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Max's Big Tracks


In this series, hardened tracker and wildlife expert, Ian “Max” Maxwell sets off on a challenging track through the wilderness in search of seven of the worlds most elusive animals. Covering a range of terrains and climates, these quests test Max’s skills to their limits, he has to draw upon all his tracking know-how and survival skills to catch a glimpse of his wildlife prize.



Incorporating local superstitions, bush craft and Max’s expert tracking abilities, each programme explores the awe inspiring natural habitat of one of our planet’s most intriguing beasts, from Brazil’s dense Amazon rainforest to the mountain regions of the Himalaya. These breathtaking journeys deliver an array of tracking and survival skills, fascinating insights into animal behaviour and all the drama and jeopardy that come with seven monumental quests.


1. Amazon Trek – In Search of the Jaguar
The Jaguar is the national symbol of Brazil, and appears on everything from billboards to banknotes. Seeing a Jaguar in the wild is far more of a challenge. Max is on a mission to find the only big cat he hasn’t tracked but his abilities are stretched to their limits as he seeks this master of camouflage. He heads to the Pantanal the world’s largest wetland area to hone his skills before penetrating the Amazon basin where he puts them to the test in search of this elusive predator.

2. Sand Track – In Search of the Desert Elephant
The Desert Elephant is uniquely adapted to living in one of the most hostile terrains on Earth. Max’s mission is to track the elephants alone. He firsts meets the Himba tribe to hone his survival skills, then enlists the help of Dr Keith Leggett, an expert with 10 years experience in the field. Max learns the vital skills he will need when he strikes out, single handed, on a tracking mission in this hostile desert environment.

3. By Cover of Darkness – In Search of Lion Nightlife
Lion behavior has been well documented and Max has had plenty of experience tracking them by day. However, in this episode in Kenya he takes to the track after dark to observe the nocturnal behavior of the pride. First travelling to the Masaai Mara to see how the famous Mara tribe track lion on foot, Max has the upper hand. When he takes his new found skills to Lewa conservancy to track by night it’s an altogether more challenging situation and he has to keep his wits about him and his senses keen.

4. Mountain Odyssey – In Search of the Yeti
The Yeti has been a source of legends for centuries. Max is determined to get to the bottom of what could be behind the myth. His starting point is the black bear – the most likely candidate. He journeys through the Himalayan foothills with his team of sherpas. By implementing his wealth of experience from other parts of the globe, and intense discussion with the sherpas and local farmers, Max begins the process of elimination. However, as our animal sleuth gets closer to the bear and solving the mystery his track meets an unexpected and dramatic end!

5. Corbett Country – In Search of Tiger
1936, Corbett became India’s first National Park, and has become an important refuge for Tigers. Max journeys from Delhi to Ramnagar, the park’s gateway in the Himalayan foothills, to start his search for the biggest of the big cats. Max learns a wealth of new skills, from reading the language of birds to tracking on elephant back through the tall grasslands. The local guides pitch in with vital tidbits in this quest, which culminates in a hair raising wildlife encounter!

6. Forest Lair – In Search of Wolves
Our relationship with wolves is ancient, our fear of them, primal. Despite his experience of tracking wild and dangerous animals – the wolf is an animal that Max is equally fearful of as he is fascinated by. Max’s quest is to track in snow and ice – something he has no experience of. He heads to the Polish-Belarus border where the forest is thick and mysterious. Traces of Wolves can be concealed in minutes with the ever changing weather conditions. Max sets up base camp in the forest, where a combination of low tech and high-tech make for a fascinating track, leading to a thrilling night-time encounter under a full moon.

7. Jungle Trek – In Search of the Sumatran Rhino
The small, hairy Sumatran rhino is one of the most endangered species in the world. Max has a rare and unique opportunity to join SOS Rhino deep in the jungles of Borneo on a search to find this remarkable mammal. With less than 300 individuals left in the world this is one of Max’s most pressing quests. Luckily his guide, Dr Thaya, knows this animal intimately and has been working in the area for 7 years. Max joins him at his remote jungle camp and together they brave the harsh conditions to search for the rhino, encountering wild orangutan and contending with giant insects, leeches and torrential rainstorms along the way, on what proves to be the most intrepid quest in the series.


An Electric Sky Production for Animal Planet International

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