A film crew have found themselves amid controversy, after they “broke with convention” and interfered when a group of penguins got stuck during filming for David Attenborough’s new BBC series.
It’s typically frowned upon in the industry for film crews to intervene with nature, but the Dynasties series crew took action upon noticing a number of penguins were stuck in a ravine. The incident took place on location in Antarctica.
After harsh weather conditions had trapped the birds, the crew took on the task of digging a make-do ramp by which they could use to escape, in what BBC Earth are now calling an “unprecedented move.” It is believed the animals would die without involvement from the crew.
Doug Allan, a veteran wildlife cameraman, said: “If [for example] you’re watching a predator and prey relationship, the key thing is your presence must not influence the outcome.” He added that in this situation, the camera crew didn’t spook the penguins. Picking them up would have caused significant stress, but “all [the crew] did was create an escape route for them.”
Despite noting the incident was a “very unusual situation,” Mike Gunton, the executive producer of the series, defended the crew. “In the 30 years I’ve been doing this, it’s one of the very few occasions when we’ve ever done anything like this […] you wouldn’t interfere because of all sorts of consequences [such as] changing the dynamics of the natural system. But, in this particular situation, none of those things applied.”
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