Tiger Eye: Up Close and Personal

Tiger Eye: Up Close and Personal

A celebrated wildlife photographer designs and uses motion-sensitive cameras to capture Bengal tigers in their natural habitat. (National Geographic)

There are only five kinds of tigers left on the planet, down from eight just a century ago. When tigers and humans meet, the results are often deadly for one or the other.

Over the last 100 years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 2,500. Tigers are hunted as trophies, and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. All five remaining tiger subspecies are endangered.

Celebrated wildlife photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols has a special reverence for the big cats, and hopes that by showing the world the power and majesty of these beasts, he can build enough political will to protect them.

To capture them on film, he and his assistant, Roy Toft, painstakingly set up a series of self-designed still and video “camera traps” in a national park in India. The cameras are triggered in the absence of humans, when a tiger trips a strategically positioned invisible infrared beam. In essence, the tigers are unwittingly taking their own pictures — rare images of an increasingly rare creature. This National Geographic video documents the human ingenuity, artistry, and sweat that goes into safely and unobtrusively procuring them.

CHANNEL: National Geographic

Length: 6:37