Stuck on a Rock tells the important story of one of Australia’s greatest conservation blunders and victories side-by-side, as well as the human story that is so inseparably tied to it.

This documentary is about the Lord Howe Island stick insect, one of the rarest species of insects on the planet. It was wiped out on Lord Howe Island by rats in the early 1900s and was thought extinct until a series of chance events led to its rediscovery on one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth – Balls Pyramid, about 20km south east of Lord Howe. Since then extraordinary efforts have been made to prevent this unique species (dubbed the thylacine of the insect world) from disappearing again. This humble insect has become a symbol of the struggle to preserve what we have left and to mitigate our impact on the natural world.


Join us afterwards for a short presentation from Rohan Cleave (a zookeeper at Melbourne Zoo) who will be talking more in depth about the current Lord Howe stick insect conservation programme, including their planned release onto Lord Howe Island now the rats are gone.

Live Q&A:

We’ll wrap up the evening with a live Q&A. Asher Flatt (the director of this documentary) will be joining Rohan to answer your questions. This will be chaired by Andrew Balmford.

Watch the trailer:

Rohan Cleave

Rohan Cleave is a zookeeper at Melbourne Zoo, where he has been involved in the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect recovery breeding program since 2003. He now manages the program at Melbourne Zoo.

Asher Flatt

Asher Flatt is a documentary filmmaker and science communicator who hails from the island nation of New Zealand. He is passionate about building a better world through positive conservation stories that have the ability to inspire change. Currently he is living and working in the UK at the BBC Natural History Unit.


Andrew Balmford

Andrew Balmford is Professor of Conservation Science in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on the costs and benefits of conservation, how to best reconcile conservation and farming and examining what works in conservation. He is the author of ‘Wild Hope: On the Front Lines of Conservation Success’ (2012). Andrew currently runs the Student Conference on Conservation Science with Rhys Green, Rosie Trevelyan and Ed Turner. After Nancy Knowlton’s 2016 presentation at the Student Conference on Conservation Science, he and Rosie Trevelyan co-convened the 2017 Cambridge Earth Optimism Summit.