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Ocean Explorer Patrick Dykstra and Sperm Whale Expert, Dr. Shane Gero, Capture Extraordinary Sperm Whale Predation Footage During Animal Planet Expedition For Upcoming Series CHASING OCEAN GIANTS (WT)

March 22, 2019

Contact - Katherine Wilkins


For decades scientists and natural history filmmakers have attempted to capture footage of Sperm whales, the largest predator to ever roam the earth, hunting in the deepest depths of the ocean. Despite many attempts, until now, only tantalizing glimpses of this legendary behavior have been recorded. But now for the first time ever footage of an entire 40-minute hunting dive on the back of a sperm whale has been filmed using brand new technology. Animal Planet filmed groundbreaking imagery below the waters of Dominica during a three-week expedition in Feb. 2019 for the upcoming series, CHASING OCEAN GIANTS (working title), which premieres in 2020. World-renowned explorer and series lead Patrick Dykstra and Dr. Shane Gero, one of the world’s leading authorities on Sperm whales, captured extraordinary footage of a sperm whale hunting at depths of over 2000 feet.

Sperm whale hunting activity in the deep, dark ocean has always been a mystery. What scientists did know is that sperm whales use sophisticated sonar to communicate and to hunt, using an elaborate system of clicks when finding food. Scientists have decoded sound recordings and have identified the specific click pattern whales use as they hunt.

The footage from Animal Planet’s expedition showcases an adult female and calf at the water’s surface as they bump into each other to communicate and signal their bond before the adult whale descends to hunt for food. As she is immersed in total darkness, the water pressure triggered the light on a specially designed camera. The footage records the whale’s echo locating – slow clicks – as she navigates in the darkness and as the click patterns increase, scientists know this is the moment when the sperm whale has located squid   and the chase begins. In the Animal Planet footage, the whale’s head jerks and suddenly a plume of what is thought to be squid ink and guts, flies past the camera. This behavior is repeated several times before the adult whale heads back to the surface to reunite with the calf, showcasing a sperm whale hunting at depth.

To catch the animal's majestic power while hunting prey, the crew utilized the latest techniques and technology, including lighter cameras to attach to the sperm whales during full dive cycles. The Animal Planet team worked with CATS (a specialist camera company) to design and build miniature lights that work under intense pressure and fit within the tiny camera housing, triggered by darkness and depth which allowed the team to capture this footage.

About Animal Planet  

Animal Planet, one of Discovery, Inc.’s great global brands, is dedicated to creating high quality content with global appeal delivering on its mission to keep the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way. Available to 360 million homes in more than 205 countries and territories, Animal Planet combines content that explores the undeniable bonds forged between animals and humans, optimized across all screens around the world. In the U.S., Animal Planet audiences can enjoy their favorite programming anytime, anywhere through the Animal Planet Go app which features live and on-demand access. For more information, please visit

About Discovery Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of superfans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and nearly 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player and MotorTrend OnDemand; digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media and a strategic alliance with PGA TOUR to create the international home of golf. Discovery's portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.