The Mammal Society, the only charity dedicated to the conservation of all Britain’s mammal species, announced today that its first official patron is the broadcaster and children’s author, Zeb Soanes.
Zeb, known to millions as newsreader of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and presenter of the Shipping Forecast, said “I’m honoured to be the Society’s very first patron. The Mammal Society promotes mammal conservation through education, training and research and this is something that I wholeheartedly support. Last year the Society highlighted that five species in Britain face a high risk of extinction and we don’t even know the status of many other species. I will help the Society raise awareness of the need for conservation and for the ongoing monitoring and research that the Mammal Society undertakes. I have learned a great deal about urban foxes for my Gaspard the Fox books and am really looking forward to discovering more about all of Britain’s mammals.”
Zeb first came to the Mammal Society’s attention when they stumbled upon the video that documented his first encounter with Gaspard the fox.
Chair of the Mammal Society, Professor Fiona Mathews, said “Zeb had such an obvious affinity with the real-life Gaspard that we had a hunch that this would be just up his street. He is clearly very passionate about wildlife and we can’t wait to get him involved in some of our activities and projects. He is very keen to find out more about the current situation for Britain’s mammals and he will be a fantastic ambassador for evidence-based conservation. This is a first for us and we are delighted that he is joining us.”
Zeb will be making his first appearance as Patron at the Mammal Society’s 2019 Autumn Symposium “Sustainable Cities for Wildlife” which will take place on Wednesday 9 October in London.
Note to Editors
- Zeb is an established Radio 4 Newsreader, waking up the nation with The Today Programme and putting it to bed with The Shipping Forecast. He is a regular on Radio 4’s The News Quiz, reports for From Our Own Correspondent and has presented Radio 3’s Saturday Classics. On television, his voice launched BBC FOUR where he appeared as a regular presenter for the BBC Proms; he has also presented TV films for The Culture Show, Newsnight and Songs of Praise. The children’s author Francesca Simon featured Zeb as the newsreader in her book The Lost Gods, and he has made numerous vocal cameos in TV comedies and dramas including Sherlock and The League of Gentlemen and represented the University of East Anglia in the 2018 celebrity Christmas special of University Challenge. Sunday Times readers voted him their favourite male voice on UK radio.
- Zeb’s acclaimed first book for children, Gaspard the Fox was published in May 2018. Illustrated by James Mayhew; the book was the first in a series of stories based on the urban fox that visits Zeb at home in Islington and gained a worldwide following on social media through photos of its nightly appearances. The second book in the series Gaspard: Best in Show will be published in August 2019.
“The children’s book to watch out for” – Sunday Times
“A wonderful tale about celebrating difference and triumphing against the odds” – Clare Balding
“A modern-day classic.” – South Wales Evening Post
“I loved reading about the adventures of Gaspard the Fox” – Francesca Simon
- For more information visit zebsoanes.com and www.gaspardthefox.com.
The Mammal Society
- The Mammal Society is a charitable organisation working at the interface of science, policy-making and practice. As the only society with an interest in all British mammals, its mission is to identify effective conservation strategies and to provide the scientific evidence-base for policy and practice.
- The Mammal Society recently completed the first review of the Population and Conservation Status of British Mammals for more than 20 years. The Review was published by Natural England in June 2018, together with the Red List of Threatened Mammals for Great Britain. A technical summary of the Review and Red List are available on the Mammal Society website www.mammal.org.uk. Britain’s Mammals 2018, a fully-illustrated guide to the status of Britain’s mammals along with the complete 700-page Review are available from NHBS.
- The Mammal Society’s Review of the Status of Mammals in Wales will be published in September 2019.
- The Mammal Society’s Autumn Symposium “Sustainable Cities for Wildlife” will take place on Wednesday 9 October in London. For more information on Mammal Society Events and Courses go to https://www.mammal.org.uk/events/.
- The Mammal Society’s conservation work is supported through the generosity of our members. Currently our work includes investigating the causes of hedgehog declines and monitoring the status of all British Mammals with the help of citizen science volunteers. To join the Society visit mammal.org.uk.
- The Mammal Society, 18 St John’s Church Road, London E9 6EJ. Registered Company Number 1455136 Charity Number 278918.