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18 June 2014
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Hands on Nature

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Your Hands on Nature presenter

Dr Sanjida O'Connell

Sanjida O'Connell

Sanjida O'Connell has always been passionate about animals and nature.

Sanjida talks about how she caught the nature bug, and some of her favourite moments from the Hands on Nature television series.

Sanjida - a passion for wildlife

I've always been passionate about animals.

When I was five we were living in Africa and I remember looking into long grass (much taller than me) and thinking, 'I must go in there and find some bugs', but being just a little bit too frightened to go for it!

I studied zoology at university and went on to do a PhD on chimpanzee psychology, where I compared chimp minds with childrens'.

The real difference lay between male and female chimps: the girls paid attention to my experiments and did well, but the boys, sadly, chucked things and peed on me. They failed the tests.

Right now, as well as presenting, I direct science documentaries and write novels, as well as non-fiction books and articles on science and the environment.

PuffinBrilliant nature

Hands on Nature has been a real pleasure to work on.

I've travelled to places I wouldn't otherwise have gone to - it's always brilliant to visit places in this country as, like many people, I tend to travel abroad for holidays.

My favourite has to be the Farne Islands, where the birds have
so little fear of humans that you can sit right next to them.

I was so close I could see the green of a Shag's eye, and lay in a patch of nettles nose to beak with a nesting Tern - what a treat!

Kite chickWorld wildlife

As well as presenting, I also write books. My latest is called 'Sugar: The Grass that Changed the World'.

It involved travelling to terribly difficult places like Barbados.

In the meantime you can see me back on home territory presenting Hands on Nature on BBC Two.

I hope that you'll join me and my fellow presenters.

Nature team

Meet the Hands on Nature team:

Chris Packham
Mike Dilger
Janet Sumner


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Today's video clip:

Manx Shearwater

Hands on Nature


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