After 300 days of shooting, BBC series celebrates ‘Wild Mexico’

Bats Volcano in Calakmul, Campeche, and a toucan captured by Barrie Britton on "Wild Mexico."
Bats Volcano in Calakmul, Campeche, and a toucan captured by Barrie Britton on “Wild Mexico.”

From Mexico, television usually projects its gastronomy, its pre-Columbian glory and its colonial history.

Less frequent are any mentions of Mexico’s natural settings. That changes with the BBC’s Natural History Unit and “Wild Mexico,” Valentina Boeta Madera writes in Diario de Yucatán.

The series of three hour-long episodes, which aired in Britain this past May, will air in Latin America the second half of this year.

“Yucatan is a popular vacation destination, but I hope our documentary shows that there is much more than that and it is full of secrets: from the ancient civilizations that formed the vast jungles and all its fauna to the hidden aquatic underworld that interconnects throughout the Peninsula and the destructive but revitalizing rains that help to replenish it seasonally,” BBC producer Patrick Morris told Diario.

The series portrays “some of the most attractive destinations on Earth” such as the Galapagos Islands, Yellowstone Park, Madagascar and Patagonia, “documenting its wildlife, geology, climate and culture to give our audience a complete understanding of the nature of these places.”

“Mexico was full of incredible stories, some of which have not been told before, and rich in color and culture.”

The first episode, “Worlds of the Mountain,” focuses on the Sierra Madre, home of black bears, orchids, quetzales and monarch butterflies.

The second, “The Mayan Woods,” continues the journey through Yucatán. “We travel through the seasons and discover that the jungle is full of secrets, with bodies of groundwater still being explored that hold the key to how animals and people survive the driest months of the year,” said Morris.

In the final installment, “Burning North,” the challenges to the life in the deserts of Sonora and Chihuahua are exposed. “The forces that have created this arid world are unraveled and it is shown that for the animals that live here, from prairie dogs and pygmy owls to rare falcons, to overcome these conditions can bring rewards.”

On the Peninsula, the BBC team recorded in the biosphere reserves of Calakmul and Rio Lagartos, Valladolid and cenotes of Quintana Roo, to which it returned at different times of the year. “We looked for places that would provide the most emblematic landscapes, such as Mayan archaeological ruins, but also where we could capture stories of animals and people.”

“This required connecting with a huge network of scientists, both national and international, and wildlife tourism groups who could help us identify the right places and times to film,” he said.

“These films also thrive thanks to the stories of the main characters that are revealed through the episode, which show intimate stories and natural shows. A great example is the Volcán de los Murciélagos in Calakmul, from where up to three million bats emerge each night to feed on insects. … Ensuring that we had the right mix of stories and locations was crucial.”

The producer is sure there will be new recordings for the “Wild” series in the country because “we received a warm welcome and worked with excellent scientists, cinematographers, field guides and location managers, shooting in 20 states for almost 300 days.”

Source: Diario de Yucatán

Staff Writer

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