"Lucy Cooke and the War on Cute Wildlife"

"Forget fluffy pandas and doe-eyed forest creatures. This TV presenter is all about the ugly, the freakish, the unloved."

"Zoologist, film-maker and explorer Lucy Cooke is leading a one-woman war on the tyranny of cute. Not for her the heart-squeezingly charismatic mega fauna of pandas, penguins and baby polar bears, not when there are natural wonders such as flying snakes and bats that use a carnivorous pitcher plant for a toilet. Indeed, while most people visit Borneo to respectfully stroke an orangutan, Cooke prefers that country's proboscis monkey with its giant bulbous nose, soft pot belly, Donald Trump hair and permanent erection that looks like the world's least appealing chilli pepper.

'I'm trying to bring a bit of positive PR to the ugly, the unloved, the freaks,' she says. To that end, Cooke has a show called Freaks and Creeps airing on National Geographic Wild this summer. Her journey began when she spent six months travelling around South America and writing her widely read Amphibian Avenger blog. Later Cooke tried – and failed – to get a film commissioned about the desperate plight of the planet's amphibians; a third of which are threatened with extinction, a situation she likens to the wiping out of the dinosaurs."

Rob Fitzpatrick reports for the Guardian's Shortcuts blog August 14, 2012.

Source: Guardian, 08/15/2012