Smile you're on ele-vision: How a camera attached to an elephant's trunk captured amazing jungle views
By OLINKA KOSTER and NIGEL BLUNDELL -

We revealed the amazing story of how four tiger cubs were captured on special cameras in logs carried by elephants - giving the most intimate insight into their early lives ever recorded.

Now, we show for the first time other creatures of the jungle caught in this extraordinary - and pioneering - way.

Cheeky langur monkeys, a rare sloth bear, spotted deer and a leopard with her cub are just some of the other animals that film-maker John Downer came across in his fascinating experiment.

He fixed webcams to four elephants. One carried a "trunk-cam" - a device resembling a huge log concealing a camera which could be held in its trunk and dangled close to the ground.

Another had a "tusk-cam" hooked over its tusk. The elephants moved so steadily that the images are pin-sharp. Other log-cams were left on the forest floor.

The high-definition cameras were created by inventor Geoff Bell for a documentary in the remote Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh in the heart of India.

Downer used them to record the first two years of the cubs' lives.

Along the way, images of other animals were captured by chance - or when the otherwise camera-shy creatures investigated the equipment.

Downer said he came up with the idea three years ago when his team started filming the tigers.

He noticed how gently the forest elephants carried firewood to their camp and wondered if they'd be as delicate with a camera.

"And they were," he enthused. "Elephants do not see tigers as a threat, and tigers are comfortable with elephants. So we had the perfect team."

The langur monkeys in the reserve provide fascinating pictures as they became transfixed by their reflections in the log-cams.

The footage also resulted in incredible close-ups of jackals, boars and birds. Such access to wildlife usually eludes visitors.

But, explained Downer: "Elephants are natural inhabitants of the reserve, so the tigers aren't fazed at all by them. Eventually, they realise that we humans are no risk either.

"So we became, effectively, invisible - filming one of the world's most beautiful creatures in a way no one has ever done before."


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