As the son of an eminent zoologist Ian Dunnet grew up on a Scottish research station where ecology was a prominent part of his formative years.
He went into a different science – medical microbiology – which turned out to be a career that allowed him to travel the world and have a range of life experiences which few people are lucky enough to achieve.
Over the course of 30 years Ian has lived in the UK, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and New Zealand, before returning to his birth city of Perth in Western Australia.
Having often observed and sometimes been able to help wildlife at risk, he sees his work with Bob Cooper Outdoor Education as a way to raise public awareness about our diminishing world. Ian also believes that so-called primitive societies have much to teach us.
His first encounter with venomous species came in Oman in 1990, when a horned viper was discovered in the midst of a desert camp. He recalls the panic which overtook everyone. Most people wanted the snake destroyed because there were children at the camp but Ian sensed the pointlessness of this exercise. Instead he simply scooped up the viper on the blade of a shovel, walked it a good safe distance and watched it bury itself in the sand.
His next interaction with venomous species was in Bob Cooper’s company. Ian understands that knowledge is the key to defeating an unnecessary fear of reptiles, and he enjoys being a vehicle for delivering that knowledge.
Through conducting Bob’s Snake Rescue & Relocation Courses Ian has seen participants’ reactions change from horror to acceptance and, eventually, to admiration for these fascinating creatures. Watching people gain in confidence is his first reward; the second is realising they have gained the understanding that destruction of a venomous animal should be the very last resort.