ITD's moose research project to become
part of National Geographic documentary

Ongoing wildlife research conducted in the Island Park area of District 6 will be part of a documentary filmed by National Geographic Television. David Hamlin, the Emmy Award-winning producer of the National Geographic Explorer series is working on a new documentary that focuses on America’s “Big 5. “

The documentary will take the idea of Africa’s Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) and turn the lens on North America. The five North American finalists include bison, wolf, grizzly bear, polar bear and moose. The National Geographic goal is to captivate the international audience and to reveal the true wonders of America’s most charismatic, emblematic and iconic creatures.

The film will tell the compelling story of these animals’ lives in North America.

National Geographic Television already has footage detailing key milestones in these species’ lives, and the intent of this filming effort is to add the unique and intimate perspective of the Big 5 animals captured up close.

The hope is to join different researchers studying a particular member of the Big 5 and capture close-up footage on a capturing and collaring operation. This would provide the unforgettable close ups needed to deliver the full appreciation of these animals, and offer unprecedented high-definition imagery for program viewers.

The up-close experience also offers viewers the opportunity to hear from scientists as they explore the biology and morphology of the spectacular creatures and the modern pressures they must endure.

This ITD-funded project is the only scientific capturing and collaring work on moose that National Geographic will film.

The research project is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will focus on the Island Park area of Eastern Idaho and U.S. 20. ITD has recruited the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Wildlife Conservation Society as research partners on the project that will continue through March 2012. Currently, 30 elk and 22 moose have been captured and received GPS collars.

National Geographic Television will have the opportunity to film some of the eight additional collars to be placed on moose if they can stay on their snow machines while hanging onto their cameras, explained Tim Cramer senior environmental planner for District 6 and project administrator.

The film will be broadcast globally on National Geographic's new channel devoted to wildlife, National Geographic, "WILD."

Published 2-11-2011