The BBC is currently screening the new Frozen Planet II series and released a video that shows the camera team spending a month trying to find the world’s most elusive big cat: a snow leopard.
Often the main challenge with wildlife photography and filmmaking is finding the wildlife itself. And a holy grail for any cameraperson is capturing a snow leopard.
The above video was filmed in the Tibetan plateau, sometimes called “the roof of the world,” as it averages 4,500 feet above sea level. The BBC’s film crew headed to the vast wilderness where the elusive predator makes its home.
“So we’ve just met the scientists who are based here, and they’ve been here for three months and they’ve seen one snow leopard, which was two miles away. So that was a slightly sobering piece of news,” camera operator Barrie Britton says as he arrives.
However, despite this daunting information the film crew somehow spotted a snow leopard on the first day, but very far away.
But, the early success turned out to be beginner’s luck as the crew did not spot one again for another four weeks.
“I’ve spent the last month trying to film a rock-colored cat among a mountain range of cat-colored rocks,” says camera operator Sam Meyrick.
However, the crew noticed signs of the big cat’s presence, such as pawprints in the snow. And the crew’s camera traps filmed footage of the beasts.
And finally, after more than a month, the crew happened upon a snow leopard with an animal carcass and with it, some interesting behavior.
The area is filled with opportunist scavengers, such as vultures, meaning the leopard has to constantly guard its kills, or else it is consumed by a flock of vultures.
Frozen Planet Series Breaking Ground
Last month, PetaPixel reported on the Frozen Planet II series that featured an incredible Orca hunt where the killer whales “wave-washed” a seal from a sheet of ice that was filmed with drones for a never-before-seen perspective.
Leopards are notoriously difficult to spot; PetaPixel’s report on one in India that was fiendishly difficult to spot puzzled millions of readers.