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Naturalist Emanuele Biggi about conservation and the importance of perspective to embrace the tiny world

door | dec 2, 2020 | They let Nature Talk

Emanuele Biggi is an Italian naturalist with a PhD in environmental sciences. He is also an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, offering him a network of well known nature photographers and other influential people and providing a form of authority which sometimes helps opening doors. Furthermore he is a TV presenter, co-hosting a daily 3 hour show called GEO together with Sveva Sagramola, for an audience of 2 million viewers. And last but not least the subtitle on his website mentions ‘frogs and bugs nerd, predators addicted, sex-fangs-and rock’n’roll’. So who is Emanuele?
From fascination to passion 

Ever since being a little boy, Emanuele has a fascination for the tiny creatures in our world. As soon as he started walking, he started exploring the kindergarden looking for insects. Shaking shrubs and collecting spiders and insects that fell out of it into little jars, gave him a chance to examine them for a few days before releasing them again. His parents noticed his passion and stimulated and supported him without any pressure. Through reading books together, they helped him develop his knowledge about arthropods, amphibians and reptiles.

Megalorremius leo, a very rare arthropod, Emanuele Biggi
So his nature career started at an early age and stepped up further when he was ‘allowed to steal’ his dad’s camera and he started documenting his natural world. When he reached university, madness kicked in and his hobby started to become work. The more he knew the more his passion grew. Luckily by that time internet had become common means and offered him a tremendous chance to expand his knowledge and meet soulmates all over the world. Conservation starts with familiarity Nowadays Emanuele’s work is all about nature and conservation. His goal is to inject people with a new and fresh interest in lesser known or endangered animals, mostly in the lesser known world of arthropods, amphibians and reptiles. He believes you cannot change people’s minds without changing people’s perspective; you cannot force people to love something they don’t know.
You can't force people to love something they don't know! 
Liphistius malayanus, Emanuele Biggi
He is striving for results as a naturalist, as a conservation photographer documenting the natural world and as TV presenter, explaining the natural world and pointing out the effects of climate change. And with all of these initiatives, he excels as a communicator.  His website www.anura.it mentions ‘We live in a vast planet full of life we only partially perceive, because of our dimensions. I’m working for that greater fraction that’s also the smaller-sized one.’ Emanuele knows not everybody has the time nor the ambition to put their belly on the ground in order to get to know whatever crawls around. So Emanuele helps us by making these creepers bigger through his photos and explaining their role in the ‘grand design’, indicating these creepers are important and useful. He believes that we fear what we don’t know.  So by getting us to know the tiny creatures that live around us, he believes we won’t fear them anymore and we will start protecting them. Or at least stop stepping on them!
By getting us to know the tiny creatures Emanuele believes we won't fear them 
Natural science for a broad audience 

Being presenter of a TV show offers him the opportunity to talk about topics like nature and  environment, and to present some very nice documentaries from around the world. During this TV  show, Emanuele and his partner also offer a platform to scientists and ngo’s like WWF and Sea  Shepherd, giving them the opportunity to tell the audience about their work, about their goals and  why these goals are important.

Emanuele realizes that scientists don’t always have time and sometimes lack skills to tell what they  do in a way that is understandable to laymen. That is where Emanuele steps in, as he loves to  bridge the gap between scientists and the non scientific world. He explains the work scientists do  in the field and the hardship they have to endure to get their results. And so he contributes to  untangle the fake news about what is going on with our planet. This contribution is extremely  important nowadays as fake news seems to flood our daily news and climate skeptics are  becoming louder by the day!

Living almost entirely under water, the diving bell spider 
(Argyroneta aquatica), Emanuele Biggi
Saving the Deserta Grande wolf spider 

When asked for examples of memorable achievements, Emanuele points out his mentions and his  contribution to a daily TV show. But his eyes sparkle when he starts talking about his contribution  to the conservation of an almost vanished arthropod. He proudly talks about his trip to a remote  island called Deserta Grande, part of the Madeira archipelago (Portugal). Due to his enthusiasm  and perseverance Emanuele was granted access to the Island, only to photograph the Deserta  Grande wolf spider (Hogna ingens). This spider exclusively lives inside a small valley of the island.  Due to the introduction of rabbits and goats, followed by the introduction of an exotic herb called  Phalaris aquatica, the local ecosystem was severely disturbed. The spider’s habitat got ruined and  the animal balanced on the brink of extinction.

Emanuele’s trip made clear that the spider population was suffering severely. As a result the  authorities started talking about conservation of this particular wolf spider. The spider became  listed on the IUCN red list. Next some of the spiders were brought to Bristol zoo gardens where  they started breeding in captivity in order to release them in the wild again. And on the Madeira  Island Deserta Grande they started to restore its natural habitat. Emanuele started this movement  and is – in a very modest way – proud of the success so far, preventing the Deserta Grande wolf  spider to become extinct.

Deserta Grande wolf spider (Hogna ingens), Emanuele Biggi
If you want to learn more about Emanuele, his passion and what he stands for, attend his  performance on the Nature Talks festival!

Erik Ruiterman

Hi there! I am Erik Ruiterman. I love birds and photography so I am an enthusiastic nature photographer. I like writing as well so I am a blogger. And because there must be food on the table I also work as a consultant. Due to my training as a fashion photographer my view on 'natural beauty' has change for ever. You can find my portfolio on Nature in Stock. (https://www.natureinstock.com/search?s=ruiterman) My photo adventures often form the basis for my blogs in which I try to view the phenomenon of nature photography in a relative way. For me that is always with a wink and a nod. You can of course find my blogs on this site. But also on topic2.nl.

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