12.7.10

Jungle Driving


It’s 35 degrees with sweltering humidity and we’re deep in the Sri Lankan jungle. Our car is completely blacked out with hardly any visible lights other than the glow of our camera monitors. Infra red lights illuminate the road for our driver as we bounce down the forest track, scanning bushes and clearings for the most elusive of cats. It’s all very covert sounding but I fear our extremely loud car engine may give our presence away. We’re riding in a Ta Ta, one of India’s largest car manufacturers but sadly for us, it’s also the loudest.



Our standard covert approach is something like – Brum Brum Brum, “What’s that!?”, Brum Brum Brum, “STOP THE CAR!!”, screeeetch! “Turn Right”, Brum Brum Brum, “STOP THERE!”, BRUM! “Shhhhhhhhhhh!”



Not exactly a subtle entrance.



Despite the engine noise we’re nearly a week into our trip and every night is providing new insights into this amazing place. We’re looking for leopards as part of a new night series recently commissioned by National Geographic. With the new series comes a new member of the night team, our very own Howard Bourne, cameraman, engineer, kit guru and photographer. This is Howard’s first night assignment but it’s going to be a busy year filming so expect to see more of him and the night car over the next few months.


I’m afraid you may have to wait till next year to see if we’re successful in filming these stunning big cats but check back here for updates.

Tom Stephens

4 comments:

xl said...

"Film Crew" on the shirt. No wonder you're having trouble sneaking up on them!

ammonite said...

It's ok I don't think leopards can read English - pangolins can though - we never see them

Madame DeFarge said...

Expect a noise abatement order to be slapped on you any moment.

Deborah Pipes said...

i have never seen so much "hate" (or challenge) in a wild animal's eyes compared to the male leopard in a zoo....
it was enough to make one afraid, very afraid, behind secure walls...