosaurus. While filming in some of the most remote parts of the world, he became aware of the importance of environmental conservation. This commitment has increasingly grown stronger since then with his involvement in numerous environmental projects such as protecting butterflies and safeguarding parts of the Borneo rainforest transitioning towards renewable energies.