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Attenborough back to 'capture' more Sabah wonders

Published on: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Famed natural history film maker, Sir David Attenborough, arrived Wednesday with a crew of 44 to spend a month in Danum Valley and Gomantong to produce a 3-dimenesional documentary called "Conquest of the Sky" for release in UK's Sky Vision next December and subsequently worldwide.

"You are rich in wonders," Attenborough noted when asked what was it in Sabah's pulling power that made him come back for the fourth time, at Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa.

"We are making a story on how insects and animals with bones have evolved to fly and you have more examples of interesting ways of flying here in Borneo than anywhere else in the world," he said, citing the flying fox, flying reptiles, flying snakes, and "an extraordinary thing called the flying lemur."

"This is the biggest production ever we are handling since we set foot in Sabah 17 years ago," said Simon Christopher, founder and CEO of Scubazoo, the ground handler or Fixer of the filming project.

Anthony Geffen, CEO and Executive Producer of Atlantic Productions, has come along.

Attenborough is best known for writing and presenting the nine landmark Life series in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, which collectively form a comprehensive survey of life on the planet, such as Life on Earth (1979); The Living Planet (1984); The Trial of Life (1990); The Private Life of Plants; The Life of Birds(1995); The Life of Mammals (2002); Life in the Undergrowth (2005); Life in Cold Blood - the grand finale of the series.

Asked how real is the so called Sixth mass extinction ongoing right now - a sobering reminder of the first mass extinction 250 million years ago which wiped out 96pc of the marine species, Sir Attenborough, who knows current threats to life best, said:

"It's real but you have to think in terms of time scale - the dinosaurs didn't disappear in 10 years, they didn't disappear in a century, they disappeared in tens of thousands of years. That was what we call mass extinction but what's happening now is animals and plants disappearing within a year!" he remarked. "The rate at which species are disappearing is unparalleled, you can't see it in geological record!" Attenborough warned.

Asked what keeps him a healthy and alert globe trotting natural history film maker at 87, Attenborough quipped "Lots of whisky!"

But he confessed he's no great exercise fan and derives the greater part of his joy and excitement from being always be in the field close in touch with nature.