Autumnwatch: Ask Liz Bonnin a question
You might well know Liz Bonnin as one of the quartet of presenters on Bang Goes The Theory, BBC One’s science-debunking show. But what is less well known is Liz’s fascination with wildlife, especially her passion for exploring the secretive world of the big cat.
This Autumnwatch, Liz joins us in the search of one of our own wildcat families in the heart of the Cairngorms. She’ll be looking at the efforts to conserve one of Britain's rarest mammals. There are believed to be as few as 400 individuals, known as ‘highland tigers’, left in the wild.
Liz with Jess the sniffer dog
She’ll also be on Unsprung to answer the best of your questions. So is there anything you've always wanted to know about wild cats, Britain’s only remaining native feline? Have you had a close encounter with one? What would you like to ask Liz?
The wild cat is distinguished from feral domestic cats by its wide head, sideways pointing ears, blunt-ended tail and distinctively striped coat. Mainly active around dawn and dusk, these feline predators prefer a solitary existence. It’s a real challenge for the team to track these elusive animals.
Liz’s experience of tracking tigers in Nepal (while taking a Masters degree in wild animal biology and conservation) will surely help the team pick up the trail of these mini big cats.
Her love of nature has seen her get up close and personal with compound eyes in flies, visit a brown pelican rescue centre in the Gulf of Mexico, follow herds of burping cows and even eat locust or two all in the name of science.
But she’s not your average scientist. French-born but Dublin breed, Liz has also presented Top Of The Pops, RI:SE (Channel 4) and Science Friction (Irish RTE). When not working to a busy production schedule, she can be found working on one of the Zoological Society of London’s conservation programmes to help big cats including snow leopards, lions and cheetahs.
Was Liz successful in her challenge? If you missed it last night watch Autumnwatch on iPlayer to find out.
In the meantime, post your wild cat questions for Liz below.
Update 15 October: Thanks for all your great wildcat questions. Liz is working through them as we speak and will answer the best very soon. Just a note to say that if you post any more we can't promise they'll be answered. You could always try the messageboard.