DAVID'S DOCCO TO BRING THE CROWDS
IN 1957, Sir David Attenborough first visited and scuba dived one of the great wonders right on our doorstep: the Great Barrier Reef.
Sixty years later, the worldfamous broadcaster and naturalist has returned to film a new series on ABC, and although he didn’t make a stop in the Whitsundays, there’s no doubt the tourism industry will benefit from the publicity.
Newly elected Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy was in London at Christmas when the documentary first aired.
“There was quite a buzz around it even over there, with people talking about it,” he said.
“So what I think it really does is firmly places the Great Barrier Reef as possibly the world’s number one natural attraction and natural asset.
“And with having someone like David Attenborough showcase it, it just puts us in an amazing position moving forward, because that program is being seen globally.”
Cherry Muddle, the Whitsunday-based reef campaigner from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said she thought the documentary highlighted the reef’s splendour and beauty – “and that’s so important for inspiring millions of people to visit the reef and protect it”.
“It does touch on coral bleaching, however it was filmed before the bleaching this summer actually start- ed,” she said.
“But right now the reef is experiencing the worst coral bleaching event, with more than 500 reefs severely bleached white.”
Sir David said the reef was “just a wonder of the natural world”. Reflecting on the unique experience, he explains in the doco how the reef has lost almost half its coral since his first visit, and looks at what the future holds for it.
“Wherever there are hu- man beings and wherever there is industry, there are consequences. And the consequences on the coast are likely to be not too good for the reef,” Sir David said.
“Scientists have done research on coral and they now know for sure that if (the ocean temperature) goes up beyond a degree, or a degree and a half, it will kill coral.
“The resilience of the natural world gives you great hope, really. Give nature half a chance and it really takes it and works with it.
“But we are throwing huge problems at it.”
Part two of David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef will air this Sunday on ABC at 7.40pm.
SPECTACULAR: Sir David Attenborough in his Great Barrier Reef series on ABC.