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Biggest and Baddest:Production Blog. Six-part series for Discovery Channel International and Animal Planet Canada staring biologist-explorer Niall McCann

BIGGEST AND BADDEST- SEASON ONE- WRAPS UP IN AUSTRALIA!

We’ve had an amazing time here in Australia…traveling from the dripping wet, misty rainforests of Northern Queensland in pursuit of the “world’s most dangerous bird”- the Cassowary and finishing up in Northern Territory- home to the largest reptile on earth, the Saltwater Crocodile…

Niall McCann joined scientist and croc capture expert Charlie Manolis on his survey of giant crocs on the Mary River- home to the largest concentration of big “Salties” in the world.   The river did not disappoint and Niall and the film crew had some all too close encounters with Big Crocs, who came out with increasing numbers as the “tidal” river sank, leaving us at times, high and dry on the sand bars and mud banks, with crocs all around.

So the Biggest and Baddest Season One has now wrapped and the crew went for a well-deserved night on the town in Darwin…maybe one of the “remotest” large cities in the world- located in Australia’s far north.

Post Production goes into full swing, and we are all extremely excited with the footage we have- much of it unique and always providing exciting edge of your seat action…Niall McCann goes where few would dare to tred…we’re all looking forward to Season Two! :-)
Director- Peter von Puttkamer

 

 

Biggest and Baddest- Australia- Saltwater Crocs

We’re in the final week of shooting in Australia, that started in Queensland with Cassowary Birds and ended up with the largest reptiles on earth- Saltwater Crocs in Northern Territory.  There are signs everywhere not to go anywhere near the water- you are pulled back if you are within 5  meters (15-17 ft) of the edge of the billabongs (forest pools), rivers, streams, etc…Big Crocs can leap out at amazing speeds and get you.  We’ve had a chance to have some pretty in-your-face encounters with them- including at a CROC farm where giant 4.5 meter crocs threw themselves at fences, breaking teeth to get to us…and recently out on the water on the Mary River: home to the greatest number of large Saltwater Crocs in the world.  Then the film crew’s boat got stuck on a sandbar…as the tide sucked the river waters back towards the sea and the we had to get out and walk through croc infested waters- what a crazy experience- very scary.   For this episode  Niall has been working with Charlie Manolis- leading Saltwater Croc scientist, in capturing big ones.  Final show for Season One will be in the can soon…editing will continue throughout the year:  stay tuned for episodes beginning to air at end of 2012- early 2013.

Biggest and Baddest- AUSTRALIA- SALTIES

We’ve had an amazing  couple of first days in Northern Territory- setting up CROC TRAPS on a Cattle Station, where local ranchers have been having CROCS attacking their livestock.  We’ve setup some camera traps and hope to get a shot of a “Big one” in the cage…and then perhaps Niall McCann will help remove the giant beast from the trap.  We’ve met the best Crocodile experts in the world here today- and they’re steering Niall and the crew up to the Mary River home to the largest concentration of BIG SALTWATER CROCS.   Once there, Niall will work with a local team to capture a massive Croc, perhaps 4 or 5 meters long weighing over 500 or 600 kg and bringing it into the boat for satellite tagging. With shoots going on in the daytime and nightime- there will no doubt be some harrowing and spine-chilling experiences bringing one of these monsters in…stay tuned!

AUSTRALIA- Saltwater Crocs and Cassowary Birds

I can’t believe we’re down to shooting our last 2 shows for this season of Biggest and Baddest.  It’s been an amazing adventure so far: each trip is more than just a “film shoot”- it’s a life changing experience that tests our bodies, minds and “balls” to the limit.  Giant Elephants, Tigers, Hogs and Snakes.   How far into the forest are you willing to go- with marauding Wild Elephants nearby, or fierce 400 lb Wild Feral Hogs on the loose: apparently quite far- especially our intrepid explorer/adventurer biologist host- Niall McCann who has taken on the toughest environments nature has to offer and, well cut through it, caught the biggest and baddest or faced it down- staring down ferocious teeth, tusks, claws and crushing coils.  Now we’re off to Australia to chase down stories of the largest Crocodiles ever seen and see what’s really out there; to tell the story of the world’s most dangerous bird – 2 meters high and 80 kg: but also incredibly fragile and endangered in the face of the forest habitat loss due to human encroachment and Cyclones which batter the north-east coast of Australia.  We have the best experts on Salty Crocs and Cassowaries lined up to take us in…and we’re looking forward to another incredible adventure- in the dark green jungles that still line the coast, near the Great Barrier Reef and in the wet mangrove swamps of Northern Territory where the fiercest and largest crocodiles on the planet, still live!   Hope to update this from the road as we go…

Final Days of Production in Nepal

We are closing in on the final days of production here in Nepal. It’s been a roller coaster ride- the latest exploits involve chasing dangerous wild elephants through the forests and grasslands. They’re elusive, quiet, smart and basically- the largest of their kind in the world.  We love this story because Asian elephants are endangered worldwide and we’re out to find the biggest and rarest ones in this remote part of Nepal…pointing to the need for preservation of animals we barely know anything about. With shrinking habitat, lately they’ve been attacking villages in search of grain;   and occasionally us! We go out tomorrow for more  signs of the giants! Niall McCann, the star of Biggest and Baddest has been doing an incredible job and is using his amazing athletic ability and knowledge as  biologist- to get close and stay out of harms way…

Hunt for Big Tigers and Wild Elephants in Nepal

Hunt for big tigers and wild elephants in Nepal is just an amazing experience – riding elephants though the jungle with tigers underfoot is a tense and sometimes scary experience. Beyond the challenges of filming off elephant  back- bathroom breaks take on a whole new urgency when you have to dismount in tiger country and use a nearby bush. These animals are powerful and can emerge just about anywhere – we have multiple cameras going to capture the whole experience. Then there’s the amazing adventure of finding the worlds largest and most ancient looking Asian elephant. Giant rhinos are aggressive and may emerge out of the bush anywhere – they will triple and bite you badly – we must  ever under estimate the 5000 to 7000 lb Asian rhinos- while  walking on narrow jungle trails enclosed in bushes.

Surprisingly cold at night – we are amazed these big exotic animals can function at 4 degrees c. Big pythons are also here and our star- explorer biologist Niall McCann will investigate up close !
That’s all for now!

– Peter

Greetings from the jungle in Nepal

We’ve spent a week crossing Nepal and now filming in Bardia National Park where every sort of Big and Bad animal lurk…several on the brink of extinction unfortunately. We’ve had some close and visceral encounters with the wildlife- gets your heart pounding! Extreme temperatures here, from 3 degrees C at night to 20’s in the daytime. We are riding elephants every day and sighting animals- some of the largest and most dangerous in the world. The Tiger definitely has our attention. Here for another 3 wks or so! Biggest and Baddest series is well underway! More from the jungle soon…

Gryphon Productions crew is packed and ready for Nepal.

Gryphon Productions crew is packed and ready to leave on another grand adventure- perhaps the grandest of all- beginning in Nepal. We’re beginning production on a six-part series for Discovery Channel International and Animal Planet Canada called Biggest and Baddest. It stars biologist-explorer Niall McCann who was the star of our Lost in the Amazon show. Niall will travel the world- from Nepal to Guyana, Australia and USA searching for legendary giant animals- from the biggest wild elephants to the longest anacondas. We’ll be blogging in from time to time, so stay tuned.