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December 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

We have apparently come a long way from the time — more than a half century ago — when a Disney nature documentary had us believing that lemmings committed suicide en masse by hurling themselves over a cliff into the sea. (Many years later, it was revealed that the scene had been faked.) Last year, it was disclosed that a scene in David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet series showing a polar bear apparently giving birth in the wild was not photographed in the wild at all but in a Dutch zoo. The revelation set off a furor that has resulted in Attenborough being ordered to disclose such fudging in the future in order to “maintain trust and credibility,” according to a report in the BBC’s Radio Times magazine. Series producer James Honeybourne said that in Attenborough’s latest series, Africa, “controlled filming” will be identified as such. “We know that the audience wants to know, and we don’t have a problem with it. We’re not embarrassed about it, we’re absolutely proud of it,” he said. The latest series was reported film over three years and includes one sequence showing a baby turtle hatching on a beach that took three weeks to shoot. Today’s London Daily Mail reported that “cameramen risked life and limb when they climbed on top of a dead whale carcass to film 30 great white sharks feasting on it.”