On television, sharks and other top predators tend to get a bad rap.
Portrayed as fierce, insatiable killers during the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week of programming, for example, the fact that humans are the ones pushing many shark species to the brink of extinction is rarely, if ever mentioned.
If you’re looking for a fascinating, dramatic and more balanced perspective on predators in the wild, you may want to check out the new BBC America series, The Hunt, airing Sunday evenings at 9 p.m. ET.
The show comes from multi-Emmy-award winning producers Alastair Fothergill and Huw Cordey, who worked on the acclaimed series Planet Earth. Like that series, this one is also narrated by Sir David Attenborough.
The show uses new technologies to capture unprecedented scenes of creatures hunting down their prey. In some cases, the program is the first of its kind to feature certain species.
For example, the Darwin’s bark spider segment above, provided exclusively to Mashable, is the first to feature footage of this elusive creature, which was only named in 2009. According to the show’s promotional materials, the spider can spray silk a distance of 25 meters, or 82 feet.
It uses this ability to create bridges across rivers.
Its just a remarkable piece of evolution, its an amazing animal,” said Cordey, in an interview.
The segment, Cordey said, took five weeks to film, and was filmed with 4K cameras.
Another clip provided to Mashable also shows The Hunt‘s innovative uses of new film technology.
In the army ants clip shown below, the crew used a specialized rig designed for filming insects, consisting of a small camera on a lightweight crane that allowed the filmmakers to simulate the experience of viewing these ants from a mini-helicopter.
According to the filmmakers, this was the first time “a full raid on another ant colony” was filmed.
We wanted to tell a real story about predators, where predators are the hardest working animals on the planet, Cordey said.
He said the show demonstrates that nature’s hunters aren’t what they’re usually made out to be.
What we wanted to do was not to show blood and gore,” Cordey said.
We wanted to really get our audience into the footsteps of these predators.” he said.
Unlike most nature documentaries, this one does not tend to show the bloody moments of the kill, partly because the predator, be it a polar bear or a spider, often fails.
But partly this is also because the show is about the strategies creatures use to pursue their prey, not about the aftermath.
Predators mostly fail, they dont succeed,” Cordey said. “Most predators fail most of the time.
The failure was just as interesting as the success, and what kept people watching, he added. This is not about the kill.”
Its more about strategy.