I rarely watch movies, and when it happens chances are it is a wild life documentary genre. I was always fascinated with all the camera work, scene composition and music that are put together into a coherent story. A perfect example of what I mean is Snow Chick movie that tells a story about a little penguin’s life. When I was watching, I often caught myself on thoughts of how were those camera views captured, and how did they manage to build so much drama around it that is understandable from a humans view point.
From my observations, wild nature movies always follow similar patterns: it is all about struggle and survival. Whether it is a parent who is raising their children, or a carnivore - herbivore relationships where each finds its own ways to survive, or about mating strategies which are another means of species survival.
Yet I feel there is one topic that is left under-represented in all of the documentaries - death. Here I am not talking about death of an antelope from a lion, but rather natural death that is not caused by other creatures including human poaching.
There are certain species of animals that are most likely to be killed by predators like aforementioned antelopes, but there are also others - like elephants, gorillas, bears, whales, lions, birds - that have a high likelihood to experience death in its natural form. Those animals who do not have natural enemies, or whose natural habitat is a difficult-to-reach environment for predators.
Whenever I watch yet another documentary, it is always shown how a little baby animal is born, raised and became an adult to commence its own parent life. The circle repeats. However, there is no word about how the life ends for that animal. And it is a pity. As a human beings, we have little knowledge about how it happens.
For humans who live in modern world, it is less likely to experience the death in its natural form. We have hospitals, drugs and other means of care. We are able to suppress pain and prolong our lives with help of science and mechanical tools. When thinking about it, I get curious - how is it on another side for those who take their deaths naturally?
I wish there was a documentary that would expose exactly this. That would show emotional sides of death through animals’ eyes and feelings. As an example, take elephants. If they are not poached, they can reach quite mature age. I wonder how do they die? Do they feel they are about to die? Do they struggle psychologically? Unfortyunately, those aspects are never covered.
Meeting the death can be different for different species. I imagine orcas die differently from elephants. At least due to their different environments, but also, probably, due to the social structures of their species. There are also human beings who meet their deaths naturally - tribal and indigenous people who live far away from civilization. I never knew how it happens for them, either.
Nowadays documentaries are great. With the current technology, it is now possible to look inside the physical and emotional worlds of different animals around the world. In my opinion, the picture still remains incomplete: not because we cannot see certain secrets and difficult to reach species, but because of the lack of end-of-circle evidence. The missing element is the natural death and how it is happening for different species. I wish there was a documentary that would cover just that. Hopefully, in the future?