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Sir David Attenborough Won't Let TV Crews Save Dying Animals For This Reason

Emma Rosemurgey

| Last updated 

Sir David Attenborough Won't Let TV Crews Save Dying Animals For This Reason

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

During the filming of Sir David Attenborough's Dynasties, the TV crew were forced to watch a chimpanzee die after it was viciously attacked by a rival group.

However, while filming the landmark series, which focuses on chimpanzees, Emperor penguins, lions, painted wolves and tigers, the crew were able to help save a band of newly-hatched Emperor penguins who found themselves trapped in an icy ravine.

The Antartica camera crew managed to cut 'stairs' into the ravine to allow the mother penguin to pull herself and her babies to safety.


But, as most Sir David Attenborough fans will already know, the presenter has a rule that his crews must not interfere with nature.

Speaking at the launch of the series, executive producer, Michael Gunton, said: "We have a rule that interfering is a very dangerous thing to do. But these penguins were going to die through a freak act of nature if nothing happened.

"How would this conversation be going if you said you saw them there and did nothing? I think you have to do it."

Credit: BBC
Credit: BBC

But, why did the crew break Sir David's rule for the penguins but not for the chimpanzees?

Well, Attenborough explained that "tragedy is part of life" and to do anything other than watch will only make the situation worse.

He then referred to a wildebeest calf being chased by a leopard, and said: "What do you do? Suppose you did something that frightened the leopard off, the fawn would be disorientated and would probably not even be able to find its way home, so it is likely to die.

"The leopard would go off and have to find another fawn and it is likely to have problems with its cubs."

Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

The documentary-maker recalled the 'absolutely agonising' time he was forced to watch a mum and baby elephant dying of thirst, but he chose not to step in and give them water.

"All you're doing is prolonging the death. So you make things infinitely worse. All you can do there is watch tragedy," he explained.

"Tragedy is part of life and you have to show it. You can't have sunshine throughout your life. And to have done anything else would only have made matters worse and distort the truth."

Topics: TV News, david attenborough, TV Entertainment

Emma Rosemurgey
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