BBC 'Dynasties' Crew Break Interference Rule By Saving Penguins and Lion

By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter

November 26, 2018

The documentary crews who work for Sir David Attenborough don't normally interfere with nature, but in two recent episodes of BBC's Dynasties, a new series produced by BBC Earth, those rules were changed. 

First, during an episode documenting Emperor Penguins mothers and their chicks, the crew watched as the animals attempted to scale an icy ravine in Antarctica. But, the icy slope proved to be too much for many of the chicks, as they kept sliding back to the bottom of the ravine. 

The crew, after watching several of the chicks die from the cold weather, decided to dig a ramp that resembled steps to make it easier for the chicks and their mothers to escape. It didn't take long for the penguins to take the crew up on their offer for help. 

One by one, the Emperor penguins and the chicks made their way out of the ravine. Without the crews help, they wouldn't have stood a chance. 

Mike Gunton, the executive producer for the BBC series told the BBC that the circumstances surrounding the crew's actions were unusual, and felt it was fine because of the many factors involved in the decision. 

"There were no animals going to suffer by intervening. It wasn't dangerous. You weren't touching the animals and it was just felt by doing this... they had the opportunity to not have to keep slipping down the slope."

But that wasn't the only time the 'Dynasties' crew interfered with their subjects. In an episode broadcast on Sunday, the crew ignited fresh controversy. 

After a family of lions in Kenya's Masai Mara ate bait laced with poison that was left out by local tribesmen who say the animals eat their cattle, one of the cubs became particularly ill. 

The crew decided to contact the reserve's management team who in turn, contacted a team of vets who rushed in to try and save the cub. 

According to an incident report from the Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit, the lions "were seen during the morning behaving strangely by a BBC crew filming them. They informed Masai Mara National Reserve Management and Governor’s Camp management, who in turn sought the veterinary unit’s help."

Sir David Attenborough defended the crew's decision while speaking with The Daily Mail on Sunday, saying they weren't interfering, as humans had been responsible for poisoning the cubs. 

He said: "What you are talking about is whether they intervened in something which involved human beings. It’s not the same as whether you should interfere with the natural processes."

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