To enter the world of this tiger family, John Downer and his wizard team, cameraman Michael Richards and techno-boffin Geoff Bell, deploy the ultimate all-terrain camera vehicles – elephants – kitted out with the latest high-definition ‘secret weapons’ of wildlife filmmaking – trunk-cam, tusk-cam and log-cams. The four elephants here in India’s Pench national park have also been taught new filming skills by their mahouts – how to keep a steady trunk and a delicate touch.
As eco-friendly 4X4s, the elephants carry the hefty trunk-cam and smaller tusk-cam wherever the tiger family goes across its 10-square mile territory. The tigers seem oblivious to the elephants and allow them to place trunk-cam right under their whiskers to film. The elephants also use the devices to film the tigers on the move. The human film crew film from another elephant and control the ele-cams remotely.
Tigers may be the A-list celebrities, but there’s a cast of rising B-list stars too. Cheeky langur monkeys are transfixed by their reflections in log-cam, and rare sloth bears, red dogs and a leopard with her cubs all make cameo appearances.
It’s almost unheard of for four cubs to survive through to adulthood, and these four face many dangers along the way – from rogue male tigers and leopards in their territory to being left home alone. <em>Tiger – Spy in the Jungle</em> is there every step of the way.
<strong>Episode 1:</strong> David Attenborough narrates the lives of four growing tiger cubs using footage collected by hidden-camera-carrying elephants. Over two years, the elephants help capture the most intimate portrayal of tigers ever filmed. As they grow, the cubs move from their mother's milk onto meat. Fortunately, the tigress is a skilled hunter. Charger, their imposing father, keeps his distance but helps to protect his vulnerable offspring from rogue male tigers and leopards.
<strong>Episode 2:</strong> David Attenborough narrates the lives of four growing tiger cubs using footage collected by hidden-camera-carrying elephants. The half-grown cubs are learning the hunting and fighting skills they will need as adults. The cameras also give an insight into the worlds of other animals, with leopards presenting a real threat to the growing cubs and deer making good hunting practice.
The tigers head to a water hole to cool off on a steaming hot day and the spy-cams show that the jungle pools are a magnet for a whole array of forest animals, including wild boars and sloth bears. But disaster strikes when both the cubs' parents are injured and a rogue male puts in an appearance.
<strong>Episode 3:</strong> David Attenborough narrates the lives of four growing tiger cubs using footage collected by hidden-camera-carrying elephants. The cubs are now a year and a half old and their biggest challenge is learning to hunt for themselves, but their mother soon loses patience. Many new animal stars make their appearance, including an irresistible jackal family that has to cope when the tiger family invades their backyard, and a flock of peacocks that tease the tigers by playing a game of dare.