Name ID 438
Newman, Owen Pride in Peril
Extract Date: 1996 February 18
BBC Wildlife Portfolio - Feb 1996
For more than 25 years, researchers from the Serengeti Lion Project, . now run by Dr Craig Packer, have recorded the details of the life and death of every lion in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater. Equivalent to a century of human history, their records reveal the decline, fall and rise of dynasties. Owen Newman filmed the life of one of these prides over seven months for The Natural World series. The resulting film, Lions - Pride in Peril, will be shown on BBC2 on 18 Feb 1966.
2000 Publishes: Newman, Owen The Crater: Africa's Predator's Paradise
Newman, Owen The Crater: Africa's Predator's Paradise
Extract Author: Rupert Smith
Extract Date: 2000 June 6
The Guardian Newspaper
In the Ngorongoro Crater in north Tanzania, there is the highest concentration of predators anywhere in the world. There must also be the highest concentration of film crews, seeing as nine out of ten nature documentaries seem to be made there. For those of us who have been watching these programmes since the 60s, the landscape of the Ngorongoro seems as familiar as Albert Square or Coronation Street. All the regular characters were on show in Owen Newman's The Natural World: Crater (BBC2), an elegant portrait of life in this ecological hot- house, where grass and water are in such plentiful supply that the huge herds of herbivores are willing to put up with the constant fear of attack.
There was nothing particularly new on show - but it was shown better, perhaps, than ever before. Two lionesses brought down a zebra in a nightmarish dance of death, the two huge cats clinging on to their victim and just waiting for it to die. Vultures dropped from the sky and thumped on to the ground all around the kill, while a serval, its giant ears twitching, stalked mice and rats among the herbiage. Newman's camera took us right to the heart of the action, whether watching a zebra licking its lips, the screen suddenly filled with black, white and pink, or dodging between the legs of lions and hyenas as they played out their daily squabbles over feeding rights. These endless skirmishes suddenly made life in the Crater seem altogether less appealing, as each gang went out on cub-killing missions - anything to lessen the competition for meat.
Pitched battles between the big strong lions and their smaller but more numerous rivals, the hyenas, had about them a certain sporting air, an impression reinforced by the hordes of tourists constantly observing the action from the safety of their jeeps, and by the apt description of the Ngorongoro as "Africa's superbowl".
Morris, Patrick (Series Producer) Wild Africa
Extract Author: Owen Newman and Amanda Barrett
Page Number: 2
Extract Date: 2001
Filmed around the Ndutu area
Nomination details from Wildlife Film Festival 2004
The night-time world is still rarely explored but with stunning images and a breath-taking sound-track, this is the story of one night in Africa. The starring role is a caracal cat that’s battling to find food for her three kittens. The bright moon is against her and some of her neighbours are dangerous. As the night unfolds, we meet other animals, many of whom have never been filmed before. There are wild cats, serval cats, lions, leopards, aardvarks and zorillas; the drama increases as our heroine tries to save her kittens from some of the most dangerous animals around.
Owen Newman & Amanda Barrett
Barrett, Amanda A cat called caracal
Extract Author: Amanda Barrett
Extract Date: Feb 2004
Film maker Amanda Barrett describes her months on the plains with the elusive caracal - the sleekest, most elegant and most catlike cat of all.
Images: Owen Newman
Over the years, Owen Newman and I had filmed cheetahs, lions, leopards, African wildcats and servals (for the first ever film of them) but never caracals. In fact, in all that time, we'd only ever seen one once - eight years ago in Zambia. It was a tantalising glimpse of black ears and almond-shaped eyes that made us hungry for more.
Eventually, it was the caracal's turn. The BBC commissioned us to make a Natural World programme starring caracals, and with the help of Ndutu Safari Lodge and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, we were able to stretch the budget to cover 10 months. We knew we'd need every day of that, and sure enough, from November to January, we had nothing but two brief glimpses of the cats.
Then one night in late January, we found one, and to our relief, got some footage. But we never saw that caracal again and, after three nights of looking, decided to go elsewhere. And there - right out on the plains, two or three kilometres from any woodland - was another one. She looked heavily pregnant and was stopping every now and then to inspect aardvark holes. We knew that if we could keep up with her for the next few weeks, we were on to a winner.
We did, and she turned out to be a star. The night we found her, we filmed her catching a stork, leaping so high to grab it that Owen could barely keep her in the frame. Our luck had turned. We then found others, and we began to see patterns in their behaviour, which made them much easier to predict.
The female had her kittens, three of them, and we filmed them suckling. Several weeks later, we found her chewing on the carcass of a stork next to an aardvark hole. As she was eating it, we all heard something coming and waited nervously. At the last minute, the kittens shot down the hole - and spotted hyenas arrived.
We'd seen leopards and even lions run from hyenas, but the caracal stood her ground. She hissed, spat and arched her back, and the hyenas kept their distance, though they did manage to grab the stork. When they'd ripped it to bits, they ran off into the darkness. The caracal waited for a second or two, then went to the kittens' hole and called with a soft meow and purr. All three tumbled out, and the mother and babies trotted off, not stopping until they were a good kilometre away.
That turned out to be the last time we ever saw the family. Maybe the female took her kittens elsewhere in case the hyenas came back. From a film-making point of view, it didn't really matter. In the time we'd spent with her and the other caracals, we'd got all the footage we needed - and had had all the excitement we could have dreamed of.
From an original article in the February 2004 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine.