We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tim Flannery and ask him about his many roles as an internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, prolific author and prominent climate change activist.
In particular, we spoke with Tim about his involvement in Melanesia. Tim has undertaken many expeditions throughout Papua New Guinea, discovering numerous subspecies of mammals. His pioneering research and conservation work in Melanesia has also prompted Sir David Attenborough to describe him as “being in the league of the world’s all‑time great explorers”.
In October 2017 Tim will be leading the Melanesia Discoverer voyage through Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands where he will share his extensive scientific knowledge along with his passion for exploration and discovery.
Out of your many roles – which role are you most passionate about?
I love exploring the world and learning. I also try to bring that passion to whatever I’m doing. Exploration and writing books aren’t really that different. It’s all an exploration to me.
Images: Tim’s old 35mm slides from his early years in Melanesia
Where and when was this fascination with exploration first sparked?
I think I have always had a passion for discovery and exploration. I probably take a few more risks than most, which has helped me I think.
What do you tell people when they ask how they can make a difference as individuals to slow the effects of climate change?
Join together with like-minded people and try to make a difference. Together we can do what’s needed.
What are the biggest challenges for The Climate Council, Australia’s biggest crowd funding campaign?
Keeping the momentum on our side. Our society is changing and is becoming cleaner and greener – but formidable forces keep trying to push us back.
Of the 25 living mammal species you have named, are there any species of which their discovery proved to be particularly significant?
Dingiso was the most amazing. Its a tree-kangaroo from West Papua that doesn’t live in trees but Alpine herbfields. And it’s black and white – like a panda. I discovered it and named in in 1995 (though the local people knew of it long before), making it one of the last large mammals to be discovered.
What book(s) are currently on your nightstand?
Octopus – Other Minds & The Ecology of the Mediterranean
What is the most impactful conservation project you are working on in Melanesia?
Without doubt the Tenkile Conservation Alliance, based at Lumi in Sandaun Province. It’s protecting 1800 sq km of rainforest that’s home to at least a dozen mammals found nowhere else.
What are you most looking forward to on the upcoming expedition ‘Melanesia Discover’ that you are escorting for World Expeditions?
Seeing the Bismarck Archipelago again!
What are the hidden gems and best kept secrets of the region that travellers can discover on this expedition?
The human cultures – and the giant rat of New Britain, whose fur shines like burnished bronze. You might join the half-dozen Europeans ever to see one!
You’ve undertaken many expeditions throughout Papua New Guinea – what is it about the region that draws you back time and time again?
The sense of adventure.
What can travellers expect if they join you on The Secrets of Melanesia expedition?
Well, it’s the land of the unexpected. So I think they can expect to be surprised!
Discover the Mysteries of Melanesia with Tim Flannery in October 2017
This is a special opportunity to discover the mysteries of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in October 2017 with Professor Tim Flannery. With his extensive field work in Melanesia, Tim is avidly passionate about the region and will be sharing his scientific knowledge along with his keen interest in exploring and discovering new things. On this 14-day mutli-activity adventure, you will uncover the hidden gems of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The uniqueness of this trip coupled with Tim’s knowledge and passion for the region will ensure this journey will be a once-in-a-life-time experience.
Find Out More
- See the hidden gems of both Papua New Guinea & Solomons
- Travel up the Sepik River, home to traditional artists
- Be some of the first travellers in over two decades to return to the spectacular island of Bougainville
- Swim, snorkel and kayak in crystalline waters
- Take part in exceptional birding, including Manus Friarbird, Mussau Monarch, Superb Pitta, Roviana Rail and the Solomon Sea Eagle
- Visit a Hawksbill Turtle conservation centre on the Arnavon Islands
- Zodiac cruise into mangrove forests in search of Dugong and crocodiles
- Visit WWII historical sites including the Henderson Airfield and war memorials
- Meet friendly local villagers