How does a local viewpoint differ from that of a scientist?
Biologists normally have a field season with a certain predator species, yet often they will be sitting in a vehicle or at least be some distance from their subject. The people we filmed have existed on the ground alongside these animals for thousands of years. Across the world there are people living immersed in nature and near animals that are demonised. We never hear from these people, yet they are the real experts.
Which is your favourite moment in the series?
Eagle hunters in Mongolia use female birds to hunt for fur, releasing them back into the wild to breed when they become adults. We filmed our hunter releasing his eagle after treating it like a member of his family for seven years. His respect for it is a stark contrast to attitudes to these birds elsewhere in the world. There’s also a great scene with Gordon in the Harar graveyard at night, with the animals just metres away.
How long did Gordon spend with each family?
Two to three weeks. The places we visited were very remote, taking days to reach.
What was the biggest challenge?
Bridging the cultural divide. It always takes a while to get these people confident enough to share with us how they see the world. Gordon’s good at that, he’s a gentle person and very willing to learn from others.
TED OAKES is series producer of Tribes, Predators and Me.