An intrepid explorer makes his return in “Animals Up Close with Bertie Gregory”

Bertie Gregory, the 30-year-old explorer known for his cinematic endeavors into the wild, unveils the intricate tales of nature’s creatures in his new National Geographic series, Animals Up Close with Bertie Gregory.

Set to air on Disney+, this series seeks to portray animals not merely as species but as individual characters with their own tales, an evolution in Gregory’s approach from his prior series, Epic Adventures with Bertie Gregory.

From tracking elusive forest elephants from a man-made canopy 120 feet above the Congo Basin to observing the meticulous daily routines of a unique Patagonian puma, the challenges of wildlife filmmaking are aplenty.

Venturing to remote locales, including Antarctica, Botswana, and the Galapagos Islands, Gregory captures breathtaking moments like humpback whales disrupting killer whale hunts and sea lions defending pups against formidable sharks.

The series places emphasis on personalized animal narratives, showcasing the animals as “individuals” rather than mere species.

Gregory notes, “We don’t name the animals because it’s a Disney movie; naming helps us do our job,” as seen when following African wild dogs like Ronnie, Mally, and Ali. In another gripping segment, killer whales off Antarctica’s coast are depicted as “professional athletes,” highlighting the profound intelligence seen in their complex hunting techniques and their mentoring of their young.

Bertie Gregory sitting in the shallows looking at sea lions. (National Geographic for Disney+/Jeff Hester)

Gregory, a prodigious wildlife filmmaker, has carved a niche for himself in the realm of nature documentation with his exceptional skill and passion. Born in the UK, Gregory’s love for wildlife was evident early on. As a child, he would often wander the English countryside, capturing images of the local fauna with a borrowed camera. This early fascination transitioned into a professional pursuit as he grew older.

With a degree in Zoology and mentored by esteemed photographers, Gregory’s dedication combined with his academic insights has resulted in numerous accolades and recognition. His expertise in merging the storytelling potential of film with the unscripted drama of nature makes him a distinctive voice in wildlife filmmaking today.

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Technological advancements, such as drones, have revolutionized Gregory’s work, allowing him to offer unprecedented aerial perspectives and capture intimate moments in nature. He describes drones as the “biggest game changer,” elevating the documentation of wildlife behaviors like never before. This commitment to technological innovation springs from a deeper desire; Gregory aspires for viewers to resonate with nature’s stories, celebrating conservation successes in each episode.

Amidst the raw truths of the natural world, like the intense battles for survival, Gregory emphasizes the interconnectedness of life. He views episodes like a puma hunting down its prey as part of the intricate tapestry of nature, understanding the inherent cycle of life and death.

This deep-rooted passion for capturing the essence of the wild traces back to his youth near Reading, England. There, a young Gregory would wander into the woods, camera in hand, capturing the local wildlife and laying the foundation for his future endeavors. Through his work, he hopes to inspire others, believing in the power of imagery to ignite a collective appreciation for our planet’s wonders.

Animals Up Close with Bertie Gregory airs on Disney+.


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