Japanese filmmakers enlist ELA’s services for wildlife documentary

Tuesday, 21 June, 2016

Eco Logical Australia was recently called upon to assist with an international wildlife documentary. Not for our acting skills unfortunately but for our nocturnal marsupial locating expertise. We were contacted by a group of Japanese wildlife documentary makers who were producing a film on gliders and wanted to capture these Australian natives doing their thing. Our Senior Ecologist Ryan Smithers (pictured right) from ELA’s Narooma office was enlisted as location scout and glider talent recruiter.


Having spent a lot of time doing eco assessments in glider hotspot areas around the NSW south coast, Ryan was able to help the directors find the best location, a site in Broulee near Batemans Bay.

Pre-filming Ryan located den sites and key sap feeding trees to track down the graceful creatures. This wasn’t too difficult, the area was crawling with Yellow-bellied Gilders, Greater Gliders, Sugar Gilders and Feather-tail Gliders. It was easy to see why there is an abundance of the native fauna. The site was spectacular with expansive old-growth forests and also included a huge spotted gum with a sea eagles nest. On the down side this made locating dens more difficult, as the gliders were spoilt for choice.

Ryan also educated the filmmakers on glider behaviour and after filming all night for a month on this site they were able to capture some fantastic footage, with the cute critters coming in and out of a den, sap feeding, gliding here and there and traversing a busy local road which crosses their home range. In the soundtrack you can also hear them calling. The video above features footage from the documentary showing Yellow Bellied Gliders free-falling from tree to tree – they are the original wing-suit extreme artists! The docco has now aired in Japan and the stars of the show, our Aussie gliders were very well received.