In 2013 Zach joined the Wild Bird Trust and Okavango Wilderness Project to document their annual delta bird survey. Using only indigenous means of survival and transport, he meandered, portaged and paddled his way across about 200 miles of the African delta using hippo paths, rivers when flowing and eating only fish, twee (water Lilly) and beans. The birds are used as environmental indicators to change in the Delta and by conducting these surveys the project aimed to monitor the water levels, count birds and measure purity of the flood water making its way into desert.
Whilst birds are relatively innocuous creatures with no known fatalities caused by beak or talon, the delta they inhabit is full of danger. The combination of waterways home to pods of enormous hippos and basking, lurking crocodiles; with the sandy, grassland islands hiding lions, leopards, hyenas, pythons, buffalo’s and elephants makes for a mortal game of dodge. Guns are a not allowed, we are armed only with spears, bear bangers, pots and pans. One must use body, verbal language and skill to avoid injury and negotiate with the big fauna. Zach will share perhaps one of the most exhilarating and adrenaline generating days in recent history when it comes to animal interactions. Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalo’s and hyenas… it was a day he will not soon forget.
Zach was born in South Africa in 1980 to parents who were filmmakers and journalists. He learnt about the craft by carrying tripods up mountainsides for them and in this way was able to have animal interactions from a very young age. He fell in love with the creatures, with the elements and the wilderness. He went on to get his Masters in Science in Zoology at the University of Cape Town and thereafter become a wildlife documentary and series producer, director and editor. In 2014 he was hired by ABC in the USA to produce and shoot for their Emmy award winning series, Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin. He has since settled in California and now work as a Director of Photography for networks such as National Geographic, BBC Productions and Discovery. His passion combines nature and filmmaking, feeling alive in the wild office!