Malaika Vaz: Biography highlights
Malaika Vaz is a National Geographic Explorer, TV broadcaster and filmmaker. Her documentaries focus on the environment, endangered species, community-led conservation and wildlife trafficking for television networks around the world.
Full biography of Malaika Vaz
Malaika Vaz’s Background
Malaika is the Founder and Creative Director of Untamed Planet – a production house specialising in creating films about the natural world, that have been viewed by hundreds of millions of people globally. Through Untamed Planet – Malaika’s recent broadcast projects involve a 3-part series on community led Big Cat conservation for Nat Geo Wild, a film on elephant trafficking for young audiences with the BBC NHU’s series ‘Planet Defenders’ and a report on how habitat protection can reduce zoonotic disease spread for Al Jazeera’s global networks.
She is also passionate about advocating for lesser-known and endangered wildlife, and worked on a 8-part Discovery Channel/Animal Planet India series looking at rare species like the Slender Loris, Himalayan Black Bear, Purple Frog, Red Panda and King Cobra amongst others. Malaika is currently producing a film series that explores the relationship between environmental pollution and equity in Mongolia, Bangladesh and China.
Growing up with the beach and forest in her backyard helped Malaika fall deeply in love with the natural world and exploration and she is a PADI Dive Master, Cessna Pilot, competitive windsurfer and endurance horse rider. An adventurer at heart, she has travelled across some of the most hostile terrain on all seven continents – from hiking across glaciers in the Antarctic, to riding across the Mongolian steppe into Russia, to diving with tiger sharks in remote frontiers of the ocean.
She is passionate about investigating trans-national wildlife crime, and has been documenting the illegal trade in lesser-known wildlife contraband across Southeast Asia. Through her films, Malaika has gone undercover in the wildlife markets of Guangzhou, interviewed insurgents and traffickers at international borders and tracked down consignments of wildlife contraband in the world’s biggest wildlife trade hubs. Malaika’s recent film on Manta Rays was nominated for the Green Oscars and won an award at the prestigious Jackson Wild Media awards. As part of her work, she collaborates with organisations like WildAid and the Wildlife Trust of India on wildlife trafficking investigations and conservation initiatives.
She was named an Earthshot Prize Advocate in 2020 and helps to promote the work of the world’s largest environmental prize founded by HRH Prince William, which is aimed at incentivising conservation action on a global scale. She was described as one of 6 global environmentalists changing the world by the United Nations Environment Programme.