Jaguars & wolves …

Just home after a really great trip to Brazil. The first few days were spent working the the fantastic Rob Sullivan on his Natural World film about three orphaned Jaguars which are being reared by Leandro & Anna Silveria. Leandro and Anna were absolutely incredible; super hospitality and their skill and devotion to their work with the jaguars is really special.

We did lots of crane work which was always interesting as the three jaguars are incredibly inquisitive and have no fear of getting involved with the finer points of camerawork such as chewing the lens shade and dangling off the end of the Jimmy Jib. The cats were adorable, but it was really important to remain as a neutral presence – if you showed the slightest hint that you fancied a bit of rough and tumble with them they a) shredded you pretty fast and b) then never left you alone – a bit like Max & Felix but with more sharp bits.

Leandro, Anna, me, three Jaguars ... and Rob pretending to operate the crane

I then did a couple of weeks filming for How Life Works – unfortunately Adam, the producer, had to fly home before we’d began filming but Ruth from the Natural World office stayed on and we did some really good filming of leafcutter ants, Lobera fruit / seeds. It was amazing to be back at Emas National Park after 10 years, it seems quite different; dispite a huge fire a couple of years ago there where more bird species than I remember and we had an amazing hour or so of filming where we followed a maned wolf (one of my all-time favourite animals) ┬áthat then spooked and chased another maned wolf!

Fernando, me, Ruth & Renate filming in Emas NP

Then the last week was spent at another location where there have been very tame and predictable maned wolves in the past but unfortunately this didn’t go so well. The wolves were around but not in such great numbers as there had been a couple of years previously, and the extreme temperatures meant that their behaviour was exclusively nocturnal. We saw them most nights which was really lovely – they would come right into camp – but without the kit required to film at night all we could do was watch. Everyone who helped, especially Fernando and Raphael were absolutely brilliant, so it was a real shame to come back empty handed from the last location.

Then a huge long trip home and only 36hrs to turn around before heading off to Scotland to film on another Natural World film … less than three days between following maned wolves under a full moon and 40C temperatures to stalking red deer in the Cairngorms!

I obviously don’t want to talk about the rugby – so here’s a picture of Max and Felix on the first day of term!

Felix & Max - first day of term, September 2011