When Ms Latta met Dame Jane Goodall in Sydney, she was inspired to write her first book for her. She travelled to Uganda to visit the chimpanzee sanctuary on the island of Ngamba on Lake Victoria. Each day for weeks, she walked into the forest with the chimpanzees to watch them play and forage for food. One chimpanzee delicately groomed her hair, but his main purpose was to steal her camera but, despite all obstacles, her first book was published.
Africa is her favourite destination and she has been there countless times, to write books on seven different animals. There, her dangers included when a bull elephant in musth charged her jeep and her trying to canoe past a hostile pod of hippopotami. She has had the thrill of taking photographs of kick-fighting giraffes, timid dik diks, stately gerenuks and close encounters with lions. On one occasion, a lion chased a wildebeest right through the middle of her mess tent.
Her well-known leopard book took 15 years to complete, because leopards are one of the most difficult animals to see in the wild. She joined Jonathan Scott at Rekero camp in the Maasi Mara, to search for the elusive leopards of Africa. Then she then went to Yala Park in Sri Lanka, where she saw leopards every day, and finished her book. Ms Latta also talks about a magic moment when two cheetahs actually came up to her in Nanyuki.
She has also published on Asia. Writing her panda book in Wolong, China, involved waiting 9 months for permission to visit Wolong and her reward was playing with panda cubs, who entertained her each day with their antics. India was also a challenge to find a tiger in the wild to photograph for her book. She stayed at Kipling Camp run by Belinda Wright, director of the Wildlife Protection Society. After searching for three weeks, she photographed and filmed a magnificent tiger in the wild. In Borneo, she was attacked by a dominant male orangutan while photographing her book there.
Jan Latta hails from Australia. She previously worked in advertising as a Creative Director in Sydney, London and Hong Kong. Ms Latta has spent the past 22 years building her “True to Life Book” and educational videos series, publishing for children to teach about endangered animals. In addition to her numerous children’s books, the ABC asked her to write the Diary of a Wildlife Photographer, a journal of her adventures in the wild with 300 stunning photographs. She has been a guest speaker at schools and festivals for over 10 years, including the Literary Festivals in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Ubud and festivals and schools throughout New Zealand and Australia. She frequently appears in all media, including radio and TV interviews.
Members and their guests are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for Members and HK$200 for guests and others.