Over 15 years, Sue’s many filming credits include Planet Earth II and Big Cats.
What was your greatest challenge on this series?
Little Jezir and his toque macaque family live in the temples of Polonnaruwa, where there were about 11 babies the same age! When under a year old, [individuals are] extremely difficult to identify. We learned to recognise Jezir’s mother, who had a rip in one of her ears, and find him that way.
What sequence are you proudest of?
Two in particular stand out. It was quite incredible to film Jezir the day he was born – to be there and see him with part of the umbilical cord still attached, and the fur on his head all damp, was not something I thought we would witness let alone film. In Kenya, I was very touched when Safina’s elephant herd joined up with long-lost family members.
Were there any moments you didn’t manage to capture?
The territory of baby Safina’s family is not limited to the protected areas of Samburu and Buffalo Springs. So when the herd ventured out into a known conflict area, where warring tribes had recently been active, we could not follow.
What new behaviour did you learn about when filming?
I was fascinated to learn the ways in which information is passed from elephant to elephant and on through the generations.
Any dramatic episodes when you were tempted to intervene?
At the temples of Polonnaruwa, there is a sizeable feral dog population, and the dogs hunt macaques. There are times when you think: “Am I going to have to step in here?” But then you see the size of the canines on these macaques and you end up thinking: “You know what, I’ll leave them to it, they’ll be fine.”