The Serie National Geographic’s ‘Secrets of the Whales’, to premiere on April 22 on the occasion of the commemoration of Earth Day, it will reveal among other unknowns To what extent is the communication capacity of these great cetaceans developed? and the social structures of five species of these “ocean ambassadors.”
Produced by the filmmaker James cameron, the program will immerse viewers in deep water to verify that these large marine animals have “emotions and identity, like human beings,” explains the director and underwater photographer of National Geographic, Brian Skerry in an interview with Efe.
The team shot the episodes that make up the series for three years, which narrates the experiences of several families of killer whales, sperm whales, humpbacks, narwhals and belugas whose gestures and behavior demonstrate their sensitivity and that “can change our perception of the place where we live”, affirms this explorer.
Each episode is dedicated to a species and the killer whales star in the first, which shows how they “pass on their family hunting traditions between generations” and, just as Patagonian whales catch sea lions on the beach, New Zealand killer whales “eliminate hidden rays.”
The work, developed in twenty-four locations, describes the complexity of the relationships of these oceanic giants, revealing, for example, that belugas name each other to “keep in touch” and, thus, “the hatchlings share the distinctive sounds that their mothers ”.
The series also shows, among other things, how a female sperm whale suckles her young, the crossing of more than 30,000 humpback whales from the Australian coast to Antarctica “using the movement of their tails to talk to each other” or how a herd of belugas adopts a narwhal.
Among the anecdotes of the filming, Skerry comments on “a moment of sadness and emotion” when the team found a female orca carrying her deceased calf, “probably because the mother presented toxins in her body and passed them on to her baby while it was still in her womb”, which, in her opinion, “shows that these animals have empathy”.
He assures that behind the death of the whales “on many occasions” is human action, due to the dumping of “toxic components, chemicals and heavy metals into the ocean, as well as tons of plastic every year.”
Skerry defends the role of the oceans for human survival claiming the connection with nature, because, in his opinion, “the more we understand this, the better we will conserve and protect our planet – our lives depend on it“.
Among the most complicated moments of the shoot, Skerry points out the distance to capture these species and the inclement weather, so that, although the project lasted three years, “we could have been ten, given the daily challenges we encounter.”
For the director of the series, the task of telling stories “is in human DNA” and “acquires special relevance if those stories are based on a truthful and scientific fact” and allows “sensitivity to emerge.”
Documentaries help “create social change, generating positive results“And even” changing our behavior “and they have added value at a time when” we are inundated with information with photos and videos every day on social networks or in the media, “he adds.
The series has in its original version with the narration of the actress Sigourney Weaver and is aimed at both a general public and a family audience, since “it has endearing and unique moments”.