Just ahead of the upcoming Earth Day, National Geographic has released a preview of next year’s instalment of the Emmy Award-winning “Secrets Of” franchise, called “Secrets Of The Penguins”, which will be released on Disney+ in April 2025. 

The preview shows some footage filmed on location at Atka Bay on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica and shows, for the first time ever, over approximately 700 emperor penguin chicks on their first trip from the colony to the ocean only to find a 50-foot drop-off a cliff blocking their path. In a stunning turn of events, the chicks began to leap from the summit, smashing into the icy ocean waters below – completely unscathed. This spectacular, heart-stopping moment has been witnessed by scientists before, but this is the first time the rare behaviour has been filmed for television.

The footage was filmed by BAFTA Award-winning cinematographer Bertie Gregory, who is the star of the Disney+ Original series, “Animals Up Close With Bertie Gregory”.

Check out the preview footage below:

In January every year, a new generation of emperor penguin chicks leave their colony for the first time and travel to the ocean to take their very first swim. This is a rite of passage known as fledging. Emperor penguins usually breed and raise their chicks on sea ice which forms around the Antarctic continent every winter and breaks up every spring. When the chicks are around 5 months old, they lose their baby feathers and travel to the sea where they take their first swim – normally entering the water from a height of about 1-2 feet.

However, since the advent of high-res satellite imagery, scientists have been aware that some emperor colonies were breeding and raising their chicks high up on the permanent ice shelves, but it’s never been confirmed just how these colonies descended the precipitous ice shelves–until now.

Through the harnessing of new technology and pushing the boundaries of polar filming, Bertie utilized a newly released camera drone equipped with a telephoto lens, allowing him to capture animal behaviour from the air like never before without disrupting or impacting the penguins.
Filming the fledging of emperor penguins presented a unique set of challenges as the passage only takes place when the sea ice reaches its most unstable time of the year. Bertie and his team took every measure to ensure the safety of the crew and wildlife by assembling a world-class safety team.

The first two installments in the “Secrets Of” franchise, “Secrets Of The Elephants” and “Secrets Of The Whales,” are now available to stream on Disney+. The next instalment, “Secrets Of The Octopus,” will be released on Disney+ on Monday, 22nd April 2024, this year’s Earth Day.

Are you looking forward to watching “Secrets Of The Penguins”?  Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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