Steve Backshall leads a team of elite explorers - including world leading underwater cave explorer Robbie Schmittner, former Royal Marine Aldo Kane and diving camera operator Katy Fraser - into the wilds of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Under the vast jungle here is the largest unexplored network of caves in the world, comprising thousands of kilometres of passageways. They are stunningly beautiful but incredibly dangerous - much of the system is under water. First the team must trek through tough, scorpion-infested jungle to camp alongside a giant sinkhole in the jungle floor - a dark gateway to an underworld full of nightmarish creatures.
2019 • Nature
Going down into these narrow flooded passageways is not for the faint-hearted but, with only an estimated one percent of the caves explored, it is an opportunity for the team to write themselves into cave diving history, by pushing further in than anyone has before. This is a challenge that tests even the most accomplished cave divers. Steve must face the terrors of being lost in an underwater silt cloud in a cave. But there is a bigger issue at stake. All life in the Yucatan depends on the fresh water in this network of caves, but it's being contaminated by human development. With every metre the team maps, it adds to the knowledge of the system, which, in turns, helps protect it for future generations.
2019 • Nature
At first glance, they look like pigs, but they're actually white-lipped peccaries from the Brazilian wetlands of the Pantanal, 10 times the size of the Everglades. Follow scientists as they track these mysterious mammals in their daily quest for food, while keeping a watchful eye for their main predator: jaguars.
This instalment is the first of several to concentrate on mammals. The platypus and the echidna are the only mammals that lay eggs (in much the same manner of reptiles), and it is from such animals that others in the group evolved. Since mammals have warm blood and most have dense fur, they can hunt at night when temperatures drop. It is for this reason that they became more successful than their reptile ancestors, who needed to heat themselves externally. Much of the programme is devoted to marsupials (whose young are partially formed at birth) of which fossils have been found in the Americas dating back 60 million years.
Liz meets the animal rogues doing whatever it takes to find food. From kleptomaniac crabs on a stealing spree, tigers deceiving their prey and chimpanzees waging war on their neighbours, the need for a square meal can drive many animals to some seemingly extreme behaviour. Liz sets out to discover the science behind these tactics, joining experts making new discoveries around the world. She sees macaques using psychology to pull off a theft, a spider conning its prey with a chemical disguise and the wedge-billed hummingbird stealing nectar from under the beaks of its rivals. When it comes to finding food, this outrageous behaviour is actually an ingenious way to get ahead.
Make way for the ocean’s biggest fish – a whale shark! This awe-inspiring gentle giant feeds on plankton and can reach 18 metres in length. Plus, get a dose of adrenaline as you swim with thousands of hammerhead sharks that gather in massive pulse-quickening shoals in the famous Galapagos Islands!
Part 2: Visitors David discovers the creatures that visit the reef every year, from birds to whales, some travelling thousands of kilometres to get there. Using the latest technology, David dives into the shark-infested waters of Osprey Reef in the Triton submersible. Sixty years after his first visit to Raine Island, he returns to the nesting grounds of the green sea turtle and at Lady Elliot Island marvels at manta ray cleaning stations. New tracking technology allows David to follow the story of visitors like the dwarf minke whales. Stunning satellite imagery and computer animation reveal their journey and David discovers their surprising reasons for returning and why the reef is vital for their survival.