THE GREAT APES
How do you film wild animals without disturbing their natural behavior?
When my friend Zoe Lohmann and I participated in a video residency at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on the island of Jersey in the UK, we immediately noticed that the gorillas and orang-utans at their wildlife park became guarded and suspicious as soon as the big scary camera came out.
With the help of Jon Stark, one of the ape experts at Durrell, we came up with a solution to the problem. We bolted my GoPro camera into a Pelican Case filled with raisins, with a hole cut out for the lens, and threw it into the apes' enclosures.
Both species began playing with the camera, trying to access the food, but as you'll see from the videos, they had very different behaviors. The silverback gorilla hogged the raisins until he grew bored, then passed it to one of the females, and then at the very end the child played with it on his own. Meanwhile, one of the orang-utan moms took off onto her obstacle course with the box and her daughter in tow, resulting in this beautiful point-of-view footage of a baby orang’s face and her mother’s hands while climbing.
Click here to learn more about Durrell. And of course, watch this other video we did, below!