Sex In The Wild
Sex, pregnancy and birth are biology at its very best. In this three parts series for Channel 4 in the UK and PBS in America, I joined up with my old chums from Inside Nature’s Giants to explore how some of the world’s most iconic animals pass their genes on to the next generation.
Elephants are the largest land animals on Earth and, for them, reproduction is an extraordinary engineering challenge. My focus was on the boys. It’s a lonely life for a male in musth. Sexed up and with only one thing on his mind – thanks to a massive surge in testosterone – he is constantly on the move. To attract the ladies, he dribbles pungent urine almost constantly. He doesn’t eat much. He loses weight. He gets angry. Elephant bulls are very dangerous animals at the best of times but, in musth, they can seriously ruin your day, your Land Rover and your life. So, thank goodness for anaesthesia. Without it, electro-ejaculating the young bull we had to get a semen sample from would have been a tad tricky !
In Borneo, I clambered almost 200 feet up an emergent tree to perform a precarious high wire act between that tree and another one nearby. It was the only way I was going to achieve my aim to be the first person ever, I believe, to climb in to a freshly made Orangutan nest. Amazingly, it is here, high up in the jungle canopy, where the females give birth.
And, off the coast of Mexico, I was able to get close and personal with some very young Gray whales as they and their mothers prepared for the long and hazardous migration north.
This series was broadcast in the US as ‘Sex in the Wild’ and in the UK as ‘Born In The Wild’
Channel 4 & PBS, Prime Time
3 x 60’ docs