Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
S34 Ep15

Nature's Perfect Partners

Premiere: 5/11/2016 | NR

"Nature’s Perfect Partners" travels around the world to profile an array of animals who have joined forces.

About the Episode

It won’t come as any surprise that survival is the number one goal in the animal kingdom. But to ensure success on a continual basis, many creatures have opted to form alliances rather than go it alone. There are all kinds of partnerships to fulfill different needs, but as this film explains, these relationships are not only between animals of the same species. What is really astonishing is that completely unrelated species also form unlikely collaborations to succeed in the wild. Nature’s Perfect Partners travels around the world to profile an array of such animals who have joined forces.

The program offers examples of how partnerships between unrelated species, such as lions and lizards, work. Although they can be a lion’s food source, lizards feed on the constant flies buzzing around the lions as they try to nap after a hearty meal of wildebeest. It is a win-win situation for both: the lizards feast on flies while the lions get an undisturbed siesta. In another segment, providing protection is what the goby, a small warm water fish, does for its housemate the shrimp, which is almost completely blind. The goby looks out for the shrimp when the latter ventures outside its shelter. The shrimp even flicks one of its antennae continually over the goby to make sure its partner is always nearby. Other unlikely couples include tarantulas and toads; hippos and little fish called barbells; as well as silver tip sharks and jacks, small saltwater fish.

The film also documents how other animals build partnerships with their own kind in order to survive. Teamwork is a trait practiced by elephants who live in large social groups, often spanning generations. The program shows how members of a herd quickly react when an inexperienced mother unknowingly puts her newborn calf in jeopardy crossing a mud pan and river. Other segments, documenting the power of collaboration within the same species, feature the strategies of a wolf pack, a pod of killer whales, a group of silver ants, and a large hyena clan.

As Nature’s Perfect Partners emphasizes, these animal alliances require coordination, resourcefulness, intelligence, and at times, bravery, as staying alive often comes with an element of risk. But it also cites another partnership, between animals and humans, which has existed for centuries. However, this relationship has chiefly consisted of people using wild animals to their own advantage, with the exception of a time-honored collaboration in East Africa among the local Masai and the honeyguide bird. Whether for protection, nourishment, assistance or guidance, the film concludes, it’s simply smart for species to join forces.

SHARE
PRODUCTION CREDITS

NARRATED BY
TOBY LEONARD MOORE

PRODUCED BY
SALLY THOMSON

FILM EDITOR
COLETTE HODGES

PHOTOGRAPHY
DOUG ANDERSON
MARTYN COLBECK
SIMON WERRY
RICHARD JONES
MARK DEEBLE AND VICTORIA STONE
CHARLIE HAMILTON-JAMES
TED GIFFORDS
WARRICK SLOSS
TOBY STRONG
TOM FITZ
JAMIE MCPHERSON
PETER SCOONES
MICHAEL KELEM
PAUL STEWART
SHANE MOORE
DAVID REICHERT

ORIGINAL MUSIC
JAMES DORMAN

DUBBING EDITOR
BEN WOOD

DUBBING MIXER
MATT COSTER

COLORIST
TIM BOLT

ONLINE EDITOR
JAMES BEYNON

ASSISTANT EDITOR
AMBER EAMES

RESEARCHERS
SOPHIE MEYJES
LAWRENCE BREEN
ESTER DE ROJ

PRODUCTION COORDINATORS
HAYLEY SLATER-SPARKE
KAREN LE HURAY

PRODUCTION MANAGER
WENDHY SIERRA

SERIES EDITOR
ROGER WEBB

© 2016 BBC All Rights Reserved

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JAMES BURKE

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

WEB PRODUCER
ERIC R. OLSON

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
ARIANA SVERDLIK

SENIOR PUBLICIST
JOHANNA BAKER

BUDGET CONTROLLER
KAREN FEIGENBAUM

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

ORIGINAL NATURE THEME
ALEX LASARENKO

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A CO-PRODUCTION OF THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC AND BBC IN ASSOCIATION WITH WNET

THIS PROGRAM WAS PRODUCED BY THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC, WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT

© 2016 THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© 2021 WNET. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.