Billy first graduated with a degree in Zoology from the University of Exeter in 2015, but stayed on to continue his Zoological studies and undertake a part time Masters by Research using remote cameras to study grey seal haul-outs in Cornwall. At the same time, he was busy presenting on NatureWatch and producing his own films. His film ‘In Search of the Killer Whale’ was shortlisted in the adventure category of WildFilmFest 2017, he then went on to present on ‘Virtually Wild’, a film following the journey of two young filmmakers as they embark on an adventure around the British Isles to film wildlife using 360 technology.
Billy has travelled all over the world fuelling his passion for nature. In the past few years alone, he’s explored the frozen fjords of Iceland in search of orca, tracked down grizzly bears in British Columbia, gone on safari in Sri Lanka in search of elephants and he’s even ventured to the other side of the world to find some of Australia’s weirdest critters. Plus, he’s even wandered around New Zealand’s rugged coastlines in search of hectors dolphins, fur seals, dusky dolphins and sei whales.
BBC Radio 4
In February 2020, Billy was invited on to the panel of Nature Table to talk about his research on grey seals and to share some funny stories from his time observing and interacting with them in the wild. Working alongside Sue Perkins, Lizzie Daly and Jessica Fostekew, the panel dived into the world of grey seals, spiders, Portuguese Man O’War jellyfish and angler fish.
Wildlife Film Production
Following the success of NatureWatch, Billy and three of the crew established Muddy Duck Productions to produce short science communication videos for social media. In their first year, Muddy Duck were flown out to Northern Cyprus by the University of Exeter and commissioned to create a film about the work of the Marine Turtle Conservation Project for social media. Whilst on location, Billy took the opportunity to present several short films for social media highlighting the effects of plastic pollution on nesting green turtles in the Mediterranean.
After their return from Cyprus, the Muddy Duck team were commissioned by the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust and their patron, Gillian Burke, to produce a film depicting the story of ‘Septimus the seal’. Billy worked first hand with Gillian on location in Cornwall, directing her as she presented on the film.
In March 2019, his adventure to find blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka was shown as a BBC Earth Instagram takeover during the run of Blue Planet Live. In Spring 2019, Billy went in search of Corncrakes on Islay which featured on BBC SpringWatch’s Instagram story and in the Autumn of 2019 his film ‘In search of the Cassowary’ was showcased on BBC Earth’s Instagram coinciding with the Australia episode of the BBC landmark series Seven Worlds One Planet.
Education and Conservation
Whilst undertaking his masters, Billy delivered several presentations at a variety of marine conservation conferences, including the Marine Ecology and Conservation Network meeting in 2017 and the South West Marine Ecosystems conference in 2016. In addition, Billy loves sharing his passion for the natural world with younger generations and has been into a number of schools, both primary and secondary, to share stories of his adventures to excite and inspire children and young adults about wildlife and the threats that our ecosystems and flora and fauna are currently facing.
In 2014, Billy worked with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust sailing around the Hebrides surveying for marine mega-fauna and sea birds and in 2016, Billy worked for the Marine Turtle Conservation Project in Northern Cyprus collecting data on nesting green and loggerhead turtles.
In 2019, Billy campaigned with Whale and Dolphin Conservation to save Hector’s and Maui dolphins, collectively known as New Zealand dolphins, by raising awareness about the threat of fishing nets to the species. He is currently working on a new campaign with Whale and Dolphin Conservation trying to end the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity.
Between the 14th October 2018-16th January 2019, Billy was traveling around Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand gathering new material and content for his online wildlife series ‘Billy’s Travels’. The series features Sri Lankan Elephants, Blue Whales, Marsupials, Dolphins and much more.
Charities and Organisations
Billy became an ambassador for MARINELife in summer 2019 and is the patron of the Brighton Dolphin Project. He is also an ambassador for Paddlelogger.
Billy Heaney’s agent
Billy Heaney’s agent is: