Wildlife journalist carries message to Buffalo

Mar 4, 2014

The National Geographic Live series comes to the stage at Buffalo's Kleinhans Music Hall Tuesday evening at 7:30. with wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen sharing the images he has gathered through years of close natural encounters in some of the most extreme habitats around the globe.

Photojournalist Paul Nicklen often goes to extremes to report on his wildlife subjects.
Credit Photo courtesy of Paul Nicklen.org

The show carries a message, one that Paul Nicklen says is presented while keeping in mind one basic understanding of the human condition.

"If anyone points a finger at you and says, 'You should do this.' You put up a wall."

Instead, Paul Nicklen seems more about breaking down the walls of misunderstanding over climate change and its impact on the natural world he has spent his life observing as a biologist, photographer and growing up among the Inuit.

"Twenty-some years ago we went through the Northwest Passage in a Canadian icebreaker and we could barely get through the ice," Nicklen recalled.

"We're pushing through ice, multi-year ice, 12-feet thick. Smashing through this ice, trying to get through, the banging and clanging on the hull. Now, you read that a couple will take their plastic, 30-foot sailboat and go through that same passage."

Working in some of the globe's frigid regions, Nicklen has gone to great lengths to report on wildlife. His work with leopard seals has drawn millions of internet viewers.

"Naturally, people, as a human species, are very scared of anything that could potentially eat us. So, what I wanted to do is go to Antarctica and get into the water with as many leopard seals as I could just to find out if they were misunderstood," Nicklen said.

"Right away, the first leopard seal I met was this thousand-pound female. She was huge. And for four days straight she fed me penguins. Just imagine being force-fed salmon by a grizzly bear or seals by a polar bear."

The Buffalo Zoo and Kleinhans Music Hall are co-sponsoring tonight's appearance by Paul Nicklen.