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The travel that changed me: Adam Hart

Headshot of Adam Hart

In his new book, Adam Hart probes the relationships between humans and predators. Here, he explains why conservation isn’t just about animals

From big cats to army ants, Adam Hart knows about animals. Since his PhD in Zoology, he has been involved in numerous research projects across the globe, from the rainforests of Panama to the savannahs of South Africa. He is Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire where he teaches animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, evolution, statistics, mathematical modelling, citizen science, science communication, African savannah ecology and field skills. Phew!

Adam Hart

Adam is also a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service, has made more than 30 radio documentaries and co-hosted BBC documentaries Planet Ant and Hive Alive. Adam has also spearheaded some of the UK’s largest citizen science projects with the Royal Society of Biology including the Flying Ant survey, the Spider in da House app and survey, and the Starling Murmuration survey.

In his previous books, Adam examined the mismatch between human evolution and the modern world (Unfit for Purpose) and our complicated relationship with bacteria (The Life of Poo). His next book, The Deadly Balance, explores the difficult interactions between humans and predatory animals such as lions, bears and wolves, and how we can balance conservation with development to create a world where both predators and people can thrive.

Fortunately for us, Adam has found time to answer a few questions about his new book, conservation work and the travels that shaped his life.

What drew you to zoology and conservation science?

I have been interested in wildlife and the natural world for as long as I can remember. I was lucky to grow up in a “scientific” house – both my parents had scientific backgrounds – and in an area (south Devon) where the natural world was very much on my doorstep.

Rock pooling and lifting up stones and logs in woods were very much a feature of my childhood! I knew I wanted to study science from a young age, and biology and zoology in particular always had a stronger pull than the other sciences.

Adam looking through field glasses
Adam Hart Adam in the field

Conservation is an aspect of science I got into more recently, largely through my work in applied ecology and connections that were developing in southern Africa. 

Your new book The Deadly Balance looks at our relationship with dangerous…

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