Nature: Undercover in the Jungle

Air date: 10/16/2019

Nature: Undercover in the Jungle

Premieres Wednesday, October 16 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nature and the PBS Video app

 

Synopsis:
In Ecuador’s Amazon basin lies a special patch of jungle that is a living, breathing, green metropolis of life. It is an untouched, secluded wilderness teeming with biodiversity, only accessible by boat. Follow a team of naturalists and filmmakers on a mission to capture the intimate behaviors of the wildlife who dwell here by installing a network of more than 50 remotely operated cameras and mini-cams, from the dark rainforest floor right up to a tangled canopy 300 feet in the air. By filming 24/7 for an entire month, the camera crew captures the lives of exotic creatures and discovers the incredible tricks these animals use to survive in the extreme jungle climate. From agile pygmy marmosets and boisterous howler monkeys, to solitary pumas and mesmerizing leaf-cutter ants, meet a cast of remarkable animal characters carving out a living in this tropical world.

Long TV Listing:
Go undercover with a film crew in the untouched wilderness of biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest. Meet some of the most incredible creatures, from pygmy marmosets to pumas, as the wild secrets of the jungle are revealed.

Short TV Listing:
Go undercover in the untouched Amazon jungle to meet some of the most incredible creatures on Earth.

Running Time: 60 minutes

Featured Creatures:

  • Woolly monkey
  • Collared peccary
  • Jaguar
  • Pygmy marmoset
  • Red Howler monkey
  • Night monkey
  • Equatorial Saki monkey
  • Ecuadorian Sac-winged bat
  • Vulture
  • Lemon ant
  • Spider monkey
  • Yellow-footed tortoise
  • Various butterfly species

Noteworthy Facts:

  • A single hectare (about 2.5 acres) in the Amazon jungle contains more tree species than the entire United States and Canada combined, as well as more than 100,000 species of insect.
  • Peccaries are the surprising source of life for many species in the jungle. The mud wallows they create when they feed on the jungle floor become a source of nutrients for a variety of wildlife, including guans, curassow, turtles and deer.
  • Infrared cameras show how round-eared bats flip 180 degrees mid-air and reverse into position in order to dangle on the roof of their jungle cave. Their bizarre leaf-shaped noses focus and amplify their chirping echolocation calls, which work like sonar technology, into a narrow beam. This super-sense allows them to navigate in the dark and locate potential dangers.

Buzzworthy Moments:

  • Writer/director Will Benson and his filmmaking team journey for four days to get to the heart of the rainforest, bringing more than 50 cameras that take a week to rig throughout the jungle. The crew’s endurance is pushed to the limit during the month they are filming, whether through extreme weather, pestering insects or long shifts to keep the cameras running 24/7.
  • The Amazon basin hosts nine unusual species of monkeys. Witness the antics of a pygmy marmoset, the smallest monkey in the world that can leap over 30 times its body length from tree to tree. Nocturnal night monkeys are captured by the cameras’ infrared lights as they hunt for insects and fruit. Saki monkeys hide out at the top layer of treetops while Spider monkeys leave the safety of the trees to drink from the forest floor’s mud wallows. Howler monkeys consume whole clumps of clay to sustain their diet, and muscular Woolly monkeys are seen using their tails to help make death-defying leaps from branch to branch in search of the juiciest fruits.
  • See butterflies feast on the tears of an ever-patient turtle. These animals have a surprising symbiotic relationship. The salty moisture around a turtle’s eyes and nose contains a large amount of sodium that butterflies crave.

Series Overview:
Nature is a voice for the natural world, bringing the wonders of wildlife and stories of conservation to millions of American viewers. The series 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.

Production Credits:
Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. Bill Murphy is Series Producer and Janet Hess is Series Editor. Undercover in the Jungle is a production of Atlantic Productions Limited and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and FremantleMedia Limited. The documentary is written, directed and presented by Will Benson, and produced by Anthony Geffen. Robin Cox served as director of photography and Sarjit Bains as editor.

Underwriters:
Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by The Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, The Fairweather Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas, The Hite Foundation,The Bradley L. Goldberg Family Foundation, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by Viewers Like You.

Websites:
pbs.org/nature
facebook.com/PBSNature
twitter.com/PBSNature
instagram.com/pbsnature
youtube.com/naturepbs 

#NaturePBS

About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, 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 month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.

 

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Photos
For editorial use in North America only in conjunction with the direct publicity or promotion of NATURE, no other rights are granted. All rights reserved. Downloading this image constitutes agreement to these terms.

A Woolly monkey keeping watch from the safety of the treetops. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

A pair of curious night monkeys (Aotus vociferans) peering from a tree hollow. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

Owl butterfly (genus Caligo) perched on a branch, displaying its distinctive eye-spots. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

A remote camera fixed in position up in the canopy of an emergent tree. More than 50 cameras were set up during the month of filming Undercover in the Jungle. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

The production crew monitoring their remote cameras from a makeshift camp deep in the rainforest. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

Filmmaker Will Benson setting up one of the many remote rainforest cameras. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

A bromeliad growing on the branches of an emergent tree. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

Fungi growing from a decaying log on the forest floor. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

A sac-winged bat roosting on a Ficus tree. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.

A Golden silk orb-weaver (genus Nephila) on its web. Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador. Credit: Will Benson / © Atlantic Productions Ltd.