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Sir David Attenborough has abseiled down a 13 METRE high living wall inside a new global conservation hub in Cambridge – just weeks before his 90th BIRTHDAY.

The daring 89-year-old presenter looked completely at ease as he dangled high in the air to gain a “plant’s eye view” of the special building, which he will officially open. The naturalist, who will turn 90 next month, carefully made his way down the amazing living wall in the atrium of the new campus, which is inside the David Attenborough Building at Cambridge University.

The hub will act as a centre for more than 500 conservation experts. Sir David, a Cambridge University graduate, said: “The future of our life on Earth is dependent on the natural world – for the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we use – and for the feelings we have of awe and wonder at nature’s extraordinary riches. In this remarkable age we are learning more and more about the intricacies of our dependence on nature. Yet our natural world is threatened as never before. The threats are both numerous and interrelated, and no one institution, however effective, can hope to address them all alone. It is for this reason that the work of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative is so exceptional. By bringing together leaders in research, practice, policy and teaching, we stand the greatest chance of developing the solutions required to save our planet. I am enormously proud that these collaborations are occurring in a building bearing my name.”

The driving force behind the campus’s creation is the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), founded in 2007 between the University of Cambridge and nine biodiversity conservation organisations.

Dr Mike Rands, executive director of CCI, said: “The new campus provides a unique, collaborative space for integrating nature conservation research and practice, and developing conservation leaders. The campus makes the sharing of knowledge, networks and experiences between people and institutions much more effective. The excitement and energy within the building have been palpable since the moment the first occupants moved in. It offers an exceptional platform from which to transform the landscape of global biodiversity conservation.”

Around 500 conservation experts are now in the new hub, including 150 academics from seven departments from Cambridge University. Over the coming years they will work together, using the campus as a hub, to develop effective solutions to the challenges faced by the natural world.

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