How many of you have been surprised with some wildlife pictures of the Nat Geo magazine or videos from the BBC? How many of you know how much time scientist and photographers spend in the wild to get those Incredibles images? Well, the story that I will describe in the next lines is one of the many stories behind science that scientist and photographers have to spend to show you the amazing world where we live.
At the beginning of 2015, I was walking in one of the trails of Barro Colorado Island (BCI) and I found a group of video-photographer of the BBC. I asked them what they were doing on BCI, they explained to me that they were staying a month on the island just with one goal, get a video of an ocelot hunting a prey. I was very surprised, and told them: well, I have five years working everyday on the island and I had seen the ocelot just twice and at night. They respond, no worry we are 10 different teams spread in different countries in the tropic trying to get the same video. At the same time, they were advised by one of the expert on ocelot behavior on BCI, Jackie Giacalone. Any video or photographs do not have sense without a good story based on scientific data. Jackie have been monitoring the ocelot population of BCI for the last 28 years, her knowledge deserve to be shared.
Being a scientist is not only be smart, have to be athletic to be able to walk long distances in the forest and even to catch a butterfly; be strong to carry all the equipment that you need in the field or dig deep in the ground looking for leaf-cutter ants; patient, to spend long hours watching the behavior of your target organism or identifying specimens; carefully to keep yourself save in the field, persistent to continue working despite everything and the most important, love your work and have fun. As a PhD student, we will spend five years of our life studying an organism, and at the end, after many months of hard work in the field, long hours in the computers and many days of stress we will present our results in a 20min talk, Yes! In 20 min we have to summarize our five years of work. Now, you can imagine how much effort and dedication is needs it to produce one hour of a documentary film.