The Dark: Nature's Nighttime World

BBC NHU

This 3 part series revealed the nocturnal lives of animals living in Central and South America. There were several shoots including the Brazilian Pantanal, Amazon, Costa Rica, Venezuala and Chile.

The first three week shoot took a small team of us to Costa Rica's east coast where Jaguars were believed to be predating on turtles as they came ashore to lay eggs. We were based in hides (see right) where using thermal imaging equipment we could monitor a large portion of the seven mile beach. To cause minimum disturbance we would setup before dusk. Kept awake by the crashing of the ocean, buzzing of mosquitoes and hope of filming Jaguars we worked through every night and were rewarded with many sightings, including a pair of mating Jaguars. Later on, Justine Evans had an even closer encounter when a large male Jaguar passed within six inches of her ground level hide. This was unprecedented from an animal usually so elusive and shy.

Chile's stunning Torres del Paine national park was the location of another shoot and another close encounter, this time with Pumas. The vast landscape was mesmerising and dramatic but made puma spotting rather difficult. Using thermal technology we used 4x4 vehicles to cover large areas every night. Groups of guanaco would often provide an early warning that a cat was in the vicinity. At the beginning, our sightings were mostly distant eye shine but as we became more familiar with the landscape and animals we got closer and closer, eventually capturing footage of pumas on a kill and walking beside us.

The Amazon rainforest was the subject of a river survey where we filmed pink river dolphins, bats, sloths, snakes and owl monkeys. The river happened to be flooded during our time there which meant access to land was almost impossible. The majority of our time was spent on boats or smaller canoes whilst using machetes to navigate through the flooded forest. A magical place, despite the mosquitoes which were capable of biting through anything!

 

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jaguar hide, tortuguero np, costa rica

jaguar hide, tortuguero np, costa rica

filming pumas in torres del paine np, chile

filming pumas in torres del paine np, chile