Are you afraid of the Dark? If so, the creepy-crawlies and magnificent beasts in the BBC’s new series The Dark: Nature’s Night-time World might be a little too much to bear. Hi-tech thermal imaging and infrared cameras treated the audience to some incredibly rare Central American sights including slow-motion footage of net-casting spiders and never-before-seen behaviour of wild jaguars.
All images courtesy of Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates, and Turtles Conservation Project
What makes the programme more amazing though is that the biologists shared some of the sights recently seen last week on Frontier’s very own Costa Rica project site. Staff and volunteers on the Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates and Turtles Conservation Project saw the elusive Ocelote as well as catching a sneaking Puma on a camera trap only 10 minutes away from the camp! Check out the first installment of our brand new 'Caught on Camera' feature for more details.
Volunteers better watch out then, as just like the programmes big cat specialist Justine Evans who comes within a metre of a jaguar prowling alongside her camouflaged hide, they’ll be shaking with the adrenaline of coming so close to one of the jungle’s ruling elite.
The team is lead by former Oxford entomologist, Dr George ‘my-real-passion-is-insects-and-spiders’ McGavin, who introduces us to some of an arachnophobic’s worst nightmares. Most disturbing is the trapdoor spider who lays its whole life in wait of prey on the other side of its self-made trapdoor, enclosed in the pitch black of a silk lined tube, before leaping out and devouring its prey all in the split of a second.
From forest floor to the canopy capers, the programme follows a whole range of nocturnal predators and tries to understand how the animals have adapted to life in the dark. The one ton of equipment hauled out to Central America, which includes a specially made, one-of-a-kind £60,000 camera, has only just reached the sophisticated level of filming seen on The Dark. This means viewers are able to see nocturnal wildlife in a whole new light as the thermal imaging shows the jungle's inhabitants eerily illuminated as though glowing from within.
Catch up now on BBC iPlayer and get inspired for your own conservation adventure in Costa Rica. Watch out for episode two this Sunday, BBC Two at 9pm, when the team head into the heart of the Amazon rainforest and find exciting new species in never before explored caves.
By Maria Sowter