Hannah Emde experienced early on that life and nature can present us with great challenges. When the current veterinarian began her studies, the first animal that lay on her dissection table was, of all things, a dachshund. “That was really crazy,” she says.

Emde has many memories with the short-legged dog breed – she grew up with the cute four-legged friends. There was always a wire-haired dachshund at home. Unfortunately, there is little room for sentimentality at a section table. “In this moment you put on your scientific glasses,” says Hannah Emde, “and focus on organs and muscles.”

Emde is following in the footsteps of Bublath and Steffens

The Bonn native, born in 1992, is quite good at balancing emotions and scientific analysis. She will now bring these skills to bear on one of television’s best-known documentary formats: Emde will present “Terra X: Fascination Earth” on ZDF. She is following in the footsteps of Joachim Bublath (81) and Dirk Steffens (56). Steffens moved from ZDF to RTL.

The first episodes with Hannah Emde will be available in the ZDF media library from Wednesday (April 3rd), and will be shown in the main program from Sunday (April 7th, 7:30 p.m.). The new “presenter”, as ZDF calls her, travels to Thailand, Gabon in Africa and the Galapagos Islands.

Emde: I have a different approach

During a conversation in her hometown of Bonn, she made it clear that she wanted to do things differently than the men before her. “Dirk Steffens is one of the best explainers there is,” she says. “However, I think I have a different approach. The format was always very explanatory, there was a lot of frontal moderation. I’m not the type of person for that.” She wants to “take the audience along” more. “I’m not already up in the tree at 50 meters – but I’m shown how I climb up the tree.”

Emde was born in 1992 into a family in which questions about nature play a major role. Her mother is a biologist and her father is a forestry scientist. It quickly becomes apparent that she will study veterinary medicine. When she takes the dachshunds to the vet, it is a personal highlight for her. “I wanted to know everything and was fascinated by the question: What does the dachshund have now?” she reports.

The coolest big cat in the world

Internships, assistantships and internships take her to Malaysia and Madagascar, among other places. Countries with a different animal world than in the Rhineland. “The important thing is that you manage the transfer,” she says. People know how to put an animal under anesthesia on a sterile operating table in Germany. “Now you have to think: How do I manage this in the jungle on a tarp at 39 degrees, with mosquitoes and leeches?”

In 2017 she founded the association “Nepada Wildlife e.V.” who is committed to nature and species protection. The name comes from the Sunda clouded leopard, their favorite animal. Emde can talk about the shy species like an admired rock band. “This is the coolest big cat in the world,” she says. Beautiful fur drawing reminiscent of clouds or fog. She also says, “I tend to get overwhelmed by natural experiences.”

I got into television by chance

Today, most of her work involves talking about nature and its value. She is a conservationist. She ended up on television quite by chance. A few years ago, NDR simply asked her if she wanted to do a documentary series, she says. “Hannah goes wild” was released in 2022.

You can tell that she has the ability to take people on a journey when Emde talks about the jungle with a haunting look. Even on a gray spring day in Bonn, you think you can hear the mosquitoes humming quietly. Or seeing Indiana Jones crawling through the thicket. “The jungle is adventure, there’s no question about that,” she says. But you don’t have to be afraid. “At some point you can tell by the rustling whether a proboscis monkey is coming or an orangutan.” And a certain level of stress resistance is important. Because as a veterinarian on an acute mission, you have to hope “that there are no elephants nearby or perhaps a male orangutan would like to stop by for anesthesia.”

And with one type of animal the fun is over pretty quickly for them too – spiders. She says she’s “a little bit scared” of them. “I have a problem when it’s the size of my palm.” But there can’t just be wire-haired dachshunds in the world.