National Geographic premieres first digital series, ‘wild_life,’ online Aug. 10 | SummitDaily.com

National Geographic premieres first digital series, ‘wild_life,’ online Aug. 10

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

It's time for the next generation of adventurers to encounter nature the way they know best: online.

Nat Geo Wild, the storied publication's content network for all things animals, launches its first-ever digital series, "wild_life with Bertie Gregory." The first episode of the 16-part series premieres for free Aug. 3 (as in today) on the network's YouTube channel and through http://www.nationalgeographic.com.

At the series helm is 22-year-old wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory. Like so many Nat Geo hopefuls, he's been obsessed with wildlife since childhood, when he would sneak off to take photos of the local wildlife.

In just two short decades, he's been named a National Geographic Young Explorer and is currently on assignment with his mentor, renowned National Geographic photographer Steve Winter.

"This series is as much about the adventure to get the shot as it is about the shot itself," Gregory said about the first episode at Vancouver Island. "I'm taking viewers into the wild and getting up close and personal with Canada's sexiest coastal predators. The camera is always rolling. It's raw. It's real. It's intimate. And I'm excited to be a part of Nat Geo WILD's first venture into the digital space."

Over the course of 16 episodes, Gregory finds that tracking his animal co-stars proves harder than expected — but he's not giving up. Each episode features Gregory's encounters with epic animals, including humpback whales, bald eagles and black bears. He occasionally gets closer than anticipated, as he must untangle himself from a few sticky situations, like ending up with his head in the jaws of a playful 2,000-pound sea lion.

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A preview of the first five episodes:

'Welcome to Vancouver Island' — Aug. 3

Gregory heads to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where he prepares to spend three months in the wild filming the epic animals that call this place home. While he's hoping to come across the many awesome species that inhabit this coastline, his main goal is to catch a glimpse of the island's elusive coastal wolves.

'Finding a Flippin' Bear' — Aug. 10

While looking for signs of coastal wolves, Gregory stumbles across some rather odd behavior — a male black bear flipping massive rocks along the coastline. H soon realizes that this clever bear has figured out a way to score an easy meal: Underneath each rock are tasty crabs.

'Bald Eagles' — Aug. 17

Gregory encounters one of the most majestic birds of prey — the bald eagle. Bald eagles might be America's de facto mascot, but they also have a secret talent: snatching fish from the open waters. These skilled hunters have vision about five times sharper than our own and can reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour when diving for their prey. Gregory gets up close and personal with the predators as they show off their lightning-fast hunting skills.

'Hide and Seek' — Aug. 24

After weeks of roaming around the pristine landscape of Vancouver Island in search of the mysterious coastal wolves, Gregory is trying a different method: a week in a wilderness blind. The ghostlike wolves elude Bertie yet again, but his time is well spent as he spots everything from herons to barred owls.

'Searching for Sea Otters' — Aug. 31

Gregory has spotted mischievous sea otters playing in the kelp forests offshore. The only trick now is getting to them. During low tide, Bertie sneaks out past the tidal pools to watch the otters play in the surf. These otters are a welcome sight, as the fur trade once nearly drove them to extinction on Vancouver Island.