BBC wildlife documentary crew intervene to save penguins’ lives

Nov 21, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

BBC wildlife documentary crew intervene to save penguins’ lives

Nov 21, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It’s one of those things that nature photographers and filmmakers struggle with. When to intervene in the natural course of events. Typically, most don’t intervene, especially when they’re there in a straight documentary capacity. Humankind has interfered with wildlife enough already.

Sometimes, though, it just feels like the right thing to do, as this wildlife documentary crew for BBC Dynasties decided.

The Guardian reports that the penguins had either been blown or fallen into a gully during a storm and were unable to escape. The crew decided to help them in what BBC Earth describes as “an unprecedented move”.

The crew did not handle the penguins. They simply carved some steps in the ice and snow allowing them a way to climb out. Which they did.

The move has upset a few people who strongly believe in the “no interference” rule. But author and filmmaker Philip Hoare said that the crew were bound to upset somebody no matter what they did.

Wildlife cameraman, Doug Allan, described the idea of not interfering as a “cardinal rule”. In the predator and prey relationship, he says that “the key thing is your presence must not influence the outcome”. And in such a situation, it’s understandable. But this wasn’t a predator and prey situation. He says he saw no problem with the film crew’s intervention.

I certainly think, in that case, what they did was entirely justifiable and entirely understandable. I would have done the same thing in their situation.

– Doug Allan

It is very rare for crews to intervene in natural events, but nothing would’ve been served here by letting the penguins slowly suffer and die in the gully, while their young also slowly suffer and die above.

It does make one wonder exactly when we should intervene in natural events. With the predator & prey situation, it’s fairly obvious. Either we let things take their natural course and the inevitable happens to the prey. Or, we step in, save the prey, risking the predator’s life, or their offspring’s. There’s no win-win scenario in that situation.

But where do we draw the line?

[via The Guardian]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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