Johannesburg, 17 August 2023: The best stories are often the hardest to get to, but if you’re National Geographic Explorer and BAFTA Award-winning cinematographer Bertie Gregory (@BertieGregory), that’s part of the fun! In the new National Geographic series ANIMALS UP CLOSE WITH BERTIE GREGORY, the filmmakerembarks on a new set of adventures to capture wildlife behaviors like never before. Armed with drones, state-of-the-art gimbal-mounted cameras and underwater tech, Bertie follows individual animals for weeks at a time, building up an intimate picture of their daily battles. He and his team travel to the most spectacular corners of our planet — Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Botswana, Patagonia, Indonesia, and the Central African Republic — to take viewers deep into the natural world and showcase extraordinary animal lives. The six-part series will stream only on Disney+ from 13 September 2023.
In ANIMALS UP CLOSE WITH BERTIE GREGORY, viewers will get the chance to see unique and rare moments, like humpback whales purposely disrupting the hunt of an endangered pod of B1 killer whales — just 100 are in existence — in Antarctica. Other standout moments include a male sea lion defending pups from a huge Galapagos shark and, by using a military-grade thermal imaging camera in Patagonia, Bertie and his team filmed a guardian shepherd dog defending his flock of sheep from a hunting puma.
Bertie and his team brave subzero seas, climb snow-capped mountains, and sleep suspended 120 feet in the air to reveal the challenges animals endure, their fierce rivalries, and the threats they face on our changing planet. Throughout the series, there are emotional highs and lows as Bertie comes face-to-face with the shocking truths about the impact of humanity on the wildlife he is so passionate about.
The immersive series captures the challenges of natural history filmmaking and shows the behind-the-scenes moments Bertie and his team face while adapting to unpredictable wildlife in remote environments where filming rarely goes as planned. There is no script for this unique wildlife series, but through it all, Bertie brings the audience with him every step of the way.
The six-episode series includes the following:
- PATAGONIA PUMA
Bertie searches the wilderness of Patagonia in southern Chile, hoping to find and film a female Puma that he first met four years ago when she was just a cub. When he finds her, she has two cubs of her own which she must feed and protect from the many dangers of this harsh mountain landscape.
- ANTARCTIC KILLER WAVES
Bertie and the team cross the infamous Drake Passage, the roughest stretch of ocean on Earth, to reach Antarctica, where they witness and film the staggering intelligence and adaptability of a group of killer whales. Known as B1’s, they use an extraordinary strategy to hunt seals resting on ice. Working as a team, they create a powerful wave to push the seals into the water. Bertie wants to find out why the B1 population is declining and film the other surprising ways they catch prey in their rapidly changing world.
- BOTSWANA WILD DOGS
Bertie travels to Botswana to film one of the planet’s most successful land predators: the African wild dog. Despite their hunting super skills, wild dog population numbers are dramatically declining. By following a family pack with 14 young pups, he wants to find out what it will take for the next generation of these endangered predators to survive. They face threats from lions, hyenas and elephants, and it’s clear that these African wild dogs don’t go down without a fight.
- GALAPAGOS MARVELS
Bertie travels to the remote islands of the Galapagos to find and film three rare animal behaviors seen nowhere else on the Earth, each with an extreme challenge. He will face huge Pacific waves, shark-infested waters, and ultra-fast hunting sea lions on the rugged Galapagos coast, teaching Bertie how these unique animals survive in a rapidly changing world.
- ELEPHANT QUEST
Bertie is on a stakeout deep in the jungles of the Central African Republic, searching for the biggest and most secretive of the forest elephants: the tuskers, huge males with tusks that reach down to the floor. Working with a specialist camera team and local elephant trackers, he sets up a filming HQ high in the rainforest canopy.
- DEVIL RAY ISLANDS
Bertie travels to Indonesia to dive amongst some of the most exquisite coral reefs left on Earth, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the reef’s most elusive predators: the mysterious devil ray. His best chance of finding one is to track down a huge annual spectacular, an anchovy feeding frenzy.
ANIMALS UP CLOSE WITH BERTIE GREGORY is produced by Wildstar Films for National Geographic. Bertie Gregory is host, creative contributor, co-producer and director of photography. For Wildstar the executive producer is Anwar Mamon and the series producer is Jennie Hammond. Will West, Maddie Close, Spencer Millsap, Mark McClean and James Brickell produce and direct across the series. For National Geographic, Janet Han Vissering is SVP, Production and Development, and Drew Jones serves as executive producer.
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