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Sir David Attenborough launches fight to save gorillas

Sir David Attenborough is fulfilling a promise made to his late friend, who pleaded with him to raise awareness of gorilla-poaching Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Sir David Attenborough has launched a global fight to save mountain gorillas in Rwanda from being poached.

The wildlife expert is backing a 'crowdfunding' campaign by Fauna & Flora International, which involves going online and encouraging a mass of people to directly fund a cause.

Sir David, who hopes to raise £110,000 by December 11, travelled to Rwanda in 1978 to film the gorillas' plight for the BBC's Life on Earth series.

In highlighting the issue, he is fulfilling a promise made three decades ago to his late friend, American zoologist Dian Fossey, after learning poachers were selling gorillas' body parts as trophies.

"She said: 'Please, please, please help spread the news. There are only 200 of them left in the wild'," Sir David said.

"So I promised I would do something."

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Tory councillor attacks 'silly old fart' Attenborough

A Conservative councillor has caused outrage on Twitter after he said he wished "silly old fart" Sir David Attenborough would "take a one-way trip to Switzerland".

He posted the comments after the naturalist said sending food aid to countries enduring famine was "barmy":

Phil_taylor_low_res_normal

I do wish this silly old fart would take a one-way trip to Switzerland. Practice what you preach. http://t.co/1LCknRROJH

Cllr Phil Taylor, who represents a ward in Ealing in west London later blogged that it was "an off the cuff, ironic comment" and "if David Attenborough is unhappy I am sorry."

He added that he was "frustrated" that the broadcaster used his 'national treasure' status to promote controversial views over population control.

Oxfam: David Attenborough 'wrong' on aid comments

Sir David Attenborough is "wrong" for his comments on aid where he said it was "barmy" attempting to solve famine in Africa by sending bags of flour, Oxfam said.

Read: Attenborough - Food aid to African famine is 'barmy'

Sir David Attenborough dismissed sending food aid to countries enduring famine as "barmy". Credit: PA

Hannah Stoddart, Oxfam senior policy adviser, said: “We can’t look the other way while men, women and children starve in a famine; it is our moral duty to help.

“David Attenborough is wrong – there is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone if we share what we have more fairly. Also, we could easily boost production by reversing decades of under-investment in poor countries' agriculture.

"Of course we need to act to reduce climate change and protect scarce natural resources but that does not mean turning our backs on people in dire situations who need our help."

Attenborough: Food aid to African famine is 'barmy'

David Attenborough's new series Rise Of Animals: Triumph Of The Vertebrates will begin on Friday. Credit: PA

Sir David Attenborough has dismissed sending food aid to countries enduring famine as "barmy" as he urged for more debate about population control.

The natural history broadcaster warned that the world is "heading for disaster" and without action the "natural world will do something", he told The Daily Telegraph.

He added that the natural world has been doing it "for a long time" and more discussion is needed.

"What are all these famines in Ethiopia, what are they about?" he said.

"They're about too many people for too little land. That's what it's about. And we are blinding ourselves.

"We say, get the United Nations to send them bags of flour. That's barmy."

Attenborough: Big BBC salaries an 'embarrassment'

Sir David Attenborough has labelled the salaries of BBC's senior management as a "huge embarrassment" in the wake of the latest controversy over executive pay at the organisation.

Current and former BBC executives were heavily criticised by MPs yesterday over large payoffs to former staff.

The veteran presenter said: "It doesn't require me to say that it is a huge embarrassment that salaries of that size are being paid in a public service organisation."

Veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Attenborough insisted the BBC were just going through a "bad patch" and remained "one of the most important strands in the cultural life" of Britain.

The 87-year-old described the possibility of a cut to the organisations funding as a potential "catastrophe".

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Attenborough urges public to count butterflies

Sir David Attenborough has called on the public to help assess if butterflies are recovering from their worst year on record.

Butterflies were hit by last summer's cold, wet weather which hampered their mating and egg-laying patterns leading to a reduced lifespan for species.

Butterfly Conservation are urging the public to count all the butterflies they can see, before submitting their sightings online or via a free app.

Butterfly Conservation President Sir David Attenborough with a south east Asian Great Mormon Butterfly on his nose Credit: PA Wire

Attenborough, president of the Butterfly Conservation, labelled last year's conditions a "disaster" for butterflies:

"The washout weather of 2012 proved a disaster for our butterflies; these conditions, coupled with long-term declines, means there are probably fewer butterflies in the UK than at any point during my lifetime.

"But it is not too late. You can help ensure that butterflies still bring that sense of magic to our summertime by taking part in the Big Butterfly Count."

David Attenborough suffers health scare

Sir David Attenbourough
Sir David Attenbourough, 87, was scheduled to go on a sell-out tour. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Sir David Attenbourough has pulled out of a scheduled tour to Australia and will undergo surgery today after being informed he is in “urgent need” of a pacemaker.

A statement by his promoters Lateral event management read: “Sir David Attenborough is to undergo surgery in London today following advice from his cardiologist that he is in urgent need of a pacemaker.

“It is with regret, therefore, that Lateral Events CEO Simon Baggs announced that the forthcoming sell-out tour of Australia, scheduled to begin in Brisbane next week, has been cancelled.

"Sir David expressed his extreme disappointment as he said he was very much looking forward to coming back to Australia and he hopes to reschedule his tour in the near future."

Sir David Attenborough: Wildlife report a 'stark warning'

Sir David Attenborough, who is launching the Study of Nature report, called it a "stark warning" but also "a sign of hope".

Sir David said: "For 60 years I have travelled the world exploring the wonders of nature and sharing that wonder with the public. But as a boy my first inspiration came from discovering the UK's own wildlife.

The golden eagle mainly lives in the moorlands and mountains of Scotland.
The golden eagle mainly lives in the moorlands and mountains of Scotland. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

"Our islands have a rich diversity of habitats which support some truly amazing plants and animals.

"We should all be proud of the beauty we find on our own doorstep; from bluebells carpeting woodland floors and delicately patterned fritillary butterflies, to the graceful basking shark and the majestic golden eagle soaring over the Scottish mountains.

Fears for UK wildlife after 'stark warning'

Wildlife in the UK is "in trouble", as almost 2,000 species of birds, animals, insects and plants are known to have declined in the past 50 years.

Some 60% of 3,148 British species studied have seen a reduction in numbers or range, with almost a third (31%) suffering major declines, according to a new report by a coalition of conservation and research organisations.

The report is being launched by Sir David Attenborough: "This ground-breaking report is a stark warning - but it is also a sign of hope.

Bluebells in Wanstead Park, East London.
Bluebells in Wanstead Park, East London. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

"For 60 years I have travelled the world exploring the wonders of nature and sharing that wonder with the public. But as a boy my first inspiration came from discovering the UK's own wildlife.

"Our islands have a rich diversity of habitats which support some truly amazing plants and animals.

"We should all be proud of the beauty we find on our own doorstep.

"This report shows that our species are in trouble, with many declining at a worrying rate."

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