The story of Armand David

56 minutes. Documentary.

Cast and crew

The life, travels and scientific achievements of Armand David, lazarist missionary, naturalist, botanist, zoologist and ecologist before the time of ecology. Born in the french "Pays basque », lover of nature since his childhood, he becomes a priest and a believer of Darwin’s theories, assuming gracefully his contradictions. Hired through his religious hierachy by the Museum of Natural History of Paris he goes to China and explore the flora and animal life and bring specimens, Armand David spends eleven years there, in the second part of the nineteenth century, a very difficult and dangerous period time in China for foreigners. Among his best known achievements, the discovery in a Beijing park where the chinese emperors used to go hunting, of a strange kind of deer later called the "Deer of Father David". He also introduced the giant panda to the occidental world and brought to Europe and America many of our familiar plants and trees. Archives of his time and nowadays images tell us about his french childhood but also show the remote parts of China he has visited, like Setchuan or Mongoli as well as Beijing. The mayor of the village where he was born, botanists , ecologists and scientists from french and chinese Natural Science Museums tell us about him and his work.