Animals with Cameras, A Nature Miniseries
Wednesdays, January 31 – February 14 at 8/7c on PBS
Get a front row seat for an extraordinary experience. Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan (Nature – Snowbound: Animals of Winter) and a team of pioneering animal behaviorists join forces to explore stories of animal lives “told” by the animals themselves. Nature miniseries Animals with Cameras showcases a side of the animal kingdom where human cameramen can’t go, and animals become the cinematographers. Through custom, state-of-the-art cameras worn by the animals themselves, sprint across the savanna with a cheetah, plunge into the ocean with a seal and swing through the trees with a chimpanzee. Be privy to their secret lives like never before and uncover some truly unprecedented behavior through their eyes. Each episode features three different species.
- Gordon Buchanan, wildlife cameraman and on-air talent
- Chris Watts, animal camera designer
- Scientists and researchers from each location may be available upon request
- Magellanic penguins
- Fur seals
- Chacma baboons
- Devil rays
- Eurasian brown bears
- Shepherd dogs
Short TV Listing
Experience the secret lives of animals filmed where no human cinematographer can go.
Long TV Listing
See a side of the animal kingdom where human cameramen can’t go and animals become the cinematographers. Explore the secret lives of animals as never before as this three-part series uncovers truly unprecedented behavior through their eyes.
Running Time: 3, 60-minute episodes
Wednesday, January 31 at 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). Available to stream the following day at pbs.org/nature and on PBS apps.
The astonishing collar-camera footage reveals newborn Kalahari meerkats below ground for the first time, unveils the hunting skills of Magellanic penguins in Argentina, and follows the treetop progress of an orphaned chimpanzee in Cameroon.
- The meerkat family digs more than 300 feet of tunnels, with several chambers and entrances. It’s impressive engineering for creatures less than 12 inches tall. They rely on their whiskers and sense of smell to find their way around the pitch black tunnels.
- Dungbeetles are also residents in the burrows and take care of the sanitary duties.
- The cameras are able to capture a new meerkat behavior. Despite roughhousing on the surface, the entire meerkat family snuggles together in the burrow to sleep.
- Adult chimps are at least four times stronger than humans, so the camera harnesses must be strong and sturdy.
- Last year, a stunning 40 percent of penguin chicks didn’t make it to adulthood in Argentina. This happens every few years, and scientists have struggled to learn why.
- Penguin parents travel almost two hundred miles on a grueling round trip that may last three days. They are most likely guided by smell and add an insulating layer of air to their feathers to aid their search for food. They make an average of 400 dives per trip.
- Newborn meerkat pups emerge from the burrow when three weeks old. The cameras allowed for newborn meerkats to be shown for the first time ever.
- Chimps are one of the few animals that can recognize themselves in a mirror. They enjoyed some selfies with the cameras! The chimps enjoy running around the trees, and we are shown new behaviors such as weaving and washing.
- When the penguin parents go swimming for food, we are shown that they ignore several species of viable fish. Shrimps, squid, and lobster krill are all passed up, running the risk of depleting the penguin’s energy sources. The big win is anchovies, a penguin super food.
Wednesday, February 7 at 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). Available to stream the following day at pbs.org/nature and on PBS apps.
The cameras capture young cheetahs learning to hunt in Namibia, reveal how fur seals of an Australian island evade the great white sharks offshore, and help solve a conflict between South African farmers and chacma baboons.
- Cheetahs are typically taught to hunt on their own by 18 months old.
- Cheetahs can only keep up their top speed for about 30 seconds.
- Kanowa Island in Australia harbors 15,000 seals, as well as great white sharks who weigh over a ton.
- Seals spend nearly 80 percent of their lives at sea. They can swim up to 200 miles before coming back to shore.
- The baboon’s natural habitat in the Bushlands is shrinking, forcing them closer to the farmland, where they eat the produce.
- Lala palms take up to four years to ripen and fall to the ground, but when they do, it produces thousands of fruits. Baboons prefer this natural fruit to the squash crops.
- Cheetahs are the fastest mammals on earth, and with their cameras we can see firsthand just what it is like to run and hunt at that speed.
- The seal snatches up a cuttlefish for food, despite the cuttlefish using its inky protection. Her camera offers one-of-a-kind undersea footage; she finds some dolphins and takes advantage of their feeding behavior to steal some of their fishy meals.
- In a funny sequence, see just how the clever baboons get past all the farmer’s tricks to stop them from coming onto the cropland – not much hinders these wily creatures when they’re in search of food or water.
Wednesday, February 14 at 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). Available to stream the following day at pbs.org/nature and on PBS apps.
Deep-dive with Chilean devil rays in the Azores, track brown bears’ diets in Turkey, and follow dogs protecting flocks of sheep from gray wolves in Southern France.
- Why does the Turkish forest have so many brown bears? For one, the Turkish forest is rich in bear food. The forest has caves, which the bears use in the summer to cool off. The rubbish thrown from passing cars also holds appeal to the bears, although this is more worrying for their safety.
- Devil rays in the Atlantic Ocean have wing-like fins that stretch more than nine feet across and they have one of the biggest brains of any species of fish. Every summer, the rays migrate thousands of miles from the coast of Africa to gather near underwater mountains near the Azores.
- Wolves were hunted to extinction in France less than a century ago, but crossed back from the Italian border in the 90s. Now, it’s estimated that there are more than 300 wolves in the French countryside. Thousands of sheep roam the same hills, and the wolves make trouble for the shepherds. A team of dogs – a mixture of traditional mountain breeds- are employed as bodyguards.
- Multiple brown bears are found eating from a rubbish dump. It’s not healthy for the bears to be eating this garbage, but getting rid of it completely would lead to a scarcity of food and make the small forest even more overcrowded. Clips from a bear’s point of view show just how many bears are in the area.
- Schools of devil rays swim around the summit of the seamount. The descent to the bottom is fast and dizzying. They like to explore near the bottom of the deep sea to feed from the teeming sea life and to mate. However, it is cold (43 degrees Fahrenheit), so the cold-blooded rays cannot stay down for long.
- Nightvision cameras show that there is infighting in the dog pack, with the need to establish dominance from the alphas. One of the more timid dogs is the first to sense a wolf approaching and raise the alarm. The dogs stand their ground against an oncoming wolf pack.
- Baby devil rays (pups) are carried inside their mothers for around a year and are nourished by their mother’s milk. An unborn ray is kicking inside the mother’s stomach, a phenomenon captured on camera for the very first time.
Nature brings the wonders of natural history to millions of American viewers. Nature has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 18 Emmys and three Peabody Awards.
Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Bill Murphy is series producer. Animals with Cameras is a BBC Studios Production for PBS and BBC with THIRTEEN Productions LLC.
Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by the Arnhold Family in memory of Clarisse Arnhold, the Halmi Family in memory of Robert Halmi, Sr., Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the nation’s public television stations.
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history game. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person, and an intergenerational look at tech and pop culture, The Chatterbox with Kevin and Grandma Lill. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.