Big name behind the ‘Big Cat Diary’

Jonathan Scott’s recently published autobiography, The Big Cat Man. It is a very enthusiastic account of his travels filming and presenting wildlife programmes, not only in Africa but also in America, Asia and Antarctica. PHOTO | JOHN FOX

What you need to know:

  • Yes, Jonathan Scott was indeed crapped on through the hatch of his vehicle by Kike, the cheetah, as he was filming in the Mara for the Big Cat Diaries. The episode was shown on TV, and the audience must have loved it.
  • The Big Cat Man has made me reach for my yellowed copy of Bernhard Grzimek’s, Serengeti Shall Not Die, first published in 1973 – because I too, like Jonathan, was stimulated to travel in East Africa’s game reserves by this classic of conservationist writing.
  • And it was in the Mara that Jonathan got to know its big cats – better than anyone has ever done, I think. In the Foreword to the book, Richard Leakey talks about Jonathan’s deep passion for the lions, leopards and cheetahs of the Mara.

My granddaughters in the UK wanted to travel all the way to Kenya, not because their granddad is here, but because they were watching the BBC’s Big Cat Diaries. That long-running series on lions, leopards and cheetahs in the Masai Mara made Jonathan Scott’s name – and made his face better known in the UK than in his home country, Kenya.

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