Sir David Attenborough writes to the Tea Tree Plaza mall asking for the removal of the erroneously attributed quote

A shopping mall in Adelaide has come under fire for mistakenly attributing a quote about the situation of the bees to Sir David Attenborough, in which the television company personally wrote to the center asking for the plaque to be removed.

The plate at the Westfield Tea Tree Plaza shopping mall in the northeast of Adelaide caught the attention of the scientific Heath Hunter.

“Back in July for a while I saw this really beautiful mural of honey bees … of all places it was actually down in this little corridor that led to the toilets,” said Mr. Hunter to ABC Radio Adelaide.

“On the edge of the mural was this tiny tiny plaque, maybe 10 inches wide, and it had these fake quotes from David Attenborough there.”

The plaque quoted Sir David as saying, “In the last five years, the bee population has dropped by a third. If bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humans would have only four years left to live.”

Hunter said he recognized the quote, which has also been attributed to other iconic figures.

“I know they have been attributed [Albert] Einstein in the past, “he said.

Hunter said he reached out to the mural artist, who referred him to the mall’s management.

“I just explained to them that it is not true and would you mind removing it,” he said.

A few months later, he returned to the center and the plaque was still there, so he decided to go one step further.

Sir David’s letter to the mall

He wrote to Sir David and sent him a photo of the quote.

A mural of bees flying around flowers and greenery on a wall
The bi-mural is painted on a wall in the Tea Tree Plaza in the northeast suburbs of Adelaide.(Delivered: Instagram / @bonninart)

“He sent me a little letter and said thank you for telling me that, and then there was a separate attachment,” Mr. Hunter.

The attached letter was to the mall, where he asked to have the plaque removed, which Sir David asked Mr. Hunter about forwarding.

“I sent them that about three weeks ago, but they got a call from a journalist yesterday morning, and it dropped pretty quickly.”

A spokesman for Westfield Tea Tree Plaza confirmed that the plate had been removed.

“We appreciate the customer bringing this to our attention,” the spokesman said.

“The board, including the quote, has been removed.”

As a lifelong Sir David fan, Mr. Hunter hangs on to the letter he received.

“It’s still in the envelope … I’ll have to find a place to hang it.”


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