Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sir David Attenborough filmed bat colony in Borneo while hanging 250ft in the air

  • Sir David Attenborough, 88, filmed bat colony while hanging 250ft in the air
  • Determined to carry on working despite knee replacement and pacemaker
  • Filmed the tricky shot in a cave in Borneo for new television series
  • Never wants to stop working and says has had 'good fortune' in his career

Hoisted 250ft in the air on the end of a tangle of ropes, Sir David Attenborough shows you’re never too old for a tricky camera shot.

The 88-year-old naturalist has had a knee replacement and a heart pacemaker fitted but none of that was going to stop his latest assignment – filming a huge bat colony in Borneo.

Filming Sky series Conquest of the Skies, Sir David travelled to the Gomantong cave in Borneo, home to around a million bats that emerge in a huge flock each dusk to go hunting for insects.

For this spectacular sequence, shot in 3D, he was winched up on a rope pulley and spoke to a camera fixed to a flying drone known as an ‘octocopter’.

Sir David said: ‘In the cave you can feel the pressure build as bats emerge from the depths, from up to a mile away in the blackness.

'They gather in an chamber just before the entrance and the crowd grows bigger and bigger into a huge maelstrom, almost a whirlpool of bats, wanting to get out to feed on the insects but not daring to while it’s still daylight because there are bat hawks out there.

‘Eventually one makes a break for it, and then they all go out, thousands of them, finding safety in numbers because there only about five bat hawks.’

He added: ‘I have been in the Gomantong bat cave before, but this time was a highlight: I was winched on ropes 250 feet above the cave floor, and with the octocopter in front of me, did a piece to camera with a million bats flying past on their way out of the cave to hunt.’