From the day their eyes open and they tumble out of the den, Tiger – Spy in the Jungle captures the day-to-day lives of four tiny tiger cubs as they grow up alongside their devoted mother in the very heart of India. The tiger is not only the world’s favourite wild animal but also one of the rarest, and as David Attenborough says, “This is the most intimate portrait of tigers ever seen.”
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. Tiger – Spy in the Jungle is there every step of the way.