"Blakiston's Fish Owl" – the main premiere of this autumn on "Living Planet" TV channel
09/19/2017

All-Russian TV channel about nature "Living Planet" prepared the documentary detective "Blakiston's Fish Owl" for the audience in the new TV season. The film is about a rare bird - a fish owl that lives in the Far East. The TV crew managed to make unique video shooting of the owl's life in natural conditions for the first time.

In the eastern limits of the land, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, there is no one more mysterious than the fish owl. This southern bird has learned to survive in harsh taiga conditions. Females bravely incubate eggs in the frost of -40 degrees!
Nevertheless, this species is on the verge of extinction and included into the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Fish owls rarely bring offspring – only once in every two years. And the mortality is the same as in other birds: the younglings fall out of the nest, they are not always able to feed in the cold in winter, and predators do not slumber.

Few people saw the largest owl in nature - for its habitats, it chooses the most remote corners of the Ussuri taiga. It is very difficult to find it. Even more difficult to photograph, and quality video shooting until recently did not exist. The "Living Planet" TV channel decided to find a fish owl and show it to the whole world.

"The mission of our channel is to show the viewers the fragility of nature, its beauty and to remind that we are responsible for preserving life around us. The disappearance of species of living beings cannot be compensated for by anything! To make this obvious to everyone, we have already filmed several films about the Far Eastern leopard and the Amur tiger. Of course, the problems of the largest fish owl in the world did not leave us indifferent," – says the chief director of "Living Planet" Ilya Tsyganov.

The crew of "Living Planet" went to the deserted corners of the Far East taiga, where even local hunters do not reach.

The photographer-animalist Nikolai Zinoviev, who previously managed to find the habitat of the fish owl and make many surprisingly beautiful photographs, was invited as a consultant.

"Fish owl is a night bird and rather shy. To shoot it in the wild I had to spend almost two weeks in the shelter. When the owl finally appeared, I had goosebumps on my skin - it was so great! I want people to take a step closer to understanding how wonderful the wild nature is without the changes that a person brings to it," – says  Nikolai Zinoviev.

With the help of the ornithologist Sergei Surmach, the chief expert in the country for fish owls, two trees were found which, in theory, might be liked by the family of the owls. Nearby they placed the cameras, created shelters. At the same time, the ornithologist could not give a 100% guarantee that he would be able to catch the fish owl in the wild. Film crews spent a total of more than 40 days in the taiga - they worked both in winter and summer. It was possible to obtain unique shots of the fish owl: courtship, nesting in a severe frost, incubation, feeding and rearing a nestling.

At the beginning of work on the film, no one could have imagined that it would be necessary to look not only for a rare bird. On the eve of the next stage of filming, photographer Nikolai Zinoviev disappeared without a trace in the taiga. The best forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations joined the rescue operation. It took more than one day. As a result, the film about a rare bird turned into a detective about the searching for a photographer - these two stories were combined in one documentary "Blakiston's Fish Owl".

"I think we managed to keep the atmosphere of gambling, tragic failures, unexpected successes, taiga discoveries and dangers, in which our creative group existed for almost a year for the viewers," – says Ilya Tsyganov.

The premiere of the documentary "Blakiston's Fish Owl" will take place on the "Living Planet" TV channel on September, 23 at 10:00 and at 20:00.