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Tales from the wild

'We worked with a lot of Inuit, and when we first began filming they wanted to tie a rope around [cameraman Adam Ravetch] while he was shooting underwater. When I asked why, they said that was the only way we would get his body back. They told us that walruses can hold a man in his flippers and suck his brains out. We thought that was myth, but when we looked into it, there are walruses in the northern arctic who are known to eat seals. And that's what they do, they hold them in their flippers, puncture a hole in their head and suck their brains out.'
July 1, 2007

‘We worked with a lot of Inuit, and when we first began filming they wanted to tie a rope around [cameraman Adam Ravetch] while he was shooting underwater. When I asked why, they said that was the only way we would get his body back. They told us that walruses can hold a man in his flippers and suck his brains out. We thought that was myth, but when we looked into it, there are walruses in the northern arctic who are known to eat seals. And that’s what they do, they hold them in their flippers, puncture a hole in their head and suck their brains out.’
Sarah Robertson, writer and wildlife filmmaker (currently in production with a feature on walruses) at Arctic Bear Productions in Victoria, Canada

‘I was filming hippos with the Jouberts and before heading into the hippo pond, Beverly told me, ‘When the hippo charges, don’t run.’ I locked onto the word ‘when.’ I hadn’t been working for Nat Geo for long and didn’t have much experience, but I knew that to survive I didn’t have to outrun these big animals, I just had to be faster than the person I was with. I stood my ground after a few charges and then Beverly says, ‘Okay, we’re in a great position.’ We’re knee deep in hippo dung in the middle of Botswana with 40 hippos who don’t want us here and we’re in a great position? ‘See,’ she answered, ‘you’re relaxed already – you’ve forgotten about the crocodiles.”
Boyd Matson, host of Wild Chronicles

‘On every single shoot, on day two or three, I think: This is it, I’m out. I’m going back to Discovery and quitting.’
Les Stroud, host and producer of Discovery Channel’s Survivorman series

When asked by moderator Boyd Matson if there was any pressure to take risks for great film, the group offered interesting responses:

‘It’s critical to have people around you that know what they’re doing. I’ve had production companies book me for a dive and then have me flying out the next day. I have to call them up and say, ‘If I do this, I can die.”
Philippe Cousteau, president of EarthEcho International

‘There can be a sense of artificial adventure. You can drive to most of these archeological sites, but producers often cook up these ideas to make it fun for the viewer, such as parachuting in, or riding in on the back of a camel.’
Josh Bernstein, host and producer of specials and series focusing on subjects from anthropology and archeology to environmental issues for Discovery Channel

‘You have to be able to look at a network executive in the face and say, ‘No, that’s stupid.”
Les Stroud, host and producer of Discovery Channel’s Survivorman series

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