Ted Oakes

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Reviews Broadcast -

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.

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