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My Wild Life: My Other Office

Posted: Tuesday 5th May 2015 by

you get given four baby chickens by your father to care for at the age of 6, you feel like you have the greatest responsibility in the world (your 6 year old world anyway).

I cared for them and raised them into adults and by that time, I was hooked....Animals were my world. That's the first memory I have of my passion for living things and caring, watching and learning about wildlife all over the world.

I left school and did several jobs ranging from assistant in a shop to building large landscaping projects and tree surgery....but there was only one job (well two really) that I wanted to be; a zoo keeper looking after African animals. I was obsessed with Africa from a very early age through documentaries, books and magazines.

I eventually secured a posting at the world famous Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia where I lived for about half of my life so far. It was one of the best day of my life and I wouldn't be sitting here in the south African bush typing this and looking over a water hole with hippos bobbing around if t wasn't for that zoo.

I decided to move to Africa in 1997, but before I left the zoo I had a chance meeting one afternoon through the PR department with 4 National Geographic executives. After I completed a behind the scenes tour of the giraffe, chimpanzees and others, one exec (after knowing that I had resigned) asked me to give him a call on Monday...he had an idea. he wanted me to take a video camera with me and send him a 'video postcard' back every week...I had no experience and through the magic of the editors, they pulled together 82 episodes of 'Video Postcards - Africa'...it was the beginning of s dream come true.

I had no plans of leaving Africa until a beautiful red-head walked into my life and we ended up in the UK. I was traveling so much that I decide to stop working in TV so much and wanted a more stable job that kept me in the UK with my wife and son, now 9.

That's when this incredible opportunity came up to manage the Surrey Wildlife Trust's Centres Based Education Department. It one of the best things I have ever done, and luckily allows me to dip back into my TV work in Africa a few times a year. I broadcast LIVE from my Landrover on Start Your Day on Safari! and across Nat Geo WILD USA several times a year. its the best of both worlds.

If we can inspire people people to look at both the local and the global picture, we have a chance of helping protect our habitats and never to forget our own back yard in beautiful UK countryside.

I have two offices, I love them both...its been a wild life so far!

Hayden Turner

SWT Education Centres Manager & TV Presenter

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