Planet Earth 2, as Tom blogged recently, is pretty bloomin’ spectacular.
When it comes to nature, David Attenborough is without peer.
I honestly don’t believe that they’ll be another naturalist of his like again. I dread the time when we’re greeted with his last series, rather than simply his latest. At 90 years of age, Attenborough is still at the peak of his profession. The music of Hans Zimmer aside, there’s no other voice likely to encourage more 16 to 34-year-old viewers to watch a documentary over the X Factor.
Last night saw the series finale (Planet Earth 2, not X Factor) looking at the wildlife in earth’s cities. One area of focus was on the plight of some poor baby Hawksbill turtles, which, hatching on a beach in Barbados, were being distracted and disorientated by nearby city lights.
Losing sense of direction, the turtles were wandering into roads, and falling into storm drains, meeting untimely ends. The general sentiment on social media was ‘oh, those poor turtles!’ and it seemed like the production crew were cruelly hard-hearted to watch the baby reptiles crushed under wheels or drowning in drains without lifting a finger to help.
It’s since emerged, however, that far from being cold-eyed bystanders, the crew did actually help every turtle they filmed, taking them to the sea and saving them from a slaughter of human making.
The attitude of filmmakers in the natural world is usually ‘let nature take its course,’ when it comes to baby antelope being eaten by lions. However, it’s reasonable to suggest that in this incident, it isn’t nature, but mankind taking its course – to the detriment of the baby turtles.
Recognising this difference, the production team rescued all of the turtles featured, taking them to the comparative safety of the sea. Where they were no doubt eaten by sharks and other predatory fish. But at least that’s nature’s way.
Cracking PR for the programme again today though, as most of the major outlets reported on it. The whole series has also been cracking PR for nature in general. Let’s hope that young people continue to watch these type of documentaries and continue to gain appreciation for the beauty of the natural world while doing so.