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Wild cameraman at work: Gordon Buchanan picks up honour

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Gordon Buchanan
Film-maker Gordon Buchanan who received an honorary degree from the University of Stirling today.

Scottish wildlife film-maker Gordon Buchanan has received an honorary degree from the University of Stirling.

He was named a Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding services to conservation and wildlife film-making at a ceremony today (Thursday 27 June).

The film-maker recently starred in the BBC series “Wild Cameramen at Work” and won huge public acclaim for his series “The Bear Family and Me”.

Dr Buchanan said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to get this award. To be recognised for the work I’ve done over the past 23 years is a huge honour.”

After joining hundreds of graduates at an afternoon ceremony, he added: “It’s been fantastic to be part of this special day.” He revealed that he has been working on a new series based in Borneo, which is due to be screened later this year.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “Gordon Buchanan’s TV documentaries have inspired people to take a fresh look at the natural world. In a career spanning more than 20 years, he has delivered amazing TV programmes, encouraging a greater understanding of species and habitats in far-off countries, as well as here in his native Scotland. We are delighted to confer this honour in recognition of his achievements and wish him every success for the future.”

Originally from the Isle of Mull, Gordon Buchanan’s career in filmmaking began in 1989 as assistant to the renowned filmmaker Nick Gordon.  His first role was in Sierra Leone where he helped document animals in the Gola Rainforest and their projects continued in Venezuela and Brazil where they filmed indigenous peoples and the spectacular animals of the Amazon.

In 1995, he began to work independently and in recent years has made a name as a respected filmmaker specialising in big cats. He was a major contributor to the 2004 “Big Cat Diary” series and helped to capture sensational footage of leopards.  He also continues to work in Scotland, filming foxes in Glasgow for TV’s “Springwatch” and “Autumnwatch”, and eagles on Mull.

More recently, Gordon Buchanan has made his name as a presenter. In 2010, his documentary on American bears “The Bear Family and Me” was aired on the BBC, and this was followed in 2013 with “The Polar Bear Family and Me”.

Through his work, Gordon Buchanan has helped to create a greater awareness of the plight of endangered animals, working to improve their chances of survival.  In 2013, he became a patron of the Scottish conservation charity Trees for Life. He lives in Glasgow with his wife Wendy and two children, Lola and Harris.

The honorary degree was conferred on Mr Buchanan at a Graduation Ceremony at the Gannochy National Tennis Centre at the University’s main Stirling campus. The Chancellor of the University, Dr James Naughtie, presided.

Also honoured today were: 

  • Mr Iain Macdonald received the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the international co-operative movement as Director-General of the International Co-operative Alliance.

  • Professor James Smith received the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to our understanding of economic and health issues associated with ageing.

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