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Brian Keating  

Celebrated Wildlife Expert and Anthropology Professor

Brian Keating has been traveling the wilds of the world for over a quarter of a century, exploring some 45 countries on all seven continents. His passion for travelling, wilderness, nature’s amazing formations and exotic animals is contagious, and he has collected a lifetime’s worth of incredible stories and knowledge. Keating is the Head of Conservation Outreach at the Calgary Zoo where his massive fundraising efforts fund his international environmental projects.  He is also a part-time Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary.

For over 20 years, Keating has run the Calgary Zoo’s nature based travel program, leading over 80 expeditions to the best wildlife areas on the Planet.  He’s also been hosting a weekly nature column since 1983 on Calgary’s CBC. Recently, he expanded his show to Edmonton’s CBC Radio, and for many years, was featured on a bi-weekly national wildlife segment on the Discovery Channel, utilizing his own wilderness adventure and wildlife filming.

Keating is a pilot, a naturalist, scuba diver, and mountaineer.  He has written five children’s books celebrating nature; become an honourary chief during a powerful West African ceremony; and has won numerous awards including the 2006 distinguished “Canadian Hero of the Year” award from Readers Digest Magazine for his global environmental efforts.

In high demand as a speaker, Keating averages 60 events a year. His audiences range from business executives to schoolchildren to major international conferences to small private gatherings. Keating's buoyant, fast-paced and humorous presentations are uplifting and meaningful, and have proven themselves the highlight of many conferences and programs.

  1. Secret Springs

Another all time favourite, this is the video I produced that caught the attention of The Discovery Channel, who featured segments of it on three special national television nature programs. 60 kilometres from the nearest permanent water, a cool clear spring bubbles up from the ground throughout the dry season, creating a life-giving water source for thousands of mammals and millions of birds. For a week each time on four separate expeditions, my wife and I sat like flies on the wall, watching the wild Africa unfold. This is a remarkable story of the raw struggle of life.

  1. Islands of Time

Remote islands, especially large tropical islands, have some of the planets most beautiful yet strange life forms, from tiny intensely coloured poisonous frogs to birds with impossible plumage, and howling primitive primates that are capable of catapulting backwards off trees, ricocheting from branch to branch with amazing speed. This is a story of wildlife discovery that takes place in the most remote forests, rivers and mountains of Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, the Galapagos and other less known island landscapes. The adventure is a showcase of evolution, and an example of ecological fragility that reaches very close to home.

  1. Three Women - Three Animals

In this program, I look at three species of African animals (gorillas, chimpanzees, and elephants) and the three women researchers (Fossey, Goodall, and Moss) who have spent decades in the forest and savannas observing these remarkable animals. These women share a behavioural trait: their tolerance. They have all endured prolonged periods in difficult, remote and rugged conditions. I'll examine their research animals and touch upon the researchers themselves, and look at sometimes surprisingly different observational conclusions they have made compared to their male research counterpart.

  1. Searching for The Mountain Gorilla

A photographic journey into the wilds of Rwanda and Zaire of find and observe wild gorillas. The program then takes us to Tanzania to contrast the lives of wild chimpanzees to the gorillas. At the invitation of Jane Goodall, my wife and I spent a week following the chimps she has made so famous. A very buoyant and sometimes humorous story that takes place in a fascinating part of tropical Africa.

  1. Going Wild

A spirit-lifting journey into some of the planets best wilderness locations...

Brian Keating has been traveling the wilds of the world for over a quarter of a century, exploring some 45 countries on all 7 continents. His passion for remote travel will be revealed as only Brian can do, with his buoyant method of story telling. Punctuated throughout with humour and personal anecdotes, he'll illustrate his presentation with his own live-narrated video segments. He promises a journey to summits near and far, into gin-clear ocean depths with unbelievable creatures, to deserts and rich tropical forests, and to places where wildlife numbers leave one overwhelmed with satisfaction. And finally, he'll return to our own Canadian backyard of tundra and mountain, reconfirming the value of our collective understanding of the importance of wild spaces. This presentation is designed to inspire and enthuse, offering hope for a better tomorrow. (This is my most recent presentation production)

  1. Alpine Highlife

A high-energy adventure that blends and compares wildlife adaptations to our own every day survival abilities. Brian uses the mountains as a metaphor to creatively illustrate some of life's exciting options and possibilities. It's a story that passionately illustrates the pure joy of life in high places. This is a buoyant and humorous program with a solid ecological and life appreciation message.

(Note: the video segment of this presentation was just revised and updated. This talk has been one of his longest standing and most successful of his presentations)


  1. The Wild Elephants of Africa

Since 1983 Brian Keating and his wife, Dee, have led yearly safari excursions into eleven different African countries, allowing them to accumulate over three years of outback experiences, min big game country. The exploration of the African bush has quite literally become a passion for both. Together they have logged hundreds of hours tracking, locating and observing elephant. During this presentation, Brian will make some comparisons to our own behaviours that will both surprise and captivate you. These big-brained, intelligent creatures live complex, social lives, and share some astounding similarities to our own behaviours. From the deserts of Namibia, the rainforests of Rwanda and to the grasslands of Tanzania, Brian will take you on a remarkable journey, a story enhanced with a blend of anecdotes and personal experiences told in a humorous style as only Brian can.

  1. Penguins in Paradise

Brian Keating returned earlier this year from his sixth expedition to one of the largest wilderness landscapes on the planet: the Antarctic. He'll begin this presentation with a brief account of the most astounding Antarctic adventures of all time, that of the remarkable leadership and survival story of polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton, early last century. After a brief comparison to our own Canadian Arctic, he'll introduce you to the potential violence of the Southern Ocean, then you'll float on calm waters into an icy wilderness of life-abundance: sea birds, seals, whales and penguins. Using his informative and sometimes humours method of live-narrated video, you'll feel as though you are part of the expedition, exploring this hauntingly beautiful icescape.

  1. Climbing Kilimanjaro

A few years ago my wife and I not only summitted Kilimanjaro (via a seldom climbed route), but we ended up traversing it too! Some of the video footage I managed on the trip has been used in two of my "Discovery TV" program segments, but this video edit is the "entire" story, fresh off the mountain! I'll first illustrate some other volcanic classic ascents using slides, then we'll cap off the evening with the Kilimanjaro climb video presentation, live-narrated, that will leave the group with an entirely new outlook on high adventure and travel opportunities.

  1. Life in the Hot Zone

Volcanoes tend to be hotbeds of interesting life forms, in more ways than one would think! Join Brian Keating as he and his wife Dee ascend several volcanic landscapes around the world, examining the strange life forms that somehow have managed to live there, despite the harsh conditions. You'll stand on the summits of Mona Loa, Mt. Egmont and Kilimanjaro, and descend into the boiling caldera lake of Dominica and traverse the reptilian lavas flows of the Galapagos. Much of the filming Brian managed on these expeditions have been used on his "Discovery TV" program segments, but tonight's live-narrated video and slides are fresh off the mountains! You'll never look at a volcano the same again!

  1. Cold Leadership

Brian Keating, Head of Conservation Outreach at the Calgary Zoo, is an adventurer, world traveler, and leader of some 60 expeditions to remote locations world-wide. He returned earlier this year from his sixth voyage to the Antarctic, this time repeating a month-long expedition retracing much of Shackleton's route.

Early last century, one of the most remarkable stories of risk taking and survival was played out in the remote frozen seascapes of the Antarctic. Shackleton was an extraordinary leader, and he somehow managed to beat all possible odds during a two-year struggle with survival.

What lessons can Shackleton teach us about life and leadership? How could his ice-bound situation of courage and endurance give us insights into the possibilities for our own future?

Brian plans on taking you on a voyage through one of the most astounding wilderness survival adventures of all time, illustrating the brilliant leadership qualities that enabled Shackleton to return home without the single loss of life. He'll then take you into the icy waters of the Antarctic using his informative method of live-narrated video, to witness the life-abundance of sea birds, seals, whales and penguins, exploring this hauntingly beautiful icescape.

This is an inspirational and buoyant presentation, punctuated throughout with wonderful humour, and includes a solid ecological message.

"Below the 40th latitude there is no law; below the 50th no god; below the 60th no common sense and below the 70th no intelligence whatsoever."

— Kim Stanley Robinson.

  1. Flying Frogs in the Heart of Borneo

Flying frogs, gliding lizards and monkeys with a banana-like nose? Brian Keating and his wife, Dee, traveled for a month deep into the heart of Borneo searching for a wild time. And they weren't disappointed. Brian will put you face to face with rare forest elephants, some remarkable insects, impossible proboscis monkeys, and the incredible people who share the forests with these unique creatures.

  1. A Little Sex, a Little Adventure, and a Bit of Passion

Please excuse the title, but it's all true. This is a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Calgary Zoo that make working there one remarkable experience. Brian Keating will take you on an adventure that only he can tell, because he was there, watching and filming, right in the thick of things. By persistence, good planning and plain old dumb luck, Keating happened upon more than you'll bargain for during this sometimes humorous, often profound, and highly personal presentation.

  1. Madagascar Magic

A spirit lifting journey into one of the worlds most fascinating island habitats.

Brian Keating has been traveling the wilds of the world for over a quarter of a century, exploring some 50 countries on all 7 continents.  His passion for remote travel will be revealed as only Brian can do, with his buoyant method of story telling.  Punctuated throughout with humour and personal anecdotes, he’ll illustrate his presentation with his own live-narrated video segments.

With this, his newest program, he promises a journey into the wilds of Madagascar in search of primitive primates found only on this remote island, “spirits of the forests’, the lemurs.

Last year, Brian spent a month in Madagascar, searching the forest trails both day and night to discover some unique creatures. In addition to 18 species of lemur, he also found bizarre leaf-tailed geckos, outrageously coloured chameleons, and endemic exotic birds.

Brian promises an exciting visual presentation of discovery with some surprising comparisons between the diverse and interdependent life in Madagascar (having evolved for some 40 million years), and the diversity of staff here at Mount Royal College with (in 2010), a 100 years of evolutionary interdependence!


His presentation is designed to inspire and enthuse, offering hope for a better tomorrow.

  1. Polar Possibilities: Adventures in Paradise

The Arctic is on many peoples minds these days: it's hot politically; it's hot physically (or at least it’s warming), it's hot militarily; and because of all this, it's hot psychologically.  Or at least it should be: our Canadian High Arctic backyard is 33% of who we are!

Nearly 30 years ago, Brian Keating spent four months living in the high Arctic, hiking hundreds of kilometers, often encountering wolfs, fox, musk ox, caribou and hares. He dreamed then of hiking through the only glacier-free pass amongst a dramatic mountain range that stood shimmering to the east.  In July of 2002, that dream came true, and since then, he has completed four additional expeditions in the high Arctic.

With this program, Brian will present segments of these adventures with his own unique method of live-narrating his video edits, hiking through breathtaking landscapes of icy cold rivers, glaciers bulging from nearly every side valley, amongst the carpets of brilliant Arctic-alpine flowers, encountering beluga whales, musk ox, caribou and polar bears.

This is a celebration of our own Canadian Arctic wildlife and the landscapes they live in, a celebration of one of the planets last great wilderness areas.

  1. It’s that Old Cat-Dog Thing

Brian Keating and his wife, Dee have travelled deep into the wilds of nearly twenty African countries during two and a half decades of exploring this diverse continent. 

On several safaris, he has encountered the African Painted Dog, the wolf-equivalent wild dog of Africa and one of the world’s rarest of carnivores.  He filmed them at their den sites, during their hunts and on the kills. His travels have also led to some remarkable (and sometimes close) encounters with lion, leopard and cheetah. Tonight, Brian will take you on a rare wilderness journey seldom witnessed.

Using his well-known style of live-narrated video, he promises to show you some cat and dog behaviour that will both inspire and forever bond you to these remarkable carnivores.

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