Biography of the Scotts - Jonathan Scott was born in London in 1949 and brought up on a farm in Berkshire. He attended Christ's Hospital school in Sussex before gaining a BSc Honours degree (2:1) in Zoology from Queen's University, Belfast, in Northern Ireland, in 1972. After a year in the US, in 1974 Jonathan traveled overland from London to South Africa followed by two years in Botswana.
Jonathan has lived in Kenya since 1977, and was based at Mara River Camp just outside the northern boundary of the Masai Mara National Game Reserve from 1977 to 1981. In those early years Jonathan acted as a guide and naturalists for visitors to the camp, gradually getting to know the best places to look for wildlife, particularly the big cats that had always fascinated him, refining his skills as a wildlife illustrator. He always loved to sketch and over the years has successfully published limited edition prints of his pen and ink drawings.
Jonathan's first book entitled A Souvenir Guide to African Birds was published in 1981. The following year he produced The Marsh Lions (co-authored with Brian Jackman), an intimate portrait of the life of an African pride, introducing many of the other animal characters which would feature in his later books - leopards, wild dogs and the wildebeest migration. The BBC Wildlife on One documentary entitled Ambush at Masai Mara featured the story of the Marsh Lions based on Jonathan's work, which was also featured in 1985 in the Nature Watch series presented by Julian Pettifer. In 1981 Jonathan moved to Kichwa Tembo tented camp on the other side of the Mara River where he spent the next ten years.
Between 1982 and 1984, Jonathan traveled to Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia as a co-presenter for the popular American television series Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. In 1985 authored and illustrated The Leopard's Tale, the first detailed account of a wild leopard and her cubs, providing a unique insight into the life of this enigmatic predator. Between 1986 and 1988 Jonathan spent months at a time living in the Serengeti, often sleeping in his car so that he could follow the great wildebeest migration on its annual journey between the southern Serengeti's short grass plains and their dry season refuge in the Masai Mara. During this period he wrote two books - The Great Migration and Painted Wolves: Wild Dogs Of The Serengeti-Mara, and in 1987 was judged the overall winner in the Prudential Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award for his photograph of a wild dog catching a wildebeest.
Jonathan’s television presence has blossomed since his early days as a presenter on American television, and in 1989 he was the co-presenter with Julian Pettifer of Africa Watch, a series of live TV broadcasts from the Masai Mara produced by BBC/Discovery.
When Jonathan met his future wife Angie in 1990, he knew that he had met a kindred spirit, someone who shared his love of Africa’s wild places, and whose sense of artistry and passion for photography equaled his own.
Angie was born in Alexandria, Egypt and spent her childhood in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, developing an affinity for the sea that has never left her, recalling happy days beachcombing along the Indian Ocean coastline with her brother David at Dar es Salaam. Together, Jonathan and Angie have proved to be a prolific partnership, working together on their delicate pen and ink drawings, collecting material for their books and traveling around the world as wildlife photographers.
They were married in the Mara in 1992, and later that same year made their first journey together to Antarctica as guest lecturers on the expedition cruise ship MS Explorer (formerly the Lindblad Explorer). Over the next ten years Jonathan and Angie returned nearly every year aboard the ‘little red ship’ as she is known to all who sailed on her, visiting the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. When the MS Explorer was sold, Jonathan and Angie joined Exodus Travel and Peregrine (part of the First Choice group of companies) as guest lecturers for a number of voyages to Antarctica. In 2006 they made a semi-circumnavigation of the Antarctic with Quark Expeditions (now also part of First Choice) onboard the Russian icebreaker Khlebnikov. In November 2008 Jonathan and Angie made their first visit to the emperor penguin breeding colony at Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea, and they will be returning to Snow Hill in November 2009 on Khlebnikov. Given the chance Jonathan and Angie would spend their days in Africa and their nights in Antarctica (but only during the summer!) where the sun takes forever to set before rising again just a few hours later. Their book Antarctica: Journeys to a Fragile Eden (HarperCollins 2007) celebrates this last great wilderness.
In 1995 Jonathan was a co-presenter of Flamingo Watch, a series of live BBC/Turner broadcasts from Kenya's Rift Valley lakes. And in 1996 he presented his own television series for BBC/Discovery called Dawn to Dusk - six African wildlife adventures including an elephant back safari in Botswana, canoeing and white water rafting in Zimbabwe, tracking black rhinos on foot in Namibia, as well as a safari by balloon and trekking with chimpanzees in Tanzania. In that same year the first series of Big Cat Diary was commissioned featuring the same big cats that Jonathan and Angie have spent so many happy years watching, photographing and drawing in the Masai Mara.
Between 1997 and 1999 Jonathan and Angie traveled around the world presenting wildlife stories for Wild Things, an American television series created by Paramount Productions, visiting Australia, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Alaska, Uganda and Tanzania, to film salt-water crocodiles, one-horned rhinos, tigers, komodo dragons, orang utans, coastal brown bears and gorillas. This was a unique opportunity for them to hone their photographic skills 'out of Africa'.
In 2002 a stunning photograph taken by Angie showing an elephant family drinking in the Luangwa River, Luangwa National Park, Zambia (with a grey heron in attendance), was chosen as the overall winner of the British Gas Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award from more than 18,000 images submitted from 60 countries. This made Jonathan and Angie the only couple ever to have won this competition as individuals.
In 2003 Big Cat Diary moved from BBC2 to a primetime slot on BBC1 as Big Cat Week and was an instant hit with audiences, becoming the most popular wildlife series since the BBC ’s Blue Planet three years earlier. The series has gone from strength to strength, and in 2006 celebrated its first 10 years with the release of a one hour TV special featuring highlights from the past 10 years called Big Cat Diary – the Big Story. The series is now available on DVD.
Angie takes the production stills for Big Cat Week as well as being one of the game spotters. In 2000 Jonathan and Angie were commissioned by HarperCollins to write a trilogy of books on the big cats to accompany the television series: Big Cat Diary:Lion (2002), Big Cat Diary:Leopard (2003), and Big Cat Diary:Cheetah (2005). The three titles are now available in softback. In 2008 Big Cat went Live for eight consecutive days on BBC1 during prime time viewing, with a dedicated web presence that attracted over 2 million hits. Throughout the week long broadcast viewers could go online to view feeds from a number of remote cameras in the Masai Mara, and at the end of each programme the presenters stayed online to chat in a ten minute special webcast called Big Cat Raw which proved a great hit with viewers. Presenters Jonathan and Simon King were joined by two new faces – Jackson Ole Looseyia a naturalist guide who lives at Rekero Camp in the Mara, and Kate Silverton who will be familiar to viewers of BBC Breakfast. Jackson and Kate proved an instant success and brought a new and exciting feel to the series. The Scotts’ latest book Stars of Big Cat Diary celebrating the last 12 years of this immensely popular television series is published in 2009.
In 2005 Jonathan co-presented Big Bear Diary, and has co-presented two series of Elephant Diaries for the BBC/Animal Planet. Elephant Diaries tells the extraordinary story of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the family of elephant orphans stationed at Daphne Sheldrick’s home in Nairobi National Park. The series follows the orphans’ journey back to the wild in Tsavo East National Park. The series is now available on DVD.
Jonathan and Angie host a limited number of journeys each year to their favourite wildlife and cultural destinations worldwide, offering guests the opportunity to share their knowledge of these regions as well as honing their photographic skills. You do not need to be a photographer to enjoy these trips. For further information go to Travel with the Scotts. Jonathan and Angie are also available to give lectures on a multitude of topics and to speak at Corporate functions (see Lectures and Corporate Functions).
In 2009 Jonathan appeared in the final program of a BBC production called "Wildest Dreams hosted by Nick Knowles and James Honeyborne.
Jonathan and Angie are UK Patrons of the Galapagos Wildlife Trust, and Jonathan is UK Patron of the Rhino Ark, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and the Simeon Trust, as well as serving for many years on the Editorial Board of the East African Wildlife Society, and the Conservation Board of Friends of Conservation. He is a member of the African Lion Working Group – affiliated to the IUCN Cat Specialist Group.
They have been honoured in a number of ways during the past two years. In 2008 Jonathan was presented with a Special Award by Wanderlust magazine at the Times Destination event at Olympia in London for his role in promoting tourism to Africa, and in the same year was named Graduate of The Year by Queen’s University Belfast, in Northern Ireland where he read Zoology from 1968-72. In 2009 Jonathan and Angie were invited to become Canon Ambassadors by Canon Europe in recognition of their contribution to wildlife photography. You can see one of Angie’s award winning photographs in the November 2009 issue of National Geographic magazine.
2009 Wildest Dreams (final episode) 2008 Big Cat Live (available as DVD)
2005-07 Elephant Diaries – Series 1 and 2 (available as DVD)
2006 Big Bear Diary
2003-06 Big Cat Week – Series 1 to 4 (available as DVD)
1996-03 Big Cat Diary – Series 1 to 4 plus 2 Updates
1997-99 Wild Things (Paramount Television)
1996 Dawn to Dusk
1995 Flamingo Watch
1989 Africa Watch
1985 Nature Watch
1982-84 Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom
1981 Ambush at Masai Mara
PUBLICATIONS: co-authored by Jonathan and Angela Scott
2009 Stars of Big Cat Diary (Evans Mitchell Publishers)
2009 On Safari (Collins Education, a division of HarperCollins Publishers)
2007 Antarctica: Exploring a Fragile Eden (HarperCollins)
2004-07 Collins Big Cat – five titles: Big Cat Babies; Antarctica: Land of the Penguins; Africa’s Big Three: Elephant, Hippo and Rhino; Kings of the Wild: Brown Bears; Masai: Tribe of Warriors; Giant Reptiles: Crocodiles and Monitor Lizards. These titles are presently only available in schools (HarperCollins Educational Series). Jonathan and Angie are currently working on a sixth title in the series called On Safari.
2004 Big Cat Diary:Cheetah (HarperCollins)
2003 Big Cat Diary:Leopard (HarperCollins)
2002 Big Cat Diary:Lion (HarperCollins)
2000 Mara-Serengeti: A Photographer's Paradise (Fountain Press)
1997 Jonathan Scott's Safari Guide to East African Animals (Kensta)
1997 Jonathan Scott's Safari Guide to East African Birds (Kensta)
PUBLICATIONS authored by Jonathan Scott
1996 Dawn to Dusk (BBC Books and Kyle Cathie)
1996 The Big Cat Diary Co-authored with Brian Jackman (BBC Books)
1992 Kingdom of Lions (Kyle Cathie)
1991 Painted Wolves: Wild Dogs Of The Serengeti-Mara (Hamish Hamilton)
1991 The Leopard Family Book (Picture Book Studio)
1988 The Great Migration (Elm Tree)
1985 Know Kenya's Animals (Kensta)
1985 The Leopard's Tale (Elm Tree Books)
1982 The Marsh Lions Co-authored with Brian Jackman (Elm Tree Books)
1981 A Souvenir Guide to African Birds (Kensta)
HONORS and AWARDS
Jonathan and Angie Scott: June 2009 – Invited to join the Canon Ambassadors Programme by Canon Europe.
Jonathan Scott: July 2008 -Winner of The Graduate of the Year Award from Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is an annual award launched in 1999. Its purpose is to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen's alumni and students, to the University or to the wider community.
Jonathan Scott: January 2008 - Winner of Wanderlust Special Award. This is not an annual Award but one that Wanderlust Magazine gives on occasion to honour individuals who have made a major contribution in the realm of Travel and Tourism. It was presented to me in recognition of the contribution I have made ot tourism and conservation, particularly in Africa through our books and TV documentaries such as Big Cat Diary and Elephant Diaries, which have had a major impact on tourism to Kenya, as well as highlighting conservation issues.
Angie Scott: Wildlife Photographer of the Year (2002)
Jonathan Scott: Wildlife Photographer of the Year (1987); The African Travel and Tourism Association Award (1996); Royal Geographical Society Cherry Kearton Medal (1994)
Our daughter Alia (9.10.75) has a Degree in Hotel Management and Business, from Thames Valley University (UK).
Our son David (9.6.84) spent five years at Canford School in Dorset, England, before winning a Scholarship to St.John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he read Liberal Arts for a year before transferring to the University of Santa Fe to study Art and Design. David is currently enrolled at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University . David is a keen photographer, and was Runner-Up in the 11-14 years old category of the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 1998. In 1999, he won The Times newspaper's Meg @ award, and was Runner-Up again in the 11-14 years old category. Both Alia and David are talented artists. David’s wife Tara is a graduate in Liberal Arts from St John’s College in Santa Fe and is currently working at the Academy of Art University.