Eagles are the most powerful birds in the sky, capable of tackling enormous prey, spotting food at vast distances and soaring for miles on the wing. Armed with cutting-edge filming technology, this documentary examines the science behind such extraordinary abilities. Featuring dramatic stories and some remarkable experiments, the film follows the story of a family of bald eagles in Iowa as two chicks face the challenges of life in the wild. Plus, bird specialist Lloyd Buck puts his trained golden eagle Tilly's skills to the test.
In the second of this two-part series, Colin Stafford-Johnson continues his journey in Cuba, one of the most captivating islands in the world. Here, he encounters bats emerging from a labyrinth of limestone caves to feed on nectar from giant hibiscus flowers, and tiny frogs, smaller than a fingernail, living in patches of hidden emerald forest. And on the white sand beaches, baby green turtles emerge from their nests to make their way to the sparkling Caribbean Sea.
Colin Stafford-Johnson journeys through one of the most bewitching islands in the world, featuring the wildlife and wild places that make it so special. In the first part of this two-part mini-series, Colin explores corners of Cuba that few outsiders have seen. Amongst the wonders he encounters is the bee hummingbird, the world’s tiniest bird, found nowhere else on the planet, and the spectacle of thousands of crabs migrating en masse.
[6 parts merged into one] Featuring groundbreaking new science, experiments and leading scientists from a variety of disciplines, the series unravels the natural history of the body's largest organ. Skin is an incredible, multi-function organ that science is still learning so much about. It has adapted to allow animals to conquer virtually every habitat on the planet.
2019 • Nature
Otters are playful, adaptable and champion swimmers - they've captivated cameraman Charlie Hamilton James for the last 25 years. He's filmed them more than anyone else and now, through the eyes of three orphaned river otters, a set of groundbreaking experiments and some incredible wild encounters, Charlie wants to reveal their survival secrets and exactly why he believes they're so special.
In southern Africa, a pride of lions has rewritten the rules - by learning to take down elephants. In this follow up to Africa's Giant Killers, we join the pride at the start of the rainy season. As the elephants depart, a catalogue of dramatic events unfolds. The pride males turn against each other, an inexperienced mum puts her new born cubs in mortal danger, a rival group of lions challenge the pride for its territory and, when lightning strikes, fires burn day and night. When the dust eventually settles, the pride is left with only one choice - to face their old foe the elephants or risk starvation. The final showdown awaits.
Deep in the rainforest of Central Africa lies an elephant oasis - a remarkable place that holds the key to the future for forest elephants. Over the last 20 years, Andrea Turkalo has been studying these enigmatic giants, getting to know over 4,000 intimately. She has begun to unravel the secrets of their complex social lives and the meanings of their unique vocalisations. New acoustic research is shedding light on the many mysteries that still surround forest elephant society. Will these endangered elephants finally speak out and tell Andrea what it is they need to survive?
Discover the evolutionary secrets of some of the world’s most majestic creatures. From voracious crocodiles and acrobatic birds to stupendous whales and majestic elephants, WHEN WHALES WALKED follows top scientists on a global adventure as they follow clues from the fossil record and change what we thought we knew about the evolution of iconic beasts.
2019 • Nature
In the 1990s, one million chimpanzees lived across Central Africa. Since then, habitat loss, hunting for bushmeat, and the exotic pet trade has caused their population to crash to just 200,000. But on Ngamba Island, a semi-wild sanctuary just off the coast of Uganda's Lake Victoria, a team of caregivers is dedicated to giving them another chance in life. Visit this remarkable safe haven, where victims--most arriving as orphaned babies--recover from mental trauma, form a new family, and learn how to be chimps.
2019 • Nature
A look across Hawaii's varied islands, discovering how they were made, and how its wildlife thrives. The most remote island chain on Earth, its tropical shores are hard to reach. However, for the hardy creatures that have made it there, such as the waterfall-climbing fish, carnivorous caterpillar and Laysan albatross, a land of opportunity awaits. From newly formed lava fields, to lush jungles, and vibrant coral reefs, these diverse and beautiful islands have it all. As this documentary reveals, its people are looking to the future and attempting to protect and foster its flora and fauna.
In the heart of south-east Asia lies the tropical island of Borneo. Twice the size of the British Isles, it is the third largest island on earth and home to possibly the greatest diversity of life of any island. Its huge variety of habitats, from bustling coral reefs and ancient jungles to towering mountains, have given rise to more than 60,000 species of plants and animals - many found nowhere else on Earth. This documentary covers Borneo's rich abundance of wildlife, from frogs to orang-utans.
David Harewood narrates a documentary exploring three of the most exotic and remote islands on the planet, beginning with the unique and extraordinary wildlife of Madagascar. As the oldest island on Earth, life has had time to evolve and there are now more unique plants and animals on Madagascar than any other, with footage of ring-tailed lemurs, labord's chameleons and Decken's sifakas.
David Attenborough narrates the story of Rodrigo Medellin. Since he first kept vampire bats in his bathroom as a child, Rodrigo has dedicated his life to saving them. Now Mexico's most famous export, tequila, is at stake. Rodrigo's beloved lesser long-nosed bat is crucial to the liquor - pollinating the plants the drink is made from. To save both, Rodrigo must track the bats' epic migration across Mexico - braving hurricanes, snakes, Mayan tombs and seas of cockroaches. The threats are very real for not only Rodrigo and the bats, but also for anyone with a taste for tequila.
Also known as "The Best of Seven Worlds, One Planet". The most spectacular moments from the Seven Worlds, One Planet series that highlights the incredible rich and wonderful diversity of life found on our planets seven unique continents. Millions of years ago huge forces ripped apart the Earth's crust, creating seven distinct continents. Over time, each one developed its own remarkable wildlife. We see the extraordinary variety of life found in South America and visit the largest of all continents - Asia, so big it still hides rarely seen creatures. We explore the cities of Europe, full of surprises, and the wilds of Africa, home to the greatest gatherings of animals. We travel to the searing heat of Australia with its weird and wonderful wildlife, and witness the pioneering animals of North America that make the most of every opportunity. Finally, we venture to the frozen wilderness of Antarctica were, on the most hostile continent of all, life manages to thrive against the odds. And we reveal how today the biggest challenge faced by wildlife is the impact of human activity on all seven of our incredible continents.
From the mighty grizzly bear to the endearing real life Paddington, the spectacled bear, and Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book's Baloo, the sloth bear, this remarkable animal family has long captured our imagination. As some of the largest animals on earth, they need more than just the 'bare necessities' to survive - especially in today’s ever-changing world. This film explores how bears across the world have overcome the challenges of life - from finding food and raising the cubs to confronting rivals and habitat loss - all thanks to brains, brawn and a remarkable ability to adapt.
Chris Packham aims to raise enough money to plant 100,000 trees across Britain, by asking viewers to contribute to The Woodland Trust. Martin Hughes-Games, JB Gill and Clare Nasir also take a closer look at the science of trees, exploring how they can lower carbon emissions, fight flooding and reduce pollution.
2019 • Nature
Documentary about the world's first National Park, filmed over a two-year period. Ch1. Fire and Ice Yellowstone's residents try to survive the harshest of winters as temperatures plummet way below zero. Hibernation and migration offer an escape for some but, for others, paradise becomes a winter nightmare. Ch2. Return of the Predators Looks at the battle to stay on top of the food chain. Wolves, grizzlies and mountain lions play a critical role in keeping Yellowstone in balance and must do what it takes to survive. Ch3. Life on the Wing The park faces the dramatic consequences of famine, fire, floods and a big freeze. Ch4. Down the River Wild The Yellowstone River travels a 700-mile journey through a spectacular landscape, revealing trumpeter swans, daring river otters, and grizzlies and bison fording treacherous rapids.
2019 • Nature
Whale Wisdom Whales have long been a profound mystery to us. They live in a world so removed from our own that we can barely imagine their lives. Their environment is different, their senses are different, their relationships are different. How might such almost alien creatures see the world?, Narrated by David Attenborough
2019 • Nature
Africa - home to the greatest wildlife gatherings on Earth, but even in this land of plenty, wildlife faces huge challenges. In the jungles, young chimps learn to use tools to find food. On the savannah, a group of cheetah brothers team up to hunt prey twice their size. And, in crystal clear freshwater lakes, caring fish mothers are tricked by devious imposters. Africa’s deserts are tough too. In the Namib, hyena make epic treks to find food on the beach, whilst in the Kalahari, the bizarre aardvark digs deep to find a meal. But for much of Africa’s wildlife the greatest threat comes from humans.
No continent experiences seasonal change as extreme as North America. From tornados that roar across the prairies, to Arctic air sweeping through the humid, southern swamps - this is a land where pioneering animals thrive. In winter, lynx prowl the snowy Yukon for snowshoe hares, whilst Florida manatees seek hot springs to escape the freeze. In the creeks of Tennessee, fish build spectacular underwater pyramids to find a mate. Fireflies light up the forests during summer nights, roadrunners cruise the spectacular deserts of Arizona and polar bears leap from rocks to hunt beluga whales.
This crowded continent hides the most surprising animals in pockets of wilderness. Above Gibraltar, Europe’s only primate lives a life of kidnapping and high drama, whilst in the cemeteries of Vienna grave robbing European hamsters do battle with each other. Come nightfall, the Italian mountain villages are the hunting grounds for rarely seen wolves, whilst lynx lurk in the forests of Spain. Deep underground in Slovenia’s caves, baby dragons live for up to a hundred years. Meanwhile, on the surface the continent has been developed beyond recognition.
Australia, a land cast adrift at the time of the dinosaurs. Isolated for millions of years, the weird and wonderful animals marooned here are like nowhere else on Earth. In its jungles a cassowary - one of the most dangerous birds in the world – stands six feet tall. Inland, kangaroos and wombats brave snowstorms and gum tree forests are filled with never-before-seen predators. In its red desert heart, reptiles drink through their skin and huge flocks of wild budgerigars swirl in search of water. On secret islands Tasmanian devils roam and offshore, thousands of sharks gather for a rare event.
South America - the most species rich continent on Earth. From the volcanoes of the Andes to the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, animals here must specialise to carve out a niche. In Patagonia, a puma mother draws on a lifetime’s experience to catch prey three times her weight. In the cloud forest, rarely seen Andean bears clamber thirty metres into the canopy to find elusive fruit. Poison dart frogs use ingenious methods to keep their tadpoles safe, whilst anacondas stalk capuchin monkeys. At Igauzu, swifts make death-defying flights through one of the biggest waterfalls on Earth.
Asia - the most varied and extreme continent - stretching from the Arctic Circle to the equator. Walrus gather in huge numbers in the frozen north and brown bears roam remote Russian volcanoes. This is a world of the rarely seen, from yeti-like monkeys in the mountain forests of China to the most bizarre predator in the baking deserts of Iran. Asia is the largest of all continents but it seems there’s not enough space for wildlife. The deep jungles provide sanctuary for the last few Sumatran rhino.
Antarctica - the coldest, windiest, most hostile continent. Only the toughest can survive here. From Weddell seals that grind back the ice with their teeth, to colourful starfish carpeting the seabed beneath the ice. Huge colonies of king penguins crowd any ice-free land, and four tonne elephant seals fight for territory on the beach. Life comes here because the ocean that surrounds the continent is incredibly rich. Thousands of penguins, seals, albatross, and over a hundred great whales feast on krill baitballs. However, the ocean here is warming and with that comes an uncertain future. (Number of days filming: 236)
Todd trains hard to improve his body intelligence, visualization skills, and emotional intelligence before attempting a super-human feat. He faces his greatest fear - being chained, handcuffed and blindfolded underwater with only his radically improved brain to help him escape.
Members of the weasel family are often portrayed as the villains of the natural world, but do they deserve this reputation? By following the adventures of a tiny orphaned weasel named Twiz, this film reveals the true nature of these pocket-sized predators, which relative to their size have a bite more powerful than a tiger’s. In Yorkshire, a unique garden rigged with over 50 cameras gives a rare insight into the dramatic life of a mother stoat as she tries to raise her first family. And new science uncovers the problem-solving abilities of the honey badger, the secrets behind the ferret’s legendary flexibility, and the remarkable sense of smell of the wolverine. Together, using their extraordinary skills, this feisty and fearless family have conquered the planet.
Explore the stark landscape, frigid sea, and wild animals in one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth. National Geographic Pristine Seas Explorer-in-residence Enric Sala leads a group of scientists on the first international scientific expedition to Franz Josef Land. His team works with Russia's most formidable biologists, geomorphologists and ornithologists to understand how climate change is affecting this remote ecosystem. From diving in subzero temperatures to running away from polar bears to avoiding titanic icebergs, the Pristine Seas team faces some of its most dangerous challenges to date.
2015 • Nature
The wildlife and environments of this Latin American wonder are the most diverse and inspiring that anyone could wish to explore. Up until now its glories have been often overlooked… whilst trouble made the headlines. For the first time this cinematic series will reveal Colombia's wild lands, wild life and the people who, everyday, are a part of it. Like the amazing creatures of Colombia the humans have battled, overcome, adapted and embraced the environments around them. Many people have become an integral part of the ecosystem others work selflessly to safeguard it. This film celebrates nature's diversity and will also be a timely wake up call for all people to protect the creatures and respect the habitats that are Colombia's wondrous wild treasures. Through artful photography and exceptional access, the film will explore the nature of Colombia at it most extreme and spectacular and at its most delightful and uplifting. A film of natural stories, striking splendour and surprising charm that will unveil a wild Colombia you wont forget.
2016 • Nature
The island of Barro Colorado in the Panama Canal is full of mysteries, some involving the wide diversity of wildlife, and some involving the island itself. Every year, hundreds of scientists and students come here to uncover the rainforest's secrets, but this year is very different. The island is running dry and no one knows why. Follow several research teams as they observe, experiment, and conduct research in this pristine habitat, and most pressing of all, try to find out what happened to the rain and when it will come again.
2016 • Nature
Cheetahs are not your standard big cats, they differ from the others in many ways. First, cheetahs are daytime hunters with eyesight optimized for open landscape and distant prey. Second, They're possibly the fastest land animals that have ever lived.
Like most big cats, the leopard is a master of secrecy. It's one of the hardest of all big cats to see, let alone observe. This is mainly because leopards need absolute invisibility to hunt. This is why they're such good climbers and why they evolved to be so incredibly secretive.
Pumas are also known by the names of cougar or mountain lion. However, these cats are only distantly related to lions. They're much more closely related to cheetahs. And while pumas are often found in mountains, they're just as at home in the lowlands, dense forests, or deserts.
Siberian tigers are the largest of all cats. In historic times, the tiger's range was vast, covering much of Asia. Over the last century, they've experienced an almost total population crash, and at least 97% of those tigers have gone.
Life in the sea rebounded with a vengeance in the Devonian. Dozens of monstrous predators emerged, like the 40-foot long Dunkleosteus. Nearly everything was wiped out in Earth’s second mass extinction. But the stage was set for an explosion of life on land.
For nearly 4 billion years, the continents of Earth were a lifeless wasteland. But beneath the sea, our planet was teeming with life. Many strange creatures evolved, from eel-like conodonts to voracious cephalopods, until nearly all life was wiped out in our planet’s first mass extinction.
Professor David Scheel takes an octopus into his home to learn about its intelligence and the extraordinary relationship he and his daughter develop with the creature. Named Heidi, the octopus is seen unravelling puzzles, recognising individual humans and even watching TV with the family. The film also looks at the remarkable behaviour of other octopuses around the world, from those that can change their colour and texture in a split second to the octopus that carries around its own coconut shell to hide in.
With scientist Kerisha Kntayya, Judi joins a crocodile hunt with a difference. Kerisha plucks young crocodiles out of the water. Judi then joins Kerisha's team as they wrestle an adult croc as part of the study Kerisha hopes will help save these prehistoric creatures. Judi, who's had a fascination with bats from an early age, also explores the Gomantong cave, home to more than a million bats.
She experiences the rainforest for the first time travelling to the heart of the island with expert Glen Reynolds, before observing orangutans in the wild and learning how they are helping to prevent global warming. She then journeys down Borneo's Kinabatangan river and along the island's coastline to explore the unique wildlife that lives in this threatened environment.
In the wilds of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, a mother moose tends to her newborn calf. Spring is in full swing, but this far north, winter is never far away and, with hungry bears and wolves for neighbours, many challenges lie ahead. Local cameraman Hugo Kitching knows this only too well, but he is determined to follow the mother and calf through the four seasons. What unfolds is a very intimate story, and when Hugo finds a second moose calf born late in the year, things take an unexpected and dramatic turn.
This film is a unique production that reveals the beauty of Romania as it is, raw, magical but fragile at the same time. In the heart of Europe, there is a fabulous wildlife, rich in biodiversity, home to numerous wild animals. The endless mountain peaks and river streams, ancient forests, all provide home to various creatures. Their lives are dictated by the seasons of these lands of beauty. It's a never ending battle for survival and Untamed Romania will tell their stories. Who will survive the trials of life in this ever changing environment?
2018 • Nature
David Attenborough reveals the life of the hippopotamus as never seen before. With incredible underwater footage, this film delves into the world of the hippo – an animal that cannot swim yet is utterly dependent on water. In Botswana's Okavango delta, hippos face an unparalleled challenge - deep floodwaters dry to dust in a matter of months. In one extraordinary season, the team go beneath the surface to see them protect their families and face their enemies as they deal with the drought. Going far beyond their dangerous reputation, the show discovers the true nature of the hippo, an animal that is compassionate, sensitive and highly intelligent.
A look at how a dung beetle standing on its head can roll a ball in a straight line; if egrets ever regret hanging out next to hungry alligators; and what ghostly creature was caught on camera 3000 feet below the ocean's surface.
Helen Macdonald traces the dramatic journey of Britain's greatest river, the Tay, over an entire year. Mixing natural history, cutting-edge science and historical biography with a spectacular travelogue, the film is a celebration of our largest river as it transforms from melting Highland snow to a vast torrent flowing into the cold North Sea.
2019 • Nature
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is known as the king of the dinosaurs, but how did its reign begin? Meet Moros Intrepidus, a 180 lb., deer-sized ancestor to the T-Rex. Learn how the latest in paleontology can now link this small dinosaur to the 19,000-pound Scotty, the largest T-Rex ever discovered.
Squirrels are among the most widely known and recognized mammals in the world. Living in an extraordinarily diverse range of habitats, some can fly, some can swim, some live in trees or underground, others love icy wastelands or burning hot deserts.
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.
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.
Every year, the painted lady butterflies undertake a mysterious migration. This discreet journey covers thousands of kilometers and triggers puzzles that scientists are still trying to understand today. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we will track the butterflies on their journey.
Every year the black cap warbler undertakes a mysterious migration. This discreet journey covers thousands of kilometers and triggers puzzles that scientists are still trying to understand today. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we will track the black caps on their journey.
Every year, the pipistrelle bat undertakes a mysterious migration. This discreet journey covers thousands of kilometers and triggers puzzles that scientists are still trying to understand today. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we will track the bats on their journey.
Every year, just above our heads, Eleonora’s falcon undertakes a mysterious migration. This discreet journey covers thousands of kilometers and triggers puzzles that scientists are still trying to understand today. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we will track the falcons on their journey.
Richard Hammond concludes his look at miracles in the natural world by discovering some incredible animal super-powers. Creatures that can create slime as strong as steel, survive massive extremes of temperature or even turn invisible. Animal super-powers that have inspired scientists and engineers to create brand new human inventions that could change the way we live. He discovers how the husky's paw can help American footballers; how a strange eel-like creature with a skull but no skeleton might be the next best thing to a spider; how the kingfisher could revolutionise air-sea rescue; and how the cuttlefish has enabled a military tank to pretend it's a small family saloon.
Richard Hammond continues his exploration of weird and wonderful animal abilities by focusing on super-senses, and discovers how those same animal senses have inspired some unlikely human inventions. Richard gets buried in a Californian gold mine, attempts to talk to a rattlesnake by telephone, and is taken for a ride by a monster truck that drives itself. Along the way, he encounters elephants who can talk to each other through solid rock; seals who use their whiskers to sense the shape, size, speed and direction of an object that passed over thirty seconds earlier; and a blind cyclist who relies on fruit bats to get him safely down a twisting mountain bike trail.
In this first episode, he discovers how the Cape vulture has inspired a flying submarine; how a giraffe's neck can stop a jet pilot losing consciousness; how a woodpecker's skull can safely protect a light bulb dropped from space; and how a South American butterfly holds the secret to making any mobile phone waterproof.
In the grasslands, animals endure freezes, fires, floods, and droughts; bull elephants clash in mating battles; cheetahs and gazelles engage in a predator-and-prey dance in the Kenyan savanna; bison battle a blizzard while being pursued by wolves.
The Auckland Islands are an isolated archipelago of islands far south of New Zealand. They might seem bleak, but they are a surprising sanctuary for wildlife. In summer, hordes of giant sea lions descend upon a desolate beach, and testosterone-driven males begin bloody battles for mating rights. When the pregnant females return to give birth on the beach, chaos ensues. The pups are always in danger of being squashed by overly eager males. Some of the rarest penguins on the planet, the yellow-eyed penguins, are also breeding here and must constantly evade the huge brawling male sea lions. Southern royal albatross, giant petrels and skuas are other species that go to extremes to ensure their offspring’s survival. The drama of summer in the sub-Antarctic islands peaks as the sea lion pups dare to take their very first ocean swims.
2019 • Nature
Florida is famous for its beaches, blue water and year round sun – but it also has a surprising wild side. It's home to pine forests, coral reefs and the famous Everglades wetland, the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the US. Here, manatees swim in crystal clear rivers, baby alligators practice their hunting skills and miniature deer roam free. Every year, this state faces the full forces of nature - from wildfires to flooding and powerful hurricanes. And today, a growing human population and a cast of animal invaders are threatening this wild paradise. With the help of pioneering scientists, will Florida’s wildlife continue to weather the storm?
Africa's largest herd of elephants and a fearless pride of young lions come face to face in an epic fight for survival. Rarely do their worlds collide, until now. This is no chance conflict; nature has played its part. Drought has weakened the elephants, and the lions are desperately hungry. The dawn of the giant killers has arrived.
Steve finds out how washing our clothes is harming our marine life. Why has the fish and chips supper changed? And which lobster is making a comeback? Plus why is one man fascinated by 'the Christmas Tree fish of the sea? Chris finds out. Presented from Herne Bay in Kent .
In Herne Bay in Kent, Steve makes a jaw-dropping discovery of sharks teeth on the beach. Looking at how bad fatbergs are for the arteries of our seas. Plus we soar high over Mull with Sea eagles, and Chris meets a photographer who believes we have the best marine life in the world.
David Attenborough reveals that the animal inhabitants of this vast wilderness are every bit as extraordinary as they are bizarre. Unearthly calls of the notorious Tasmanian devil echo through the land, but following them over the course of a year reveals a surprisingly gentle side. In the dry east, rare white wallabies graze on the plains and jack jumper ants build huge nests – these venomous ants are amongst the most dangerous on earth. In the west, where it can rain nearly every day of the year, caves light up with the magical spectacle of thousands of glow-worms, and the trees are 100-metre towering monsters. Rivers are home to the peculiar platypus, and world’s largest freshwater invertebrate, the Tasmanian giant lobster. Miniature penguins come ashore to breed, and as winter approaches, the southern lights dance in the sky. Tasmania’s isolation and unique climate has created a world that is as weird as it is wonderful.
Vultures are the birds that many people love to hate, but cameraman and naturalist Charlie Hamilton James sees them as beautiful and intelligent creatures that deserve respect. He believes that to appreciate them, people just need to spend time with them and he headed to East Africa to do exactly that. His journey exposes not only a softer, more caring side to these maligned birds but also a much bigger story, one that leaves vultures needing many more admirers.
In Tokyo, there are unapproachable "lost islands" with unspoiled environs and rich wildlife. Minami Iwo-to, part of the Ogasawara island chain, is about 1,300km from the Japanese capital. Normally, entry is banned to protect the environment. An exception was made in 2017 for the first comprehensive scientific survey in 10 years. The island compresses multiple climate zones into a small area, offering researchers a rare opportunity to view evolution in action. Braving an arduous climb and a swarm of seabirds, the team discovers one new species after another.
2019 • Nature
In Tokyo, there are unapproachable "lost islands" where unspoiled environs cradle rich wildlife. Sofugan is a 100-meter-high solitary rock pillar standing in the ocean 650km south of the capital city's center. Remote and difficult to access, it had never been explored in detail. A group of scientists and engineers set out on a two-year survey. This program records their journey, along with the creatures they discover - from unusual species amongst the rugged rocks to mysterious marine life in the surrounding deep sea.
2019 • Nature
In the last 30 years the world's urban areas have almost tripled in size, changing at a rate wildlife has never experienced before. As cities are built, animals are pushed out of their natural homes. Their stories are the most surprising and captivating of all. Today, these 'wild outcasts' find themselves fighting for their place in a land that once belonged to them. In this episode we feature elephants in Sri Lanka and see that competition between them and humans for land and resources is resulting in deadly territorial conflicts, which demand solutions. And on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica we meet a troop of capuchin monkeys and learn how our behaviour is affecting them, and raising big questions about their future. But we also discover where we learn to live with wildlife as neighbours, and give it the space and resources it needs, it can thrive. The resulting relationships between human and animals can be mutually beneficial. We meet an Amsterdam heron called Kiri who has been visiting the same house twice a day for the last 17 years, befriending its owner, and the Florida manatees whose population has recovered to such an extent under the guardianship of local human residents that, in recent years, they have been taken off the endangered species list, and contributed to a massive boom in the local tourism industry. We meet the swiftlets who have evolved to live only in people's houses and specially built swiftlet hotels in Indonesia. And the surprising story of a population of tiny foxes on a Californian island whose presence benefits the hardened military personnel of a US naval base. This hopeful but realistic episode culminates with the return of charismatic ocean giants to the world's most iconic city, as humpback whales breach against the New York skyline.
More than a billion people around the world commute into cities each day, and they are not alone. The world's wildlife is commuting too. A steady flow of animals journey in and out of cities to find food and shelter or to start a family. Leaving the wilderness they must overcome the unique challenges that the urban world throws at them to benefit from the opportunities on offer. This episode explores whether the secret to an animal's success in this fast-changing world is to keep one foot in the wild and one in the city, becoming a wild commuter. It seems that all over the world animals are finding that the city can offer opportunities that are harder to come by in the natural world. Some, like African penguins, whose population has plummeted by 80 per cent in the last 50 years, find shelter in the city. By nesting in Cape Town they are safer from predators, and with relatively easy access to their fishing grounds they have the best of both worlds. Many other animals commute into cities because they are filled with food. In St Lucia, South Africa, that includes hippos. Able to eat up to fifty kilograms of grass in a single sitting, they have developed a taste for the short, manicured lawns and come to town every night to dine out. St Lucia's human residents have learnt to give the hippos the space they need during their night-time raids. Black bears need to eat more than 20,000 calories a day to survive their six-month hibernation through winter, and using their acute sense of smell they can easily track down leftovers. In North America they come into towns and cities in search of food. Many animals displaced from their natural habitat are now using their wild skill set in the city to help fulfill their needs. Could this be the beginning of a new and very modern migration?
The world's cities are growing at a faster rate than any other habitat on the planet. And while most of us imagine them to be concrete jungles devoid of nature, for animals of all shapes and sizes they are just a new habitat filled with new and surprising opportunity. With similar needs to humans, these wild animals face similar challenges, and like us, if they play their cards right, they can find everything they need in the city. With the natural world shrinking, and our urban centres continuing to grow, adapting to life in the city has never been more important. This first episode examines what it takes for these wild residents to thrive in the newest and fastest changing habitat on the planet. From smooth-coated otters at home in Singapore and huge colonies of megabats in Adelaide to reticulated pythons living on the streets of Bangkok, experience our cities through fresh eyes - the eyes of the animals that live in them, and discover a wilder side to a world we think we know.
Diablo the giant otter lives in a lake in the jungles of Peru, with his unruly family of six cubs. Even at the tender age of six months, they need to learn how to survive in this dangerous paradise. Their dad teaches them to swim and eventually to catch piranha for themselves, but they must also learn to stay away from the neighbours from hell - the giant caiman. These large members of the crocodile family are a real threat to the giant otter family and Diablo must go to extraordinary lengths to try to protect his cubs. Charlie Hamilton-James returns to the place he first filmed Diablo. Following the family over several months, sometimes in very difficult conditions, he discovers how perilous a home this is for the cubs and watches them develop under the careful guidance of their father. He also films remarkable scenes of the giant otters fighting caimans.
Bill Bailey introduces a delightfully eccentric cast of creatures that have chosen to do things differently. Odd, unconventional and unusual - these are animals that don't normally grab the limelight. They include the parrot that has forgotten how to fly, the bear that has turned vegetarian, a chameleon that is barely bigger than an ant, and a penguin that lives in a forest. Nature's Misfits reveals the extraordinary and rarely seen lives of these evolutionary oddballs along with their strange habitats, unusual forms and the incredible hurdles they overcome.
David Attenborough journeys to both Polar Regions to investigate what rising temperatures will mean for the people and wildlife that live there and for the rest of the planet. David starts out at the North Pole, standing on sea ice several metres thick, but which scientists predict could be Open Ocean within the next few decades. The Arctic has been warming at twice the global average, so David heads out with a Norwegian team to see what this means for polar bears. He comes face-to-face with a tranquilised female, and discovers that mothers and cubs are going hungry as the sea ice on which they hunt disappears. In Canada, Inuit hunters have seen with their own eyes what scientists have seen from space; the Arctic Ocean has lost 30% of its summer ice cover over the last 30 years. For some, the melting sea ice will allow access to trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and minerals. For the rest of us, it means the planet will get warmer, as sea ice is important to reflect back the sun's energy. Next David travels to see what's happening to the ice on land: in Greenland, we follow intrepid ice scientists as they study giant waterfalls of meltwater, which are accelerating iceberg calving events, and ultimately leading to a rise in global sea level. Temperatures have also risen in the Antarctic - David returns to glaciers photographed by the Shackleton expedition and reveals a dramatic retreat over the past century. It's not just the ice that is changing - ice-loving adelie penguins are disappearing, and more temperate gentoo penguins are moving in. Finally, we see the first ever images of the largest recent natural event on our planet - the break up of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an ice sheet the size of Jamaica, which shattered into hundreds of icebergs in 2009.
The documentary series reveals the extraordinary riches and wonders of the Polar Regions that have kept people visiting them for thousands of years. Today, their survival relies on a combination of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge science. Most Arctic people live in Siberia, either in cities like Norilsk - the coldest city on earth - or out on the tundra, where tribes like the Dogan survive by herding reindeer, using them to drag their homes behind them. On the coast, traditional people still hunt walrus from open boats - it is dangerous work, but one big walrus will feed a family for weeks. Settlers are drawn to the Arctic by its abundant minerals; the Danish Armed Forces maintain their claim to Greenland's mineral wealth with an epic dog sled patrol, covering 2,000 miles through the winter. Above, the spectacular northern lights can disrupt power supplies so scientists monitor it constantly, firing rockets into it to release a cloud of glowing smoke 100 kilometres high. In contrast, Antarctica is so remote and cold that it was only a century ago that the first people explored the continent. Captain Scott's hut still stands as a memorial to these men. Science is now the only significant human activity allowed; robot submarines are sent deep beneath the ice in search of new life-forms, which may also be found in a labyrinth of ice caves high up on an active volcano. Above, colossal balloons are launched into the purest air on earth to detect cosmic rays. At the South Pole there is a research base designed to withstand the world's most extreme winters. Cut off from the outside world for six months, the base is totally self-sufficient, even boasting a greenhouse.
There is no greater test for life than winter, as temperatures plummet to 70 below and winds reach 200kph. Darkness and ice extend across the polar regions and only a few remarkable survivors gamble on remaining. We join a female polar bear trekking into the Arctic mountains to give birth as the first blizzards arrive. Out on the frozen ocean, the entire world's population of spectacled eider ducks brave the winter in a giant ice hole kept open by ferocious currents. Arctic forests transform into a wonderland of frost and snow - the scene of a desperate and bloody battle between wolf and bison, but also where a remarkable alliance between raven and wolverine is made. Beneath the snow lies a magical world of winter survivors. Here tiny voles dodge the clutches of the great grey owl, but cannot escape the ultimate under-show predator - the least weasel. Midwinter and a male polar bear wanders alone across the dark, empty icescape. Below the snow, polar bear cubs begin life in an icy den while fantastical auroras light the night skies above. In Antarctica, we join male emperor penguins in their darkest hour, battling to protect precious eggs from fierce polar storms. Weddell seals escape to a hidden world of jewel-coloured corals and alien-looking creatures but frozen devastation follows as sinister ice stalactites reach down with deadly effect.
For the animals in the polar regions, autumn means dramatic battles and epic journeys. Time is running out - the Arctic Ocean is freezing over and the sea ice is advancing at 2.5 miles per day around Antarctica. Polar bears gather in large numbers on the Arctic coast as they wait for the return of the ice. Soon, tempers fray and violent sparring contests break out. Meanwhile 2,000 beluga whales head for one special estuary, a gigantic 'whale spa' where they will thrash their snow-white bodies against the gravel and exfoliate. Inland, the tundra undergoes a dramatic transformation from green to fiery red. Here, musk ox males slam head-first into each other with the force of a 30mph car crash as they struggle to defend their harems. Frisky young caribou males play a game of 'grandma's footsteps' as they try to steal the boss's female. Down in Antarctica, Adelie penguin chicks huddle together in creches. When a parent returns from fishing, it leads its twins on a comical steeplechase - sadly there's only enough for one, so the winner gets the meal. Two months later and the chicks are fully feathered apart from downy Mohican hairdos - they're ready to take their first swim - reluctantly though, as it seems penguins are not born with a love of water! And with good reason - a leopard seal explodes from the sea and pulls one from an ice floe, a hunting manoeuvre that has never been filmed before. As winter approaches and everyone has left, the giant emperor penguin arrives and makes an epic trek inland to breed. The mothers soon return to the sea leaving the fathers to hold the eggs and endure the coldest winter on earth.
It is high summer in the Polar Regions, and the sun never sets. Vast hordes of summer visitors cram a lifetime of drama into one long, magical day; they must feed, fight and rear their young in this brief window of plenty. Summer is a tough time for the polar bear family, as their ice world melts away and the cubs take their first swimming lesson. Some bears save energy by dozing on icy sun beds, while others go egg-collecting in an Arctic tern colony, braving bombardment by sharp beaks. There are even bigger battles on the tundra; a herd of musk oxen gallop to the rescue as a calf is caught in a life and death struggle with a pair of Arctic wolves. But summer also brings surprises, as a huge colony of 400,000 king penguins cope with an unlikely problem - heat. The adults go surfing, while the woolly-coated chicks take a cooling mud bath. Nearby, a bull fur seal is prepared to fight to the death with a rival. Fur flies as the little pups struggle desperately to keep out of the way of the duelling giants. Further south, a minke whale is hunted amongst the ice floes by a family of killer whales. The dramatic chase lasts over 2 hours and has never been filmed before. The killers harry the minke whale, taking it in turns to wear it down. Eventually it succumbs to the relentless battering. Finally, comical adelie penguins waddle back to their half a million strong colony like clockwork toys. The fluffy chicks need constant feeding and protection as piratical skuas patrol the skies. When an unguarded chick is snatched, a dramatic "dogfight" ensues.
Spring arrives in the polar regions, and the sun appears after an absence of five months; warmth and life return to these magical ice worlds - the greatest seasonal transformation on our planet is underway. Male Adelie penguins arrive in Antarctica to build their nests - it takes a good property to attract the best mates and the males will stop at nothing to better their rivals! But these early birds face the fiercest storms on the planet. In the Arctic, a polar bear mother is hunting with her cubs. Inland, the frozen rivers start to break up and billions of tons of ice are swept downstream in the greatest of polar spectacles. This melt-water fertilizes the Arctic Ocean, feeding vast shoals of Arctic cod and narwhal. The influx of freshwater accelerates the breakup of the sea-ice - an area of ice the size of Australia will soon vanish from the Arctic. On land, a woolly bear caterpillar emerges from the snow having spent the winter frozen solid. Caterpillars normally become moths within months of hatching, but life is so harsh here that the woolly bear takes 14 years to reach adulthood. Once mature it has only days to find a mate before it dies! Alongside the caterpillars white Arctic wolves race to raise their adorable cubs before the cold returns.
Our journey begins with David at the North Pole, as the sun returns after six months of darkness. We follow a pair of courting polar bears, which reveal a surprisingly tender side. Next stop is the giant Greenland ice cap, where waterfalls plunge into the heart of the ice and a colossal iceberg carves into the sea. Humpback whales join the largest gathering of seabirds on earth to feast in rich Alaskan waters. Further south, the tree line marks the start of the Taiga forest, containing one third of all trees on earth. Here, 25 of the world's largest wolves take on formidable bison prey. At the other end of our planet, the Antarctic begins in the Southern Ocean where surfing penguins struggle to escape a hungry sea-lion and teams of orcas create giant waves to wash seals from ice floes -a filming first. Diving below the ice, we discover prehistoric giants, including terrifying sea spiders and woodlice the size of dinner plates. Above ground, crystal caverns ring the summit of Erebus, the most southerly volcano on earth. From here we retrace the routes of early explorers across the formidable Antarctic ice-cap - the largest expanse of ice on our planet. Finally, we rejoin David at the South Pole, exactly one hundred years after Amundsen then Scott were the first humans to stand there
Antarctica is the most remote and pristine wilderness on the planet. , It is a timeless and harsh land like no other. Night here can last three months and in the peak of summer the sun never sets. To understand how life can exist in this continent of snow and icebergs you must spend a year there. You discover that despite being the least habitable place on Earth, life abounds in Antarctica. Megafauna such as humpback whales and orca, massive seals and stately penguins all take the brutal conditions head on and thrive in this year on ice.
2017 • Nature
Following extreme diver and biologists Laurent Ballesta and acclaimed photographer Vincent Munier, exploring for the first time sub-glacial lakes deep under the ice pack and decoding the secret weapons of wildlife and micro-organic life thriving under such extreme conditions.
An expedition which will help viewers decipher Antarctica's key role in climate regulation and see the challenges the iconic Emperor penguin faces in the light of climate change. Discover the secrets of these polar environments on the ice and underwater and get close and personal with the emperor.
On 12th September 2015, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and his friend Charlotte Kinloch as they paddled a sea kayak in Monterey Bay, California. Incredibly, both survived the incident, but the near-death experience haunted documentary maker Tom and left him wondering if the whale was deliberately trying to hurt them. To find the answer, Tom returned to California in 2018 to investigate. Tom meets those who have survived similar hair-raising encounters and the experts who know the whales best. What he discovers raises far bigger questions, not just about what happened that day but also about our relationship with whales and their future alongside us.
The tropical climate and varied topography of Costa Rica have fostered exceptional biodiversity, with wildlife from both North and South America. From the peaks of volcanoes down to the Pacific and Caribbean shores. Discover the life of 90 of the most remarkable animals in this remarkable country.
2018 • Nature
Deep in the remote basin of the Pacific Ocean is an island where dragons still roam, a Jurassic-type underworld, where every day is a fight for supremacy and survival. Welcome to Komodo Island, home to the world's largest living lizard on the planet, the Komodo dragon. Witness the start of a new era as we follow the island's current monarch, Drogo. He has just overthrown the old king and must now defend his title against a group of young dragons, here on one of the harshest and hottest habitats on the planet.
2016 • Nature
First transmitted in 1965, David Attenborough retraces the steps of the famous Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone in the final part of his African adventure.David Attenborough starts his journey in Sesheke, on the northern bank of the Zambezi river in the Western Province of Zambia. Retracing Livingstone’s Zambezi expedition takes him from Sesheke to Victoria Falls, named by Livingstone in honour of Queen Victoria, through to Zumbo and Tete in Mozambique.Using extracts from Dr Livingstone’s journal David Attenborough revisits African traditions and ceremonies that shocked Livingstone at the time, such as a masked dance featuring the Makishi devil.
First transmitted in 1965. David Attenborough continues his journey along the Zambezi River. This episode begins at Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. At the foot of the falls, with its moist climate, a wealth of plants and animals can be found, such as hyraxes. To coax the hyraxes out of hiding, David Attenborough illustrates why taking a dog whistle with you while on an African adventure is a very good idea indeed. Other highlights encountered on the way include an estivating lungfish and a herd of elephants washing and dust bathing at a water hole.Further along his journey David Attenborough explores a Portuguese fortress at Tete, believed to have been built over 400 years ago, and assesses the impact of the then newly constructed Kariba Dam, one of the largest dams in the world, on the displaced Tonga people and surrounding countryside.
At the start of his journey, Attenborough meets some of the people and animals that have made their home along the river in Zambia. He is invited to witness the Kuomboka festival, featuring the Litunga, chief of the Lozi people of western Zambia, and his people. In the festival they migrate from Lealui to Limalunga, before Lealui is flooded by the Zambezi. The spectacular ceremony consists of a fleet of barges, many containing the Lotunga’s possessions, making the journey up the river accompanied by heavy drumming of the royal Maoma drums. Other highlights include David Attenborough joining the Litunga as he opens the court and presides over the inauguration ceremony.
It is an unexpected and contrasting journey through America's iconic and varied landscapes as the Mississippi flows from source to mouth. The Mississippi's greatest surprise is its incredible reach. Its fingers stretch into nearly half of the USA, collecting water from 31 states. More than any other, this one river has helped unite the many and varied parts of America.
For a river that conjures up images of pyramids and pharaohs, the Nile turns out to be a truly surprising river that changes at every twist and turn of its journey. As its flows into increasingly arid latitudes on its journey north it becomes an evermore vital lifeline for animals and people, but only if they can conquer the challenges that this ever-changing river throws at them.
This episode is a pioneering exploration of the latest discoveries concerning the Amazon - by far the greatest river on Earth. It is the river of superlatives, flowing more than 4,000 miles from the Andes to the Atlantic. Its 1,100 tributaries drain the greatest river basin on the planet and along its incredible journey it collects and transports one-fifth of the world's fresh water. Due to its enormous size, it still hides secrets.
Are you genetically destined to despise brussels sprouts? We’re all human, but why are we all so different? With the help of a line-up of dogs and many sets of twins, Prof Alice Roberts explores what makes each of us totally unique.
Professor Alice Roberts explores the story of human evolution, revealing how a humble African ape became a successful global species. With daring parkour athletes and life-size primate animatronics, Alice explores the greatest leaps in our evolution by conjuring fire and re-enacting how we spread across the globe.
Professor Alice Roberts meets our ancient ancestral family, from armadillos to sharks, and discovers our true place in the tree of life. With 4D scanning, giant origami and a ukulele, they will explore evolution like never before.
Take an epic voyage over the remote island nation of New Zealand, the last habitable landmass to be discovered on the planet. No bigger than the state of Colorado, this small country offers an incredibly diverse landscape view that changes dramatically with each mile. From snow-capped mountains to sandy beaches, and from the glacier-carved Fiordland National Park to the crater lake of Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand is a land of extremes. It's a place where fire clashes with ice and people are always pushing the limits.
2017 • Nature
It's death on an unimaginable scale, when a majority of Earth's species quickly die out. It's called "mass extinction," and it's happened at least five times before. Cataclysms, such as supervolcanoes or asteroids, are thought to cause these events, but some experts believe a man-made mass extinction could be next. Is our planet in trouble? And if so, is there anything we can do to stop the next catastrophic annihilation? Experts are traveling the world, performing groundbreaking scientific detective work to answer these very questions.
2014 • Nature
At the southern tip of Africa, where two oceans collide, the flat-topped Table Mountain stands guard over a diverse metropolis of cultures and people. Take flight over the Western Cape and discover the breathtaking wonder of this province from above.
Take flight across Botswana's sprawling Kalahari Desert, through the Okavango Delta, and deep into its dynamic history. During the journey, Botswana's history of ancient civilizations, notorious slave traders, and enormous wealth are brought to life.
The members of the Nsefu pride take a huge risk: they're leaving their home turf, and crossing the Luangwa River in search of prey. Navigating croc-infested waters is a challenge, especially for the pride's yearling, dubbed the Misfit. It's a foolhardy gamble, but hunger has forced their hand. If they're to succeed, they'll need the Misfit to come of age-their very survival depends on it.
As the first animal to be domesticated, pigeons have a story to tell. A drama filled, steeped-in-history, amazing story. Although they’ve faded into the background of city life, pigeons have made an incredible contribution to human history. For centuries, we relied on them for everything from food, to vital communications, to entertainment to modern day brain science. They deserve more respect! The ones you see on city streets today are the descendants of domestic birds. Their gritty urban lives are spent trying to evade all manner of perils…and… stay one step ahead of starvation, a constant threat. To survive where they’re not wanted, pigeons rely on a combination of charity from a few and their own incredible smarts…. In a series of fascinating experiments and carefully placed cameras, we take you inside their perilous world; in the air, on the street and in the nest. One of the first things to notice is just how incredibly smart they are.
In the thick of the jungle of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, an infant mountain gorilla has been caught in a snare. If the rope is not removed quickly enough, the young gorilla could lose its hand. In order to remove the snare, a team of veterinarians will first need to sedate the infant's mother. But if the infant screams too much, the three 400-pound adult males that form part of this gorilla group will all attack. Everything must go perfectly, or there's no telling what could happen. And being jungle medicine, things rarely go perfectly. The pioneering group of vets performing this medical intervention is known as Gorilla Doctors. Led by Canadian Mike Cranfield, they work in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, where the world's last Mountain Gorillas can be found.
Their habitat once stretched across the Prairies, but when humans wiped out the one thing they eat, the black-footed ferret disappeared. The only native North American ferret, this mysterious animal became the most endangered species in the world. For many years, they survived only in zoos. Now a fledgling project is attempting to bring the black-footed ferret back to Saskatchewan. This dramatic story of the ferrets’ reintroduction to the wild unfolds in Return of the Prairie Bandit, a new documentary by Kenton Vaughan set in the stunning prairie of southern Saskatchewan.
In an effort to outwit raccoons, are we pushing their brain development and perhaps even sending them down a new evolutionary path? Using high-definition, infrared cameras that turn pitch dark into daylight; we take viewers deep inside a world that was once shrouded in mystery – to gain new insights and understanding about a species that is far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined. “There is a lot we don’t know, and the more we’ve looked at raccoons, the harder they are to understand.” — Stan Gehrt, Wildlife Biologist & Internationally recognized raccoon expert
See the world through the eyes of nature’s fastest animal: the peregrine falcon. Though once perilously endangered in the U.S., this spectacular predator is now thriving again in American cities and on every continent but Antarctica. What is the secret to its predatory prowess? Join expert falconer Lloyd Buck as he trains a captive peregrine and puts its hunting skills to the test.
We flail, we swat, we sweat. We spray, cover up, and hide. But still the tiny, fearsome mosquito penetrates our best defenses. ZAPPED: the buzz about mosquitoes is the story of our ongoing struggle to conquer a little insect that is both delicate and deadly. As the program reveals, this beautiful and versatile blood-sucker has always managed to stay one step ahead of us. As tortured as we are Zapped uncovers, in exquisite detail, how the mosquito goes about its handiwork. It's really only the females that are the problem – they need our blood to incubate their eggs. And, out of more than 3500 species, only 200 or so transmit disease.
The leatherback sea turtle is a magnificent creature that can be found in Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. This ancient species swims faster, travels further, and dives deeper than any other reptile on the planet. In the Atlantic, they migrate every year from their nesting grounds in the Caribbean to the chilly waters off the east coast of Canada where they feast on jellyfish. This epic annual journey – at a staggering 12,000 km – is the longest for any reptile in the world.
A Dog’s Life reveals how our best friends perceive the world - from the moment they take their first morning walk to the time they curl up at our feet to go to sleep. We accompany Daisy, a Jack Russell Terrier, through an average day and on the way discover that, while dogs are not miniature humans, they are amazingly well adapted to life with us. But how well do we know them? A Dog’s Life explores the widely assumed facts that may actually be based on faulty and out-dated research. Is your dog really like a wolf? Does she need you to be the “alpha” dog, so she knows where to fit into your pack? Do they really see in black and white? Is it true that dogs have an amazing sense of direction?
Part wolf, part coyote this new hybrid species is the subject of a startlingly beautiful new film called Meet the Coywolf. A documentary that will both shock and amaze you. Coywolves emerged from a thin strip of land at the southern end of Algonquin Park less than a hundred years ago. Their arrival on the scene marks a rare event, the creation of a brand new hybrid species. A formidable wild animal that has spread across North America at an unprecedented pace, returning a new top predator to territories once roamed by wolves. Zoologist Roland Kays of the New York State Museum has been tracking these new creatures and describes them as having "a coyote like skull with wolf like teeth".
Elephant poaching worldwide has reached epidemic proportions. In Kenya, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust provides a sanctuary for baby elephants who are its greatest victims, left to die without the nurture and protection of their matriarchal herds. In 2010 a baby elephant named Sities was rescued and brought to the Trust’s Nairobi Nursery to begin her rehabilitation. Her remarkable story was followed by audiences worldwide who watched her progress from day one. Now three years later we catch up with Sities, who has reached the age where she can be integrated into the wild elephant herds of Tsavo East National Park. HOW TO BE A WILD ELEPHANT observes the challenges Sities will face as she leaves the safety of the Nursery and moves on to the next phase of her journey back to freedom.
Supermarkets are stocked with fruit year round in a global permanent summertime, but despite its accessibility, have we lost the diversity that makes it so special? The second episode of The Fruit Hunters will look at what happens when we abandon the Garden of Eden for an industrialized monoculture. In lush jungles of Borneo, Bala Tingang, an elder of one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes, lives of the wild fruits that are the key to his tribe's survival. And yet, all around the world, natural diversity is being replaced with monocultures, plantations of only one variety, bred for long shelf life and transportability rather than their taste or health properties. Not only is this lost of diversity impoverishing our taste buds, but it has catastrophic implications for our food security. In the vast uniform banana fields of Honduras, Juan Aguilar, a banana scientist, frantically tries to breed a banana resistant to a deadly fungus.
A journey through nature, commerce and adventure, The Fruit Hunters takes us from the dawn of humanity to the cutting of edge of modern agriculture — a series that will change not just the way we look at what we eat, but what it means to be human. The Fruit Hunters' first episode, "The Evolution of Desire," explores the origins of fruit's diversity and tells the story of humanity and fruit's intimate co-evolution. Every variety of fruit has a story, the story of the person who cultivated an individual plant, and then shared something wonderful with the world. To preserve this diversity is to retain this living memory. A passionate few, the fruit hunters, fight to preserve this diversity in a world increasingly dominated by economically driven monoculture.
The Great Butterfly Hunt tells the story of incredible journeys. The first is that of the remarkable Monarch migration, which is the longest insect migration on Earth, is. The second story is that of Fred Urquhart, the determined Canadian scientist who spent 40 years trying to discover exactly where the butterflies mysteriously disappeared when they flew south for the winter. The Great Butterfly Hunt is a beautiful and colourful one-hour program that combines the spectacular visuals from Flight of the Butterflies with the production’s behind-the-scenes look at how such films get made. On Thursday, January 2, when many Canadians will be groaning about the long grey winter ahead, The Great Butterfly Hunt will remind audiences of the promise of spring. And, at a time when the monarch population is in rapid decline, viewers will have an opportunity to watch one of Nature’s most dramatic feats unfold.
Is it possible that plants are smarter than we think? They are among the world's oldest and most successful organisms and represent some of the strangest and longest living life forms on the planet. Stunningly diverse, plants have served us in many critical ways, from providing food, shelter and clothing to life-saving medicine. And yet we know very little about them. A luscious exploration of the natural world, Smarty Plants effortlessly integrates pioneering science with a light hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of Utah's Great Basin Desert to the rainforests of Canada's west coast, Smarty Plants follows lead scientist and ecologist JC Cahill as he treks the green world and discovers that plants are a lot more like animals than we ever imagined. The world he reveals is one where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their enemies, call in insect allies to fight those enemies, recognize their relatives and nurture their young.
Thanks to a recent remarkable discovery in the BBC's film vaults, the best of David Attenborough's early Zoo Quest adventures can now be seen as never before, in colour, and with it the remarkable story of how this pioneering television series was made. First broadcast in December 1954, Zoo Quest was one of the most popular television series of its time and launched the career of the young David Attenborough as a wildlife presenter. It completely changed how viewers saw the world, revealing wildlife and tribal communities that had never been filmed or even seen before. Broadcast ten years before colour television was seen in the UK, Zoo Quest was thought to have been filmed in black and white, until now. Using this extraordinary new-found colour film, together with new behind-the-scenes stories from David Attenborough and cameraman Charles Lagus, this special showcases the very best of Zoo Quest to West Africa, Zoo Quest to Guiana and Zoo Quest for a Dragon in stunning HD colour for the very first time.
2016 • Nature
Our body is a true time machine. It is a mirror of the history of the living world. If an engineer today had to fabricate the ideal human, he would most likely not design us the way we are currently made. He would go to the most logical, the most efficient, the most rational; and when you look closely, this is not always what characterizes us.
For spotted hyenas, Luangwa Valley is full of threats, including predatory lions, furtive leopards, and even resentful relatives. Meet Spotty, the youngest daughter of an alpha female hyena. She's the heir apparent to the powerful Chimbwe clan, but she'll need to assert herself if she's to assume her rightful place as matriarch-in-waiting. Will she survive to adulthood and take on the throne?
The wild dogs of Luangwa Valley are organized, tenacious and strictly hierarchical under the leadership of an alpha pair. While cheetahs sprint and lions ambush, wild dogs rely on their stamina to wear prey out, sometimes running up to 20 miles at a time. But to maintain dominance, they'll need to train their youngest members to hunt effectively as part of the pack-and time is running out.
The young spotted hyena Mizumu is high-born, the son of an alpha female who leads a troop of Luangwa Valley hyenas. Despite his royal blood, he must leave the clan and set out alone once he reaches adulthood. The wilds of Luangwa are dangerous, packed with ruthless predators. He eventually makes his way toward a rival bachelor clan-but can he convince them he's a worthy addition to their ranks?
Twin lions Chief and Notch maintain a powerful bond, both to each other and to the famous Nsefu pride over which they preside. Enter a pair of nomadic rivals, flagrantly trespassing on pride land. Will the old allegiances hold or will the pride females be swayed by the lure of these bold interlopers? It falls on the brothers to demonstrate that they are the true kings of Nsefu.
It's time to check up on the Nsefu lion pride as they welcome seven new cubs into the fold, but can these new arrivals survive the hardships ahead? One of the cubs, nicknamed The Dreamer, strikes up a friendship with the awkward, now-adolescent Misfit. Together, they forge a special bond that bodes well for their future. Do these two unlikely friends have what it takes to survive?
Our epic journey through Zambia's Luangwa Valley continues with a new young leopard queen named Olimba taking over the wily Kamuti,s turf. Unlike her predecessor, Olimba has yet to acquire all the tricks of the trade, from hunting antelope to evading lions, hyenas, and even wild dogs. But the biggest threat to Olimba comes from yet another female leopard invading her space. Can she protect what is rightfully hers?
In hyena society, the females call the shots--but they're also charged with making difficult decisions. So when drought pushes a spotted hyena clan to the brink of starvation, the matriarch has a call to make: wait in the Liuwa Plains for rain that will bring wildebeest, or set out in search of a nourishing kill?
The Nsefu lion pride of Zambia are in an enviable position, with a litter of new cubs, control of the best territory on the Luangwa River, and strong males to protect them. But as the cubs grow older, pressure mounts as they begin to understand their roles and how every misstep can threaten the very existence of their family.
A six-week-old lion cub gets separated from his pride and has to face the nighttime terrors of the African bush. Cub-hungry predators, dehydration, and rival lions instinctively primed to kill are just some of the threats ahead. Can this intrepid little misfit find his way back to safety, or will the harsh rules of the wild prevail?
At the height of the Zambian dry season, three lionesses in the Nsefu pride are pregnant. Even with protection from fellow lions, the stakes couldn't be higher, from cub-hungry predators like leopards and hyenas to the hunting duties necessary to sustain the group. Can the pride meet the demands of their growing population?
Kamuti the leopard has reigned supreme over her corner of the Luangwa Valley for 10 years. She's defended her territory, hunted antelope for food, and even kept the nearby pride of lions at bay. But a younger leopard is determined to replace her. Can she survive one more challenge, or will this be her last stand?
At 13, Kamuti is one of the oldest leopards in the Luangwa region of Zambia. Old age brings many challenges, from hunting antelope to keeping a watchful eye on the lion pride nearby. Using a military-grade thermal camera, we lift the veil on the secret world of this enigmatic nocturnal predator for the first time.
Who are you going to call when beavers are behaving badly? Well, if you live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Drew Reed is the go-to 'beaver buster'. Drew works as a wetland conservationist, helping to keep the peace between beavers and people. These busy rodents are incredibly industrious - felling trees and building dams are two of their favourite occupations. This can be good news in the wild, helping create rich habitats for a variety of wildlife, but in back yards it can spell disaster. A beaver is more than capable of bringing down a tree large enough to damage property, and their dam building can result in flooded homes. Drew must do what he can to steer beavers away from trouble and stop their so-called bad behaviour.
Without water, a human can only survive for about 100 hours. But there’s a creature so resilient that it can go without it for decades. This 1-millimeter animal can survive both the hottest and coldest environments on earth, and can even withstand high levels of radiation. Thomas Boothby introduces us to the tardigrade, one of the toughest creatures on Earth.
France is known for its delicious food and wines, great art and architecture and celebrated culture of all kinds. But there’s another side to this popular destination that is not as visible, its wild side. Deep in the French countryside, it is possible for the adventurous to spot brown bears, wild boar, griffon vultures or wolves.
On the other side of the world under the crystal clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean lies one of the most enchanting places on the planet. Over ten thousand miles away on the north eastern coast of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of our world. It provides shelter to some hidden wildlife sanctuaries that contain some magical marine creatures. Iolo Williams dives deep beneath the surface of the coral sea to discover what state this natural wonder is in. He travels from the extreme swells of the northern part of the reef right down to the cooler pristine corals of the south. He discovers how healthy the Great Barrier Reef really is in some of its key locations to see and find out if there are real signs of hope the reef can survive the threat of global warming.
2018 • Nature
Documentary using groundbreaking computer graphics and close-up photography to reveal the inner alchemy that gives four extraordinary hunters the edge, from the moment they detect their prey through to the vital kill. Soaring above the people of London is the fastest animal on the planet, the peregrine falcon, on a mission to kill for her chicks. Off the coast of South Africa the world's largest predatory fish, the great white shark, has just completed a 7,000-mile journey and is hungry for seal blubber. On the plains of Africa the fastest land animal, the cheetah, struggles to provide for her cubs as her enemies move in. And having survived a drought by entering into a state of suspended animation, the prehistoric Nile crocodile is poised to ambush his dinner.
2010 • Nature
We look at the ways in which plants have adapted to survive in the harshest climates on Earth. Whether in the driest, hottest deserts or the coldest Arctic wastes, plants have come up with some ingenious ways of surviving, including eating animals and actually caring for their offspring.
The fifth programme explores the alliances formed between the animal and plant worlds. It examines the ways in which plants live together and rely on each other. Whether living together in harmony, relying on each other for homes, protection or food, or living off each other, by strangling or otherwise destroying each other in a bid to survive.
This episode examines how plants either share environments harmoniously or compete for dominance within them. It looks at the ways in which plants have to fight to survive, using any means available, be it excessive growth, capitalizing on disaster or even courting.
The final programme looks at the superorganisms formed by bees, ants and termites. Attenborough reveals that their colonies, whose individuals were once considered purely servile, are "full of conflict, power struggles and mutinies." They evolved when such creatures moved away from a solitary existence and started building nests side-by-side, which led to a collective approach to caring for their young.
The third instalment examines the spiders and others that produce silk. Attenborough visits New Zealand's Waitomo Caves, which are inhabited by fungus gnats whose illuminated larvae sit atop glistening, beaded filaments to lure their prey.
The next programme deals with flying insects. It begins in Central Europe, where the Körös River plays host to millions of giant mayflies as they rise from their larval skins to mate. — the climax of their lives. Mayflies and dragonflies were among the first to take to the air about 320 million years ago, and fossils reveal that some were similar in size to a seagull. Damselflies are also looked at in detail.
The first episode tells how invertebrates became the first creatures of any kind to colonise dry land. Their forerunners were shelled and segmented sea creatures that existed 400 million years ago. Some of them ventured out of the water to lay their eggs in safety, and Attenborough compares those first steps with today's mass spawning of horseshoe crabs off the Atlantic coast of North America.
What changes has the Earth has undergone through the eyes of the puma and leopard? From the almost complete disappearance of American wildlife to the rise of man and the industrialized and urban areas of the modern 21st century. Big cats face numerous threats to their survival.
The era of the sabretooth and many other Pleistocene creatures comes to an end. The biggest big cats ever, the lion and the tiger, become the kings of their respective habitats - but they had to fight for their place. To survive, these great cats target larger and more challenging prey.
The Pleistocene Era, when packs of saber-tooths ruled. The arrival of the new cats; early snow leopards, cheetahs, and jaguars, marked a turning point in the evolutionary track. Their emergence as their innovative hunting techniques and physical advantages enable them to dominate their habitats.
From crowned lemurs to Bornean orangutans, the higher we move up the primate family tree, the closer their behavior mimics our own-especially when it comes to family and raising young. Peer into the astonishing adaptations that highlight the lengths primates will go to preserve and build family bonds.
What's appealing about a nosy tapir with an appetite for its own poop? How about a baby gelada that crawls awkwardly on its behind? The adaptations these baby animals employ may seem strange, but they're vital to their growth and survival. Join us as we cozy up to some of nature's most peculiar young ones.
To say some baby animals are dependent on their parents is an understatement. At Caversham Wildlife Park in Australia, a koala joey can always be found clinging to its mom's body, and Asian small-clawed otter pups share a lifetime family bond. Enjoy a heart-warming look at mother-baby animal relationships.
For many endangered baby animals, the right zoo can mean hope for the entire species. Watch an endangered red panda cub get a warm welcome at Cornwall's Newquay Zoo, a rare baby macaque receive care from parents and keepers alike at the Dudley Zoological Gardens, and more.
Losing a parent in the wild can be deadly for young animals, but these orphans got lucky when conservationists stepped in. Meet clouded leopard cub sisters taken in by the Nashville Zoo, a baby wombat raised in an artificial pouch at Tasmania's Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, and more.
Meet Hope, an orphaned baby moose being raised by a goat. Nearby, watch three unruly baby raccoons cause havoc between meal times. These are some of the adorable inhabitants of Park Omega, Quebec--a place where threatened animals get a second chance.
They might be young and vulnerable, but every second of these baby animals' lives is a training ground, preparing them for their destiny as an elite predator. Watch as young lions, coyotes, cheetahs, and foxes engage in the kind of play that prepares them for life at the top of the food chain.
When you're a baby zebra, muskox, or pronghorn, there is no shortage of predators eyeing you as their next meal. From learning defensive herding to early sprinting skills, these vulnerable newborns hit the ground running with keen survival instincts.
Some species need to be part of a group to survive--more so when they're in their infancy and taking their first, uncertain steps into the world. Join in the rough-and-tumble lives of black bear cubs, playful meerkat pups, and adorable fur seals.
For many animals, from lemurs to hummingbirds, the maternal bond is one of the strongest forces in nature. Not only do mothers carry their young everywhere, feed them, and help teach them essential life skills, they're also their primary source of comfort and security.
Gorillas, rhinos, and elephants, three of nature's largest animals, deliver enormous babies. But the immense size of these newborns stands in stark contrast to their vulnerability. Everything from feeding to protection against predators to learning essential life skills falls on one devoted parent: their mothers.
Located on the Malilangwe Game Reserve in southern Zimbabwe, this 800-year-old baobab is a remarkable tree containing its own ecosystem. Capable of withstanding extreme drought by storing water in its hollow trunk, it draws a multitude of wildlife, from elephants who strip its bark in search of food, to vultures that nest on its branches. Remarkably, it also has another gift: a velvety fruit packed with an astonishing cocktail of nutrients. To witness the baobab is to be awed by the natural forces that produced it.
The Namaqua rock fig is known as the rock splitter. It's not just a testament to its ability to withstand the dry conditions, but a literal tribute to its powerful root system, which extends 200 feet into the Earth in search of water. Besides the army of wildlife who rely on it for survival, the rock splitter has a unique relationship with its own species of miniature wasp that help pollinate its tiny flowers. As temperatures soar each passing year, this ultimate survivor reaches deeper to squeeze every drop of water from the parched land.
In the misty and lush tropical forest surrounding South Africa's Soutpansberg Mountains, a 600-year-old outeniqua yellowwood tree reigns supreme. It's 115 feet tall, and a source of food and shelter for an array of plants and animals. Crowned eagles construct massive nests in her fold, and Samango monkeys take refuge in her branches. As if it wasn't unique enough, this ancient, endangered tree has no flowers, instead reproducing through male and female cones-a marvel of the natural world, and a true South African treasure.
In the northeast corner of Botswana, the rainy season is months away. The sausage tree offers a beguiling oasis for wildlife--from birds and insects, to much larger mammals like elephants--all reeling from the dry conditions. Then, as the rains descend, brilliant red flowers bloom and entice parrots, squirrels, and sunbirds to help with pollination. Summer allows the sausage tree to live up to its name, delivering massive, sausage-shaped fruit, a nutritious feast and a cornerstone of life in this exotic ecosystem.
Across the dunes of the Kalahari, a towering, 200-year-old tree extends its branches to the heavens. This camel thorn Acacia is a secret refuge for those in the know. Colonies of sociable weavers use its branches for their oversized nests. Oryx, kudu, and other herbivores feed on her ripened pods, helping soften the seeds for germination. As the rainy season descends, its branches become draped with golden flowers, a magnet for pollinating insects. For many, the Acacia is a 'tree of life.' It's a relationship as old as the Kalahari itself.
This documentary focuses specifically on insects. Giving you an unbelieveably up close and intimate view of the many unique secrets of the bug world. Answering scientific questions on how and why they have evolved certain bizarre adaptations, whilst using stunning imagery never seen before.
2018 • Nature
Peanut, Hero and Tarzan are three cheeky monkeys. They live on the paradise Indonesian island of Sulawesi with the rest of their gang of crested black macaques. These very special primates are found nowhere else in the world. Twenty-five years ago, wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson visited Sulawesi for the first time and now he's returned. Fascinated by the monkeys, Colin hopes to reveal their sometimes violent, often playful and, just like our own, highly political world. What he discovers leads him on a much bigger journey than he was ever expecting.
On the southern coast of Africa lies Algoa Bay--a protected refuge for the continent's only penguin species. Join them in their quest for survival as they brave unforgiving elements to build an unlikely marine community.
Just off the southern coast of Africa, beneath the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, lies a safe zone created by a unique confluence of geography and climate: a sanctuary with a vibrant concentration of dazzling aquatic life. Embark on an underwater adventure into a marine wilderness stronghold.
From the dangerous tarantulas on the forest floor to the high flyers in the canopy, spiders thrive on every level of this tropical rainforest. Starting on the ground and working the way up to the top, visit with and learn about a few of the 46 thousand species of spiders.
2018 • Nature
David Attenborough tells the revealing story of this Caribbean island's exotic but vulnerable wildlife. A team of conservation champions are making it their mission to save the most precious species. We see how Puerto Rican parrots, manatees and turtles are now making a comeback.
The world's biggest beasts have always captured the imagination. But whilst being big can have its advantages, it also comes with sizeable challenges. Take the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, whose huge appetite means it must take on prey ten times its weight, or the tallest animal of them all - the giraffe - who, with such a long neck, must control immense blood pressure. Nature's biggest beasts must go to extraordinary lengths to thrive. These are their epic survival stories!
Liz meets the animal rebels who will stop at nothing to survive. From cockatoos vandalising houses in Sydney, to crabs who hold nemones hostage to protect themselves, it seems there are no lengths these animals won't go to. Liz sets out to see these animals in action, revealing the science behind their extreme behaviours. She meets the sloth whose disgusting hygiene habits may help hide it from predators, the stone martens who cause millions of pounds' worth of damage to cars to protect their territories and the chimpanzees who use bullying tactics to get to the top. As Liz discovers, when life in the wild gets tough, this outrageous behaviour could just be the key to survival.
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.
Liz Bonnin meets the animals using outlandish means to find a mate and raise a family. From feisty mongooses who start wars to pick the perfect partner, to swaggering peacocks faking a mating call and thieving macaques who kidnap babies to get ahead, the natural world appears to be rife with animal rogues.
From powerful sharks to mysterious fish shoals, the underwater dynamic between predator and prey is a never-ending one. Join these amazing creatures as they employ both offensive and defensive evolutionary adaptations, such as sharp senses and swarm intelligence, in their bid for survival.
Staying alive is the first priority for all creatures--and with clever adaptations like poison and mimicry, some species defy the odds to outwit predators. From the hoverfly to the scarlet kingsnake, join us on a fascinating rundown of some uniquely successful survivors.
From the stealthy tarantula to the prehistoric Komodo dragon to the deceptive mosquito--one of the more prolific modern predators--killers come in all shapes and sizes. Join us as we examine the deadly adaptations of these cold-blooded culprits.
Aerial predators like owls, falcons, and eagles have keen senses that allow them to see and hear things that would normally go unnoticed by other species. Fly alongside these magnificent raptors at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy in Ontario as they showcase the full range of their hunting abilities.
Lions, hyenas, cheetahs, and the highly intelligent African painted dog all have different, but brutally efficient, hunting instincts. Meet these intimidating rulers of the African plains and learn the secrets of their secure reign at the top of the natural food chain.
Two North American species have nearly vanished from their natural habitat in the course of the last century, due to a host of human and environmental factors. Can the elk and the wild turkey of Ontario be successfully brought back? Join the team of daring and ambitious scientists making it happen.
Bat populations are plummeting from a seemingly unstoppable fungal infection. Meanwhile, northern flying squirrels are being crowded out by their southern cousins. Learn about the life-or-death challenges faced by key wildlife in two of the Great Lakes region's most delicate ecosystems.
What can the struggles of sturgeons and muskrats, two key Great Lakes species, tell us about the impact of upstream dams on the local ecosystem? Join conservationists as they assess the threats to the habitats of these animals and weigh options to counteract the damage before it's too late.
Peregrine falcons are slowly rebounding from the edge of extinction, while snapping turtles face different life-threatening challenges. Learn about conservation efforts in Ontario, Canada to help give these threatened species a boost while they fight back.
Should a creature's bad reputation impact its survival prospects? As the venomous massasauga rattlesnake edges towards extinction and cormorants in Toronto destroy the trees they nest in, accommodating these misunderstood species has never been more important.
The Lake Erie water snake, once on the brink of extinction, now looks to be rebounding--thanks mainly to the invasive goby fish that's wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes ecosystem. Can scientists studying this environmental anomaly find a healthy ecological balance?
Of the more than 180 invasive species found in the Great Lakes, two in particular stand out for their indiscriminate devastation: the fast-breeding Asian carp and the deadly sea lamprey. Join the front lines of an urgent battle to limit the impact of their ecological damage.
On an island in the world's largest freshwater lake, a single, isolated population of moose battle for survival against a pack of wolves. Find out how this delicate ecosystem in the midst of Lake Superior reveals invaluable scientific information on the dynamics of predator-prey relationships.
In this episode, Chris reveals how the world's most spectacular grasslands flourish, despite being short of one essential nutrient - nitrogen. As it turns out, the secret lies with the animals. There are the white rhinos of Kenya that create nitrogen hotspots by trimming and fertilising the grass. They are drawn to these particular points by communal toilets or 'fecal facebooks', where they meet and greet each other. In the whistling acacia grasslands of Kenya, Chris reveals the amazing relationships between termites, geckos, ants, monkeys and giraffes that make these places so rich in wildlife
The Orange River travels almost two-thirds the length of South Africa to reach its most scenic checkpoint: The mighty Augrabies Falls. Widely regarded as one of the six great waterfalls on Earth, it is also an interminable source of hydration and food for the wildlife that live near its waters.
Sandwiched between the Limpopo and Luvuvhu rivers in South Africa lies Pafuri, a multi-habitat area with astonishingly biodiverse animal and plant life--including the famous fever tree, rumored to cause illness to anyone who lives near it. Dive into this secret corner of Kruger National Park.
Garden Route National Park is a patchwork of protected areas that safeguard a range of land and marine habitats in southern Africa. Take a tour of this conservationist paradise offering hope for creatures as varied as the humpback whale, the blue duiker antelope, and the Knysna seahorse--the only endangered seahorse in the world.
Chobe is Botswana's first national park, as well as the name of the mighty river that runs through it. Explore how its iconic species, like elephants, baboons, and lions, pass on their secrets of survival to the youngest members of their families.
The riverbeds that carve their way through the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park offer a tantalizing promise of life, as well as a fierce test of survival. Explore the hidden lifelines that create a fragile link for the creatures that inhabit this unwelcoming wilderness.
From mountain zebras to shy and secretive caracals, Karoo National Park showcases a diversity of creatures who have adapted to demanding environmental conditions. Scale the varying altitudes of this nature reserve's vast landscape.
The name iSimangaliso means "Miracle" in Zulu--and the sheer number of species sustained by this diverse haven live up to this name. Explore this rare sanctuary, home to some of the world's most striking and iconic creatures, including the black rhino and the giant leatherback turtle.
Nicknamed "Cape of Storms," Table Mountain National Park teems with life despite its unforgiving weather conditions. Dive into the contrasts of this harsh world and learn about the life it harbors, including the fynbos--plant life that demands brush fire in order to spread its seeds and rejuvenate.
The vast plains of Addo Elephant National Park stretch more than 600 square miles into South Africa's interior. Embark on a thrilling journey through this unique wilderness sanctuary and meet its most endangered resident: the African elephant.
A polar bear mother keeps watch over her cub as they wait for the coming winter and the plentiful feeding opportunities it brings. But there are threats abound: from cannibalistic male bears, to the devastating impact of climate change, which has delayed the seasonal freeze and put them at risk of starvation.
Every year, thousands of salmon make their way upstream along the nearly 2000-mile-long mighty Yukon River, desperate to reach spawning beds. Eagerly checking their progress is a host of hungry predators, from grizzly bears to bald eagles-all desperate to stock up on protein before the long winter months ahead.
Every summer, the frozen waters of Hudson Bay partially thaw for a few short months. For migrating beluga whales, it's a seasonal window of feeding and breeding opportunities, but for polar bears, it's a famine-filled test of their survival. Explore the shifting fortunes of a vibrant Arctic world.
North Atlantic bowhead whales have the largest mouths of any living creature and can live up to 200 years. In fact, some still carry harpoon fragments from a century ago. Join two intrepid Inuit tribesmen as they venture into the harsh Arctic region known as Ninginganiq to witness a gathering of these mysterious and awe-inspiring giants.
As the days shorten and the temperature drops, the inhabitants of Nunavik, Quebec prepare to face the approaching arctic winter. Watch as muskoxen fatten up, ptarmigans hunt for berries, and Inuit make use of the last warm days of the year.
The Mackenzie Delta is an Arctic network of channels and islands at the mouth of Canada's largest river. It's home to the ancient Inuit, as well as a variety of highly specialized wildlife, including the sonorous sandhill and majestic peregrine falcon. Follow them as they contend with a rapidly changing climate.
Canada's Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island in the world--and with good reason. Temperatures below freezing for nine months of the year and an annual rainfall comparable to the Gobi Desert leave the icy landscape so barren that NASA uses it to simulate conditions on Mars. Take an exhilarating expedition into a land where only the most experienced Inuit hunters dare set foot.
The American Dipper can plunge its head into freezing Arctic water up to 60 times a minute. In the summer, ferocious mosquitoes can draw up to a pint of blood a day from caribou. Take a fascinating look into the Arctic seasons and the impact that rising sea levels have on local wildlife, and, ultimately, our own world.
The Maldives are the lowest country in the world-and getting lower, due to rising sea levels. Especially at risk is the island's reef system, the biggest in the Indian Ocean, with over 200 types of coral and thousands of tropical fish species. Witness the race to preserve this marine paradise from the ravages of climate change.
Beneath Indonesia's coral reef, tiny creatures have made the murky seabed their home. Here, you'll find shrimps that kill with a whip-fast punch, toxic nudibranch sea slugs, and six of the nine species of the world's walking sharks. Dive into the depths of this unlikely ocean ecosystem.
Indonesia's marine rainforests are under threat, and rising sea temperatures and destructive fishing practices have taken a toll. However, conservation initiatives in hundreds of protected marine zones have given hope to the giant manta rays, 300 species of coral, and six of the world's seven sea turtle species that call this ecosystem home.
The vibrant reef ecosystem of Raja Ampat, off the coast of Indonesia, is home to a conservation sanctuary twice the size of Singapore. It's one of the few places on Earth where two different species of manta ray live side by side. Join a dedicated team of conservationists as they track these mysterious creatures to safeguard their future.
In Palau, the local economy relies on ecotourism that's sustained by strong legal support. Shark hunting is banned, giant manta rays are protected by law, and tireless efforts are made to combat the acidification an ocean ecosystem housing coral reefs. But can ambitious conservation keep pace with the scale of man-made devastation?
Palau has set up the world's first shark sanctuary-a California-sized marine zone where hunting these endangered predators is strictly prohibited. Can this tiny island-nation defend against a sophisticated army of poachers? Join the front lines to save one of the ocean's most cherished and endangered predators.
In three decades, the waters around the remote village of Cabo Pulmo have gone from wildly biodiverse, to barren, to a bountiful and pristine haven for mighty sharks and flying rays once again. See how local fishermen ultimately turned back the clock, restoring one of the world's most majestic coral reefs.
The Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest coral reef system in the world. Estimated to be nearly 4,000 years old, its waters are home to an immense marine ecosystem. Explore a deep blue wilderness brimming with rare, exotic fish, sea turtles, sharks, and huge green morays.
Explore the wild blue Caribbean waters of Cozumel, a lush paradise packed with marine surprises. From the spectacular Paso Del Cedral coral reef to the world's longest subterranean underwater cave system, go where only the bravest divers dare venture.
Forty miles north of Honduras, near the Bay Island of Roatan, is a spectacular and pristinely preserved coral atoll: the Mesoamerican Reef. Explore the abundant and diverse marine life, lush vegetation, and magnificent caves of this rare underwater wonder.
Three hundred and seventy miles off the coast of Mexico in the eastern Pacific, the waters surrounding Socorro Island are home to some of the world's largest marine life. Take a deep dive through surging currents and majestic coral reefs with whale sharks, giant manta rays, and more.
Tells the story of life on earth in the course of one single day, narrated by Robert Redford and made by BBC Earth Films. This film features stunning visuals and scored a 100 per cent positive rating on the critical aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. The family feature took three years to make, was filmed over 142 filming days in 22 countries and features 38 different species. It takes viewers up close and personal with a cast of unforgettable characters - a baby zebra desperate to cross a swollen river, a penguin who heroically undertakes a death-defying daily commute to feed his family, a family of sperm whales who like to snooze vertically, and a sloth on the hunt for love. 'As a storyteller and film-maker I often look to nature for sources of inspiration', said Robert Redford, narrator. 'In Earth: One Amazing Day, BBC Earth Films captured the natural world and its inhabitants using the perfect combination of storytelling and cutting-edge technology. The scenes and images are as inspirational as they are beautiful, and I was honoured to be a part of the film'. Told with humour, intimacy, emotion and a jaw-dropping sense of cinematic splendour, this film is a colourful, ultra-vivid family friendly adventure that spectacularly highlights how every day the natural world is filled with more unseen dramas and wonders than can possibly be imagined - until now.
2018 • Nature
The rains are late. It is the most brutal time of year. Babies born into drought face starvation. The weak and the injured are weeded out. Everything is desperate for rain. When it finally arrives, it is a downpour on an enormous scale. Alien creatures emerge into a different world. The wet season begins.
It’s October in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. The hottest and harshest time of year. But this year dry season conditions are exacerbated by a global El Nino event… the Valley is in the throes of drought. There’s been no rain since April and desperate animals are drawn to the only remaining source of water in the Valley – the dwindling Luangwa River...
The Luangwa Valley in Zambia experiences one of the toughest dry seasons imaginable. Seven months with no rain and spiralling temperatures. And with this year’s El Nino conditions the drought is threatening to be even more intense than usual.
Formed from the remains of a 2.5 million-year-old imploded volcano, the Ngorongoro crater is a study in contradictions: On one hand, it's a self-sustained and plentiful land that provides for the many animals that call it home. Conversely, its isolation threatens the existence of many of its key species. What does the future hold for this unique habitat?
Two male ocelots, among the rarest wild cats of the Pantanal, are fighting it out over a freshly killed anaconda. In the distance, the loudest land animal in the Western Hemisphere, the howler monkey, fills the air with its primal cry. There's excitement at every turn in this protected South American wetland.
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.
The Mesoamerican Reef is the second longest on the planet--a threatened world of coastal wetlands, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds. That it exists at all is testament to decades of tireless activism, sustainable tourism, responsible fishing, and strict policing. Join us as we tour its many delights.
Decades ago, Monterey Bay National Sanctuary was on the brink of ecological disaster. Today, it is a lush world of sandy sea floors and twisting seaweed jungles. Explore the home of 525 species of fish and 34 species of marine mammal, including the only species of sea lion with a growing population.
With coastal mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and vibrant coral reefs, the Florida Keys are home to a wealth of underwater environments, all connected by what scientists have dubbed the 'Corridor of Life.' Take a journey through the vital underwater sanctuaries that preserve these delicate ecosystems.
With crystal-clear waters, breathtaking marine life, and teeming biodiversity, the Caribbean island of Bonaire is a top destination for ecotourists. Visit one of the world's great ocean parks and see how the influx of travelers is fueling an ambitious project to conserve it.
The older a species, the better it is at adapting to change. From the ancient lineage of sharks, who've evolved into perfect predators, to the living fossil known as the bichir, get a closer look at some of nature's enduring evolutionary masters.
From penguins whose salt-removing eye glands shield them from the harsh ocean to caterpillars whose fake facial markings are meant to mimic a snake's, animals have evolved in amazing ways to see and be seen. Meet these creatures and see how they use eyes and illusions to their advantage.
When did we start riding horses? When did dogs become man's best friend? Answering questions like these help us understand our impact on other species' evolutionary journeys - a crucial step toward ensuring our survival doesn't necessarily come at the expense of their own.
Why are vultures bald? Why do some orangutans have big cheeks? And if giraffes have long necks to help them reach the highest leaves, why do they mostly eat low-lying shrubs? Embark on a whirlwind tour around the world as we explore some of nature's most-fascinating evolutionary wonders.
There are more than 370 species of birds unique to Australia, including flightless wonders like the prehistoric-looking cassowary and the dramatic male Victoria's riflebird, whose elaborate and flamboyant mating ritual just can't be ignored. Venture into the natural habitat of these avian oddities as they showcase their unique takes on family life.
Emus are unique: Native only to Australia, they're the second largest bird in the world and can trace their lineage back to the dinosaurs. When males incubate their eggs, they don't eat, drink, or even go to the bathroom until the job is done. Follow the fascinating life of this flightless bird as it stubbornly defies the odds by doing things its own way.
Despite their diminutive stature, little penguins are a formidable species. They spend months at sea hunting, they mate for life, and when gulls threaten to steal their hard-earned fish, they band together in groups for self-defense. Journey to the sandy beaches of Southern Australia, where the tiniest penguin species on the planet is living large.
At more than 1,200 miles, the Orange River is the longest in South Africa. Join as we trace its westward journey, bringing to its shores a diverse sample of African wildlife, large and small. From powerful swimming birds like the African darter, to flat lizards who inhabit the granite rocks of the mighty Augrabies Falls, it's the journey of life-bringing water passing through some of the continent's most diverse and dramatic landscapes.
Explore a corner of Namibia dominated by stifling heat and parched sand, where a desolate landscape of haunting beauty lies. While most of Etosha National Park is devoid of growth, its margins are dotted with a series of oases that attract herds of thirsty creatures: antelopes, exotic birds, and the world's biggest elephants.
Venture into the heart of Namibia, where some parts of the landscape receive less than an inch of rain each year. Yet, despite its arid nature, the southern drylands exude a desolate beauty thanks in part to the massive sand dunes--the largest in the world--that dominate its Atlantic coastline.
Known as "the roof of Africa," the Simien Mountains offer a glimpse at some of the rarest creatures on the continent. Among plunging cliffs that give way to lush greenery and foggy skies, learn how native wildlife like the magnificent walia ibex and cunning Simien wolf have adapted to this remote alpine terrain.
With every step towards the summit of the mighty Drakensberg, new species of exotic animals showcase the attributes that enable them to endure their harsh mountain home. Meet the sungazer, the intriguingly named suicide lizard, and other reptiles that inhabit South Africa's high-altitude terrain.
Lake St. Lucia, Africa's largest estuary lake, is under siege. A series of human missteps have left it cut off from the sea, and the water levels are dangerously low. The wildlife relying on its ecosystem are most affected--from hippos and crocodiles that live on its banks, to exotic birds that migrate from as far as 6,000 miles away. Can they adjust to the new, drier reality imposed on them?
Many of the great rivers of southern Africa start high up in mountain ranges, power their way eastwards across wild forests and grasslands, and eventually empty out into the Indian Ocean. Ride the currents of these powerful bodies of water as they reshape the lives of the wild animals who rely on them.
For the animals of the Okavango Delta, life itself depends on a fortuitous natural anomaly: a river that cuts through the mighty Kalahari Desert. Embark on a tour of this accidental paradise, where a colorful ecosystem of plants, animals, and birds flourish in the unexpected abundance.
The Serengeti is one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth--but it's also the scene of some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made. Join us as we meet the modern inhabitants of this ancient land, and track how their evolution helped shape our understanding of human origins.
Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain and volcano in the world. Join wildlife expert Jean du Plessis as he makes the perilous summit climb through its five vastly different climates to understand how quickly its famed glaciers are melting.
In the Gulf of Oman, survival is all about defense. Some species of sea urchins and sea slugs rely on toxins to keep predators at bay, while guitarfish use their size and armored bodies to stay off the menu. Peek into a little-known reef where fortune favors the bold and the well-prepared.
Despite the scorching heat, a cold upwelling of nutrients in the Gulf of Oman creates favorable conditions for a host of marine migrants. The behemoth whale shark, hawksbill turtle, and millions of tiny, exotic fish settle in to feast. Take a plunge into the algae-cloaked coral reefs of this underwater tapestry.
High above the skies of Israel, an avian migration of staggering proportions attracts birdwatchers from all over the world. From gliding birds like the short-toed eagle to waders like red-necked phalaropes, here's your chance to track one of the most important stops on the bird migration route--no binoculars needed.
Since the Suez Canal's completion in 1869, more than 350 species of plants and sea creatures have migrated through it. Now, over half the marine species in the Mediterranean Sea used to live in the Red Sea, and the ecological ramifications of the canal are still being studied. Dive into the new underwater world that's resulted from this seismic migration.
In southern Israel, two vastly different worlds live side-by-side. A tropical sea and ancient coral reef teem with aquatic life alongside a harsh desert landscape filled with hardy reptiles and alien acacia trees. Venture into a part of Israel that few people imagine exists.
Sir David Attenborough tells the stories of the world's best animal architects. There are house-proud bower birds, who only find a mate if they decorate their homes perfectly. There are hornets, who build electric central heating systems, and the star-nosed mole, whose house is designed so well that worms, his favourite meal, literally drop in for dinner. From larders to nurseries and from high-rises to subway systems, Attenborough shows that the animal architects have designed it long before humans.
In Taiji, Japan, local fishermen hide a gruesome secret: the capture and slaughter of dolphins. Activist Ric O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the "Flipper" TV series, joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society to expose the brutal practice, risking life and limb in the process.
2009 • Nature
Scientists around the world are asking themselves the same questions. Over the decades the focus on dolphin research has changed from asking “how intelligent are dolphins?” to “how are dolphins intelligent?” and we look at research from the world's foremost dolphin experts for the answers.
Steve Backshall reveals the incredible influence that insects and their close relatives have on Earth's many ecosystems. In the grasslands of South America the landscape has been created almost solely by one team of insects - grass-cutter ants. Across the world's oceans one tiny creature plays such a key role that, without it, the largest animal on our planet, the blue whale, could not exist. And in East Africa the savannah would quickly be swamped in dung were it not for the activities of a certain beetle. Yet the greatest influence of all comes from a group of insects that have ultimately changed the colour and diversity of our planet.
Steve Backshall explores the connections and relationship that we have with insects and other arthropods. In Kenya, huge armies of driver ants give houses a five-star clean-up, and in China, we discover how silkworm caterpillars have shaped our culture and distribution. While locusts devastate crops in Africa, bees and beetles across the world provide a key link in our food chains. Many of us perceive these animals merely as creepy crawlies and nothing more than a nuisance, but as Steve reveals, we couldn't live without them.
During summer, the Atlantic coast of the northeastern United States attracts huge amounts of fish and wildlife. Particularly interesting are the basking sharks, the world’s second-largest fish, and the leatherback sea turtles, which weigh one ton and are the world’s largest reptile.
The Comb-crested Jacanas are unique birds that use their long toes to walk delicately across lotus leaves and catch underwater prey. This episode, filmed between the rainy season and dry season in Kakadu, follows a father bird raising his chicks through their dramatic and difficult first year.
So, you think you know penguins? Experience life in "Penguin Paradise", on South Island, New Zealand, from which the first penguins are supposed to have evolved. Home to unusual penguins like the Little Penguin, and the forest-dwelling crested Fiordland Penguin - it is a penguin wonderland!
Once a mountain kingdom of ancient palaces and emperors, Korea in the 21st century is largely known for its modern cities and decades of conflict. Tensions between North and South may be what defines it to outsiders but beyond the battle scars there is another side to Korea. In the south are large pockets of untouched wilderness where extraordinary animals flourish and Koreans continue to practice age-old traditions in tandem with the seasons and with nature. It is in these connections, rather than in division, that we see the true Korea. At the southernmost tip of the peninsular we follow a pod of bottlenose dolphins through the volcanic islands of Jeju. They click at each other as they encounter a human in their midst, but the dolphins know this diver well - they have shared the ocean with the Haenyeo, or sea women, for thousands of years. We travel onwards to the isolated island of Marado, where three generations of sea women are preparing for a dive. Today is the start of the conch season, and they work hard whatever the weather to maximise their catch. In the grounds of an ancient palace on the mainland, a raccoon dog family takes advantage of a rare event. Just once every five years, hundreds of cicadas emerge from below ground providing an easy feast for the raccoon dogs who voraciously fill their bellies. Those that escape their jaws make for the safety of the trees, where they metamorphosise into their flying form. On the mud flats of Suncheon Bay we find a habitat that is neither land nor sea. Only recently has the ecological value of mudflats been recognised. A staggering 50 per cent of the earth's oxygen is produced by phytoplankton - microscopic algae that are found here in great abundance. That is why the mudflats are known locally as the lungs of the earth. Plankton is far from the only life here - the mud of the bay is rich in nutrients and supports one of the most diverse ecosystems on the peninsula. We follow the story of a young mudskipper who has emerged for his first mating season. His journey to find love is paved with obstacles.
2018 • Nature
Details coastal environments and the effect of tides, of which the highest can be found in the Bay of Fundy in North America. In places, erosion is causing the land to retreat, while in others — such as the tropics — the expansion of mangroves causes it to advance.
Attenborough describes the course the Amazon, starting high up in the Andes of Peru, whose streams flow into the great river. Young rivers are by nature vigorous and dangerous: they flow fast and form rapids, thick with mud and sediment.
Ascends a kapok in the South American tropical rainforest to observe "the greatest proliferation of life that you can find anywhere on the surface of the Earth. There are two main causes for this: warmth and wetness. As this climate is constant, there are no seasons, so trees vary greatly in their flowering cycles.
Begins in northern Norway, 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Here, there is only just enough light for the pine trees to survive, but it is extremely cold during the winter. Pine cone seeds provide one of the few foods available at this time of year, and large herbivores such as the moose must also rely on their fat reserves.
Describes the inhospitable habitats of snow and ice. Mount Rainier in America is an example of such a place: there is no vegetation, therefore no herbivores and thus no carnivores. However, beneath its frosty surface, algae grow and some insects, such as ladybirds visit the slopes. Africa’s mountains are permanently snow-covered, and beneath peaks such as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, there are communities of plants and animals.
Visits the world's deepest valley: the Kali Gandaki river in the Himalayas. Its temperatures range from those of the tropics in its lower reaches to that of the poles higher up. It therefore shows how creatures become adapted to living in certain environments.
Professor Richard Fortey investigates the remains of ancient volcanic lake in Germany where stunningly well-preserved fossils of early mammals, giant insects and even perhaps our oldest known ancestor have been found. Among the amazing finds are bats as advanced and sophisticated as anything living today, more than 50-million-years-later; dog-sized 'Dawn' horses, the ancestor of the modern horse; and giant ants as large as a hummingbird.
At the very northern edge of North America is Ellesmere Island, where the unforgiving Arctic winds tear through the tundra, dipping temperatures to 40 below zero. Running through this shifting sea of snow and ice is one of the most hardened predators on the planet, the White Wolf. But as the spring melt approaches, these roaming hunters must adapt to being tethered parents as new additions to the pack have just been born. With their herds of prey continuing to move, we witness a desperate race to keep up and bring back a kill to the hungry mothers and cubs. Traveling farther and farther away from their den each day puts these hunters and their children at risk in this fight for survival.
2018 • Nature
Intelligence and adaptability allow primates to tackle the many challenges of life, and this is what makes our closest relatives so successful. This resourcefulness has enabled primates to conquer an incredible diversity of habitat. Hamadryas baboons live on the open plains of Ethiopia in groups up to 400 strong. Strength in numbers gives them some protection from potential predators. But, should their path cross with other baboon troops, it can lead to all-out battle, as males try to steal females from one another, and even settle old scores. Japanese macaques are the most northerly-dwelling primates and they experience completely different challenges. Some beat the freezing conditions by having access to a thermal spa in the middle of winter. But this privilege is only for those born of the right female bloodline. For western lowland gorillas, it's the male silverback that leads his family group in the rich forests of the Congo basin. He advertises his status to all with a powerful chest-beating display. Most primates are forest dwellers, and one of the strangest is the tarsier – the only purely carnivorous primate. As it hunts for insects the tarsier leaps from tree to tree in the dead of night, using its huge forward-facing eyes to safely judge each jump. Good communication is essential for success in primate society.
Plants' solutions to life's challenges are as ingenious and manipulative as any animal's. Innovative time-lapse photography opens up a parallel world where plants act like fly-paper, or spring-loaded traps, to catch insects. Vines develop suckers and claws to haul themselves into the rainforest canopy. Every peculiar shape proves to have a clever purpose. The dragon's blood tree is like an upturned umbrella to capture mist and shade its roots. The seed of a Bornean tree has wings so aerodynamic they inspired the design of early gliders. The barrel-shaped desert rose is full of water. The heliconia plant even enslaves a humming bird and turns it into an addict for its nectar.
Marine invertebrates are some of the most bizarre and beautiful animals on the planet, and thrive in the toughest parts of the oceans. Divers swim into a shoal of predatory Humboldt squid as they emerge from the ocean depths to hunt in packs. When cuttlefish gather to mate, their bodies flash in stroboscopic colours. Time-lapse photography reveals thousands of starfish gathering under the Arctic ice to devour a seal carcass. A giant octopus commits suicide for her young. A camera follows her into a cave which she walls up, then she protects her eggs until she starves. The greatest living structures on earth, coral reefs, are created by tiny animals in some of the world's most inhospitable waters.
Mammals' ability to learn new tricks is the key to survival in the knife-edge world of hunters and hunted. In a TV first, a killer whale off the Falklands does something unique: it sneaks into a pool where elephant seal pups learn to swim and snatches them, saving itself the trouble of hunting in the open sea. Slow-motion cameras reveal the star-nosed mole's newly-discovered technique for smelling prey underwater: it exhales then inhales a bubble of air ten times per second. Young ibex soon learn the only way to escape a fox - run up an almost vertical cliff face - and young stoats fight mock battles, learning the skills that make them one of the world's most efficient predators.
There are 200 million insects for each of us. They are the most successful animal group ever. Their key is an armoured covering that takes on almost any shape. Darwin's stag beetle fights in the tree tops with huge curved jaws. The camera flies with millions of monarch butterflies which migrate 2000 miles, navigating by the sun. Super slow motion shows a bombardier beetle firing boiling liquid at enemies through a rotating nozzle. A honey bee army stings a raiding bear into submission. Grass cutter ants march like a Roman army, harvesting grass they cannot actually eat. They cultivate a fungus that breaks the grass down for them. Their giant colony is the closest thing in nature to the complexity of a human city.
Birds owe their global success to feathers - something no other animal has. They allow birds to do extraordinary things. For the first time, a slow-motion camera captures the unique flight of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird as he flashes long, iridescent tail feathers in the gloomy undergrowth. Aerial photography takes us into the sky with an Ethiopian lammergeier dropping bones to smash them into edible-sized bits. Thousands of pink flamingoes promenade in one of nature's greatest spectacles. The sage grouse rubs his feathers against his chest in a comic display to make popping noises that attract females. The Vogelkop bowerbird makes up for his dull colour by building an intricate structure and decorating it with colourful beetles and snails.
Fish dominate the planet's waters through their astonishing variety of shape and behaviour. The beautiful weedy sea dragon looks like a creature from a fairytale, and the male protects their eggs by carrying them on his tail for months. The sarcastic fringehead, meanwhile, appears to turn its head inside out when it fights. Slow-motion cameras show the flying fish gliding through the air like a flock of birds and capture the world's fastest swimmer, the sailfish, plucking sardines from a shoal at 70 mph. And the tiny Hawaiian goby undertakes one of nature's most daunting journeys, climbing a massive waterfall to find safe pools for breeding.
Mammals dominate the planet. They do it through having warm blood and by the care they lavish on their young. Weeks of filming in the bitter Antarctic winter reveal how a mother Weddell seal wears her teeth down keeping open a hole in the ice so she can catch fish for her pup. A powered hot air balloon produces stunning images of millions of migrating bats as they converge on fruiting trees in Zambia, and slow-motion cameras reveal how a mother rufous sengi exhausts a chasing lizard. A gyroscopically stabilised camera moves alongside migrating caribou, and a diving team swim among the planet's biggest fight as male humpback whales battle for a female.
Reptiles and amphibians look like hang-overs from the past. But they overcome their shortcomings through amazing innovation. The pebble toad turns into a rubber ball to roll and bounce from its enemies. Extreme slow-motion shows how a Jesus Christ lizard runs on water, and how a chameleon fires an extendible tongue at its prey with unfailing accuracy. The camera dives with a Niuean sea snake, which must breed on land but avoids predators by swimming to an air bubble at the end of an underwater tunnel. In a TV first, Komodo dragons hunt a huge water-buffalo, biting it to inject venom, then waiting for weeks until it dies. Ten dragons strip the carcass to the bone in four hours.
In nature, living long enough to breed is a monumental struggle. Many animals and plants go to extremes to give themselves a chance. Uniquely, three brother cheetahs band together to bring down a huge ostrich. Aerial photography reveals how bottle-nosed dolphins trap fish in a ring of mud, and time-lapse cameras show how the Venus flytrap ensnares insect victims. The strawberry frog carries a tadpole high into a tree and drops it in a water-filled bromeliad. The frog must climb back from the ground every day to feed it. Fledgling chinstrap penguins undertake a heroic and tragic journey through the broken ice to get out to sea. Many can barely swim and the formidable leopard seal lies in wait.
Sophie looks at one skill in particular that seems to give humans an advantage over all other animals - our superior talent for language. She explores what language really is, and how close other animals come to having it. She considers the world of primates and the theory that some apes may communicate through sign language, and reveals how, even in the womb, humans start to practise making the mouth movements needed for speech. But language isn't just a power to combine words. Professor Scott explores how we convey information through the tone of voice, our accents and the pace and pitch of our speech. But in a world when we regularly talk to computers, she also shows why scientists need to develop machines that can understand the subtleties of our speech. Finally, she looks at language in this digital age and explores the role that emojis play.
3/3 • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life • 2017 • Nature
Sophie explores the world of silent communication in the animal kingdom and the human world - showing how much we can actually say without ever opening our mouths or making a noise. She reveals how some species have harnessed bacteria to generate light and how light messages are used by insects and deep-sea fish for a range of reasons, including attracting prey. Exploring how body language communicates huge amounts about us and other species, Professor Scott shows why a dog's wagging tail does not always mean it is happy and how humans can tell a lot about someone's state of mind from their posture alone. She reveals why yawns and smiles are contagious and how this can play a key role in social bonding and cohesion.
2/3 • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life • 2017 • Nature
Sophie is joined in the theatre by chirping crickets, hissing cockroaches and groaning deer to reveal the very different ways that animals have adapted their bodies to send audible messages that are vital to their species. She also explores how and why the human voice evolved to become the most versatile sound producer in the natural world. She demonstrates what sound actually is and how it travels. Unpacking the power behind sound, she uses it to shatter glass and reveal how the human body can resonate in a way that amplifies our voices to send our messages further. She also explores how different species use very different frequencies to communicate and why humans can only hear a fraction of these animal messages. Finally, she investigates why we all have unique vocal prints, and how computers are learning to recognise these.
1/3 • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Language of Life • 2017 • Nature
The highest mountain range on earth is home to extraordinary animals and remarkable ancient cultures. In the depths of winter, snow leopards creep into isolated mountain villages in search of food. In hidden valleys, bizarre-looking monkeys huddle for warmth in a frozen forest. Ancient Buddhist monasteries have age-old rituals creating beautiful works of art made from mountain sand and athletes compete in the gruelling Everest marathon. Strange and exotic creatures live in the Himalaya - the chiru, with the warmest wool in the world, snakes bathing in hot springs and wild yak competing in their annual rut. Breathtaking photography reveals a lost world of surprises in the latest landmark wildlife series from the BBC.
The Rockies are the spine of North America, a beautiful wilderness of snow-capped peaks and hidden valleys. Cougars hunt in abandoned ranches, wolverines search the deep snow for food and grizzly bears hunt in the high mountain meadows. Daredevil wingsuit flier’s leap from mile-high cliffs and Native American tribes compete in breakneck horse races. It is also the range of surprises, with tiny cannibal salamanders hunting in mountain ponds and hummingbirds making enormous migrations
Cats are said to hate water, crave warmth and only eat meat. But in episode three, Super Cats, viewers are introduced to the wild cats that break all the feline rules. From jaguars with sub-aqua skills to tigers that can survive temperatures of minus forty, the programme reveals how cats have developed super powers to survive in the most unlikely landscapes. As well as the iconic big cats, in this final episode viewers get a glimpse into the lives of the most rare and strange cats of all – including a real-life Garfield recently discovered living high in the Himalayas. It’s revealed how the cats’ ability to adapt to extremes has made them some of the most successful predators on the planet.
The Galapagos Islands are home to some animals that washed up on the islands millions of years ago and have made adaptations. Penguins, iguanas, tortoises and cormorants have changed so they can survive the harsh climate. But possibly the oddest adaptation is that of the Vampire finch.
Blue Planet II explores parts of the ocean that nobody has ever visited, encountered extraordinary animals, and discovered new insights into life beneath the waves. In Our Blue Planet, Sir David Attenborough examines the impact of human life on life in the ocean. In this final episode, we uncover the impact that our modern lives are having on our best-loved characters from across the series, including devoted albatross parents unwittingly feeding their chicks discarded plastic and mother dolphins potentially exposing their newborn calves to pollutants through their contaminated milk. Scientists have even discovered that increasing noise levels may stop baby clownfish finding their way home.
What makes plants grow is a simple enough question, but the answer turns out to be one of the most complicated and fascinating stories in science and took over 300 years to unravel. Timothy Walker, director of the Oxford University Botanic Garden, reveals how the breakthroughs of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, Chelsea gardener Phillip Miller and English naturalist John Ray created the science of botany. Between them these quirky, temperamental characters unlocked the mysteries of the plant kingdom and they began to glimpse a world where bigger, better and stronger plants could be created. Nurseryman Thomas Fairchild created the world's first artificial hybrid flower - an entirely new plant that didn't exist in nature. Today, botanists continue the search for new flowers, better crops and improved medicines to treat life-threatening diseases.
In this final episode, Iolo explores bird design - from their ability to fly to the way that their beak design, colour and camouflage enable them to live in the many habitats Wales has to offer. Using ultra-slow motion photography, Iolo looks at how garden birds have such control over take off and landing, and explains why fulmars are one of our most supreme fliers.
In this fourth episode, Iolo Williams explores how birds in Wales have adapted to living alongside us, making use of our buildings, parks and gardens and even the waste we throw away. One of the most notorious urban birds is the gull and Iolo explains why these very adaptable and intelligent birds are doing so well in Cardiff
In this episode, Iolo investigates the courtship and nesting behaviour of birds, including the amazing courtship display of great crested grebes at a reservoir near Pontypool, the impressive sky dance of hen harriers in the dramatic Cambrian Mountains, how nuthatch use mud like cement to prepare their nest in a woodland near Harlech, and why long-tailed tits near Newtown are exceptional nest builders. On the Lleyn Peninsula near Trefor, he looks at why one colony of shags nest earlier than any others in Wales, and in Pembrokeshire he finds out where house martins nested before they used our buildings. Iolo also looks at the variety of places birds like to nest, from little ringed plovers on shingle banks along the River Tywi to puffins underground on Skomer.
In this first episode, he investigates how and why birds communicate, looking at the reasons snipe use their tail feathers to make a very distinctive noise and what's happening when thousands of starlings participate in stunning aerial displays in Aberystwyth.
At the coast, two worlds collide. Coasts is the story of how our Blue Planet’s wildlife survives in this ever changing world. It’s a roller-coaster ride of heart stopping action and epic drama, with characters from beautiful to bizarre. This episode is a rollercoaster ride of heart-stopping action and epic drama, peopled with characters from the beautiful to the bizarre. We meet fish that live on dry land and puffins that must travel 60 miles or more for a single meal, and witness a life-and-death struggle in a technicolour rock pool.
Footage of wildlife inhabiting underwater kelp forests, including thousands of giant cuttlefish spawning along a restricted area of rocky reef off the south coast of Australia. Males outnumber females 11 to one, which leads to fierce competition. Larger males use brute force to drive off competition, while their smaller rivals use deception by mimicking the appearance of females. The programme also features tiger sharks hunting for green turtles in fields of seagrass and spider crabs trying to avoid predators while they shed their shells.
The big blue is the world's greatest wilderness, far from shore and many kilometres deep. It's a vast marine desert where there is little to eat and nowhere to hide. Yet it's home to some of the biggest and most spectacular creatures on earth. This episode reveals what it takes to survive in this savage and forbidding world. We witness feats of incredible endurance, moments of high drama and extraordinary acts of heart-wrenching self-sacrifice. Every animal in the big blue must find their own unique way to survive.
Secret History documentary charting an astounding archaeological investigation in South Africa that has discovered the remains of an entirely new species of human ancestor: Homo naledi. Following an expedition by a team of experts, led by Professor Lee Berger, as they recover over 1,500 fossilised bone fragments from a deep and nearly inaccessible cave and conduct extensive analysis
2015 • Nature
This is the ultimate hidden kingdom - the urban jungle. In the colourful and chaotic streets of Rio, a young marmoset is separated from his street gang and forced to confront of the dangers of the city alone. In the futuristic metropolis of Tokyo, a rhinoceros beetle escapes his captors and begins an extraordinary journey through this alien world to find sanctuary.
This is the story of two young animals forced to grow up fast. In Africa's savannah, a baby elephant shrew learns how speed is the secret to survival amongst the largest animals on Earth; and in America, a young grasshopper mouse confronts the Wild West's deadliest creatures to stake a claim of his own.
Coral reefs are home to a quarter of all marine species. Survival in these undersea mega-cities is a challenge with many different solutions. A turtle heads to the reef's equivalent of a health spa - but she must use trickery to avoid the queue. A remarkable Grouper uses the fish equivalent of sign language to collaborate with an octopus, flushing their prey out of hiding holes. A metre-long, ferocious-jawed Bobbit Worm hides in its tunnel. Monocle Bream retaliate by squirting water to expose its sandy lair.
The deep is perhaps the most hostile environment on earth, at least to us - a world of crushing pressure, brutal cold and utter darkness. We have barely begun to explore it, and yet it is the largest living space on the planet. Scientists already think that there is more life in the deep than anywhere else on earth. This episode takes us on an epic journey into the unknown, a realm that feels almost like science fiction. We discover alien worlds, bizarre creatures and extraordinary new behaviours never seen before. We encounter savage hordes of Humboldt squid hunting lanternfish in the depths and coral gardens flourishing in absolute darkness, with more species of coral to be found in the deep than on shallow tropical reefs.. Narrated by David Attenborough,
The Arctic region of Russia is considered the most inhospitable places to live. But polar bears, lemmings, Arctic foxes, and seals - Arctic - simply heaven. In late August, with the onset of the breeding season is going very strong male musk for traditional competitions for the right leadership in the pairing with females. Weight of an adult bull can reach 400 kilograms. In a skirmish with a rival musk ox to deliver a decisive blow running away at 40 miles per hour. Sound from the blow horns fighting males can be heard at a distance of more than one kilometer.
In recent years, our knowledge of life beneath the waves has been transformed. Using cutting-edge technology, One Ocean takes us on a journey from the intense heat of the tropics to our planet's frozen poles to reveal new worlds and extraordinary never-before-seen animal behaviours.
With the arrival of spring, days grow longer and temperatures rise. But spring in Alaska is short. Animals have two months to feed, and start a family, while avoiding predators. Spring is also the time that millions of birds return to Alaska.
As temperatures hit minus 60 food becomes scarce, and animals such as foxes and hares shed their colourful coats to camouflage themselves in the snow. The end of winter heralds one of the world's greatest feeding frenzies as large ocean predators target the millions of fish who have found refuge in the Gulf of Alaska.
Captured in a single, animated time lapsed shot, and based on archeological findings, we trace our epic journey from the first spark of life billions of years ago up to our present status as the most successful species on the planet. Humans are the pinnacle of a chain of species that has survived by way of evolution, natural selection, adaptation, and pure luck. From the formation of primordial genetic material to the development of speech, this is the improbable story of the incredible set of circumstances that led to human existence.
Life and Death explores the impact of Darwin’s ideas on our understanding of the meaning of extinction and the interconnections between all life on earth and the environment. Darwin learned many lessons from the giant fossils of extinct animals he found in Argentina and Chile. He eventually revealed to us the unpalatable truth that the logical conclusion to evolution is not perfection but extinction. The extinction of one species creates an environmental niche for new species to fill. Darwin’s theory also gives us vital knowledge we can use to help prolong the existence of our species by respecting the interconnections between all elements of the natural world and the environment. It’s a story in which Darwin’s ideas are taken up with great enthusiasm by his followers throughout the 20th century. But humanity misses one opportunity after another to acknowledge and reduce its destructive impact on the planet. As a result we have set in motion the sixth mass extinction of life on earth. And we are running out of time to do something about it by preserving ecological "hotspots" like certain rainforests which are some of the most productive cradles of evolution. This programme is a warning, but also a celebration, of the knowledge Charles Darwin gave us in his theory of evolution. It confirms that Darwin’s theory continues to inform our understanding of ourselves, our planet and the intricate interconnections between all life on earth.
Making of David Attenborough’s Galapagos, which is aired first, offers an unrivalled and actually far more interesting view of the dramas that went into capturing all that footage. The way all the shots have been so calmly edited together makes the process look so effortless, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are broken helicopters and broken camera cables that threaten the whole enterprise and the grunting of mating tortoises that threaten to drown out Attenborough’s pieces to camera. This making of programme also includes the discovery of a previously unknown species of pink iguana, as well as the final television appearance of the last-remaining member of another species – the iconic long-necked tortoise known as Lonesome George. “He’s about 80 years old and he’s getting a bit creaky in his joints,” whispers Attenborough. “As indeed am I.”
Once life arrived in the Galapagos, it exploded into unique and spectacular forms. David Attenborough investigates the driving forces behind such evolutionary innovations. We learn that life must be able to adapt quickly in these ever-changing volcanic landscapes. It has resulted in species found nowhere else in the world, such as giant whale sharks and marine iguanas that can spit sea-salt from their noses, dandelion seeds that grow into tree-sized plants and spiders that can blend perfectly into the darkness. Adaptation has been the key to survival in these islands so far, but the story of life in the Galapagos doesn’t end here. The catalyst that triggers these explosions of life remains in place.
David Attenborough narrates this astonishing story of a wild cheetah family. Known for being fast, captivating and extremely elusive, a new insight into their remarkable lives is offered by cameraman Kim Wolhuter. For nearly two years, he walked alongside a wild cheetah mother and her young family to unravel in intimate detail what it takes to turn tiny cubs into accomplished predators.
The final episode deals with the evolution of the most widespread and dominant species on Earth: humans. The story begins in Africa, where, some 10 million years ago, apes descended from the trees and ventured out into the open grasslands in search of food. They slowly adapted to the habitat and grew in size. Their acute sense of vision led to them standing erect to spot predators, leaving their hands free to bear weapons. In addition, the primitive apemen also had stones that were chipped into cutting tools. Slowly, they grew taller and more upright, and their stone implements became ever more elaborate.
The penultimate instalment investigates the primates, whose defining characteristics are forward-facing eyes for judging distance, and gripping hands with which to grasp branches, manipulate food and groom one another. The programme begins in Madagascar, home to the lemurs, of which there are some 20 different types. Two examples are the sifaka, which is a specialised jumper, and the indri, which has a well-developed voice. Away from Madagascar, the only lemur relatives to have survived are nocturnal, such as the bushbaby, the potto and the loris. The others were supplanted by the monkeys and a primitive species that still exists is the smallest, the marmoset. However, Attenborough selects the squirrel monkey as being typical of the group. Howler monkeys demonstrate why they are so named their chorus is said to the loudest of any mammal and their prehensile tails illustrate their agility.
This programme surveys mammal herbivores and their predators. The herbivores began to populate the forests when the dinosaurs disappeared, and many took to gathering food at night. To prepare for winter, some store it in vast quantities, some hibernate and others make do as best they can. However, the carnivores joined them, and when a drying climate triggered the spread of grass, they followed their prey out on to the plains. Grass is not easily digestible and most animals that eat it have to regurgitate it and chew the cud. Out in the open, the leaf-eaters had to develop means of protection.
This episode continues the study of mammals, and particularly those whose young gestate inside their bodies. Attenborough asks why these have become so varied and tries to discover the common theme that links them. Examples of primitive mammals that are still alive today include the treeshrew, the desman and the star-nosed mole. Insect eaters vary enormously from the aardvark, giant anteater and pangolin to those to which much of this programme is devoted: the bats, of which there are nearly 1,000 different species. These took to flying at night, and its possible that they evolved from treeshrews that jumped from tree to tree, in much the same way as a flying squirrel.
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.
This programme focuses on birds. The feather is key to everything that is crucial about a bird: it is both its aerofoil and its insulator. The earliest feathers were found on a fossilised Archaeopteryx skeleton in Bavaria. However, it had claws on its wings and there is only one species alive today that does so: the hoatzin, whose chicks possess them for about a week or so. Nevertheless, it serves to illustrate the probable movement of its ancestor. It may have taken to the trees to avoid predators, and over time, its bony, reptilian tail was replaced by feathers and its heavy jaw evolved into a keratin beak.
This episode is devoted to the evolution of reptiles. They are not as restricted as their amphibian ancestors, since they can survive in the hottest climates. The reason is their scaly, practically watertight skin. The scales protect the body from wear and tear and in the case of some species of lizard, such as the Australian thorny devil, serve to protect from attack. The horned iguana from the West Indies is also one of the most heavily armoured. The skin is rich in pigment cells, which provide effective means of camouflage, and the chameleon is a well-known example. Temperature control is important to reptiles: they cant generate body heat internally or sweat to keep cool.
The next instalment describes the move from water to land. The fish that did so may have been forced to because of drought, or chose to in search of food. Either way, they eventually evolved into amphibians. Such creatures needed two things: limbs for mobility and lungs to breathe. The coelacanth is shown as a fish with bony fins that could have developed into legs, and the lungfish is able to absorb gaseous oxygen. However, evidence of an animal that possessed both is presented in the 450 million-year-old fossilised remains of a fish called a eusthenopteron. Three groups of amphibians are explored.
This programme looks at the evolution of fish. They have developed a multitude of shapes, sizes and methods of propulsion and navigation. The sea squirt, the lancelet and the lamprey are given as examples of the earliest, simplest types. Then, about 400 million years ago, the first back-boned fish appeared. The Kimberley Ranges of Western Australia are, in fact, the remnants of a coral reef and the ancient seabed. There, Attenborough discovers fossils of the earliest fish to have developed jaws. These evolved into two shapes of creature with cartilaginous skeletons: wide ones (like rays and skates) and long ones (like sharks).
This episode details the relationship between flowers and insects. There are some one million classified species of insect, and two or three times as many that are yet to be labelled. Around 300 million years ago, plants began to enlist insects to help with their reproduction, and they did so with flowers. Although the magnolia, for instance, contains male and female cells, pollination from another plant is preferable as it ensures greater variation and thus evolution. Flowers advertise themselves by either scent or display. Some evolved to produce sweet-smelling nectar and in turn, several insects developed their mouth parts into feeding tubes in order to reach it.
This instalment examines the earliest land vegetation and insects. The first plants, being devoid of stems, mainly comprised mosses and liverworts. Using both sexual and asexual methods of reproduction, they proliferated. Descended from segmented sea creatures, millipedes were among the first to take advantage of such a habitat and were quickly followed by other species. Without water to carry eggs, bodily contact between the sexes was now necessary. This was problematical for some hunters, such as spiders and scorpions, who developed courtship rituals to ensure that the female didn't eat the male.
The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.
The episode begins in the South American rainforest whose rich variety of life forms is used to illustrate the sheer number of different species. Since many are dependent on others for food or means of reproduction, David Attenborough argues that they couldn't all have appeared at once. He sets out to discover which came first, and the reasons for such diversity. He starts by explaining the theories of Charles Darwin and the process of natural selection, using the giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands (where Darwin voyaged on HMS Beagle) as an example. Fossils provide evidence of the earliest life, and Attenborough travels a vertical mile into the Grand Canyon in search of them.
For most of the Earth's history, life consisted of the simplest organisms; but then something happened that would give rise to staggering diversity, and, ultimately, life as complex as that which we see today. Scientists are still struggling to figure out just what that was.
An elaborate river portrait-in this case of one of the greatest rivers of Europe. An epic journey of discovery into the continent's unknown wild lands, "Danube - Europe's Amazon" shows how the river's famous currents helped sculpt the incredible landscapes, and it links them together.
A behind-the-scenes special offering an insider's look at Sir David Attenborough's innovative series exploring the macroscopic world of bugs. David reveals how the film-makers got up close with the insect and arachnid world for the innovative documentary series
Watching the fascinating display of leafcutter ants at the Natural History Museum in London is one of my favourite ways to while away a few hours, but David Attenborough is operating on a much grander scale here in the last in the series. In Argentina he observes some cousins of the leafcutters who are part of a community so vast it spans an entire continent. It’s one of the mandible-dropping facts in a look at one of the key inventions of arthropods: colonies. From termites and honey bees to the leafcutters, it seems that if you want to get ahead, you move to the big city.
While most of the series has focused on conflict, this episode is all about co-operation. The suitably named social spiders spin one enormous, 30m web for the whole colony, a queen bee rules her hive with a strict hierarchy and some green ants show great team spirit to help build a nest together. There are no broken societies here. David Attenborough shifts the focus to bugs that prefer cooperation rather than conflict. They include burrowing cockroaches, the suitably named social spiders - which share a 30-metre web.
A close-up view of sex, bug-style, as David Attenborough talks viewers through the different ways in which creepy-crawlies reproduce. Size matters for the minuscule male orb spider, creepily sneaking up on its intended and trying to mate without her noticing, while there's no rest for the lothario-like butterfly, which has plenty of notches on its proverbial bedpost. However, the harvestman spider has no use for sex at all, and reproduces by cloning itself.
It’s sexy time with the arthropods! This week David Attenborough takes a look at the courtship rituals of the creatures beneath our feet. But lovebugs won’t want to take tips from these bugs. The male Chilean rose tarantula, for instance, weaves a silk mat; deposits sperm on it, then sucks that sperm into a finger-like appendage near his mouth before he looks for a mate. Then there’s the gruesome, but surprisingly effective, coupling of praying mantis. The cinematography is as amazing as ever, catching the mating battles of tramp ants and providing luminescent footage of the courtship dance of Tanzanian red claw scorpions.
The Pray will immerse you into the forested world of the dead leaf mantis. This action packed film boasts incredibly unique and dynamic shots. Fly through the forest with flies, witness the cunning behavior between the mantis and the hawk and experience a hunt like you’ve never seen before. Using stunning cinematography we divulge the truth of a catch and behold the incredible way a mantis devours its prey. It’s everything a fantasy movie would have except this time, it’s real.
2017 • Nature
In this Short Documentary, Geologists in New Zealand created a stir earlier this year when they declared their discovery of the eighth continent of the world. Learn how was it formed and how something so massive could remain undetected until now.
Plants amazingly dominate this green world by employing poisons, recruiting defensive armies, feeding off the dead and using animals for pollination and seed dispersal. For predators this world presents exceptional challenges, not only in finding prey in such a tangled place, but in how to deal with the toxins that so many animals and plants are laced with.
Africa's coasts were formed by the break-up of Gondwanaland 100 million years ago. They define the familiar shape of this special continent, and touch on a variety of environments including deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands and savannahs. Wild Africa takes us back in time to witness the birth of Africa and also carries us on a spectacular journey around the edge of the continent.
As a whole, Africa is a dry continent with deserts dominating the landscape. Wild Africa explores how these deserts were created, and the amazing ways in which animals and plants have evolved to cope with the meagre and unpredictable rainfall, intense solar radiation, shortages of food and lack of shelter. By traveling through the African deserts, Wild Africa reveals that given enough time, a diverse variety of animals and plants can make a living in even the harshest conditions.
The savannah is home to some of the greatest herds on Earth, and in this episode, Wild Africa brings you close encounters with these animals. The savannah is Africa's youngest landscape, shaped by the weather and the animals themselves as the continent dried. It is now home to baboons, wildebeest, lions, cheetah, and aardvarks who must struggle through the eight-month dry season to survive.
This episode looks at Africa's mountain ranges. From the giant mole rats of the Ethiopian Highlands to the Barbary Macaque monkeys of the Atlas Mountains, this episode gives a fascinating look at the mountains of Africa and the animals that inhabit them.
Reconstructing a dinosaur skeleton for a museum is a balance between art and science - but getting that balance right is a tricky diplomatic, as well as scientific, process. Presenter and anatomist Dr. Alice Roberts follows the reconstruction of L.A.'s Natural History Museum's 2011 dinosaur exhibit.
2011 • Nature
Chris and Martha discover which of our tagged bees have survived over the midsummer week - a frenetic nectar and pollen gathering period - and if they have collected enough food at this critical time to see them through the winter. With the help of Prof Adam Hart they will also explore the queen's remarkably deadly mating ritual and look at how bees can help us medically and how we can help them.
As the Ganges nears the sea, it joins its mightiest tributary the Brahmaputra, creating a vast flood-prone delta. Here the bustling cities of Calcutta and Dhaka meet the wetlands, home to giant lizards and snakes, huge mean-eating crocodiles and forests full of monkeys. This is a story of human life persisting in wildly variable conditions in a domain that is still the preserve of the royal Bengal tiger.
From earthquakes to tsunamis to volcanic eruptions, natural disasters are both terrifying and fascinating - providing endless fresh material for documentary makers. But how well do disaster documentaries keep pace with the scientific theories that advance every day? To try and answer that question, Professor Danielle George is plunging into five decades of BBC archive. What she uncovers provides an extraordinary insight into one of the fastest moving branches of knowledge. From the legendary loss of Atlantis to the eruption that destroyed Pompeii, Danielle reveals how film-makers have changed their approach again and again in the light of new scientific theories. While we rarely associate Britain with major natural disaster, at the end of the programme Danielle brings us close to home, exploring programmes which suggest that 400 years ago Britain was hit by a tidal wave that killed hundreds of people, and that an even bigger tsunami could threaten us again.
Oxygen – we all need it, we can't live without it. It's integral to life on this planet. And it's probable that, as you watch this film, you will be breathing in an oxygen atom that was also breathed by Genghis Khan – or by the first ever apes to stand upright on the plains of Africa. The oxygen that we breathe is made from two oxygen atoms joined together – O2. They were first joined more than 3 billion years ago by the earliest blue-green algae to evolve. The oxygen molecule first came from bacteria and was present in the fires that destroyed the dinosaurs and the chemical reactions in all human cells, and as ozone they protect the earth from radiation. Since then, both together and apart, they've had the most extraordinary adventures. Each of the two atoms in an oxygen molecule is virtually indestructible – so they have been first-hand players in some of the most dramatic events in the whole of Earth's history. It's often said that we are breathing the same oxygen that the cavemen did. The life of a single molecule of oxygen is traced on it's astonishing journey spanning millions of years, from its creation, into photosynthesis, through the age of the dinosaurs, early man, and on into today.
2008 • Nature
The British back garden is a familiar setting, but underneath the peonies and petunias is a much wilder hidden world, a miniature Serengeti, with beauty and brutality in equal measure. Chris Packham and a team of wildlife experts spend an entire year exploring every inch of a series of interlinked back gardens in Welwyn Garden City. They want to answer a fundamental question: how much wildlife lives beyond our back doors? How good for wildlife is the great British garden? Through all four seasons, Chris reveals a stranger side to some of our more familiar garden residents. In summer he meets a very modern family of foxes - with a single dad in charge - and finds that a single fox litter can have up to five different fathers. In winter he shows that a robin's red breast is actually war paint. And finally, in spring he finds a boiling ball of frisky frogs in a once-in-a-year mating frenzy. The secret lives of the gardens' smallest residents are even weirder. The team finds male crickets that bribe females with food during sex, spiders that change colour to help catch prey, and life-and-death battles going on under our noses in the compost heap. So how many different species call our gardens home? How well do our gardens support wildlife? By the end of the year, with the help of a crack team from London's Natural History Museum and some of the country's top naturalists, Chris will find out. He'll also discover which type of garden attracts the most wildlife. The results are not what you might expect... You'll never look at your garden in quite the same way again.
2017 • Nature
This documentary follows a spectacular pioneering story of nature preservation. Engadin was created 100 years ago and the wildlife left without human interference to re-populate the Alps first nature reserve. Now ibex, lynx and wolves are thriving in this pristine area.
2015 • Nature
Investigates the greatest vanishing act in the history of our planet - the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Experts suspect that the dinosaurs were wiped out after a city-sized asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico causing a huge crater. But until now, they haven't had any proof. In a world first, evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod joins a multi-million pound drilling expedition into the exact spot the asteroid hit to get hard evidence of the link. The team overcomes huge obstacles as it attempts to drill 1,500 metres beneath sea level to pull up rock from the Chicxulub crater.
2017 • Nature
Human mothers raise fetuses inside their wombs and breast feed their babies for a long time after birth. What made humans evolve so that we raise our children so affectionately? The latest research reveals an unexpected origin of mothers' affection toward their children. Scientists believe that our ancestors experienced unforeseen dramatic changes in DNA under threats of extinction. These DNA changes caused humans to be devoted to raising children. Learn about the scientific interpretation of the evolutionary roots of your affectionate bonds with your kids.
In the culmination of this 1,000km scientific expedition aboard the Alucia, Liz Bonnin and the team of scientific experts journey south to visit the oldest islands in the Galapagos to see first-hand the impact that humans have had on this pristine wilderness. Back on the larger island of Isabela, where her journey first began, Liz descends into a spectacular vertical lava cave. Deep inside, she discovers how this hidden world could even provide an answer to how it might be possible to inhabit other planets. On her last land-based stop, on Santa Cruz, Liz comes face to face with the effects of man as she explores the magical misty scalesia forests and meets scientists who are tracking the invasive species spreading throughout the islands. It is here that she also checks in on a giant tortoise population whose ancient migration pathways have come under threat from the largest human population on the archipelago, and meets a man on a mission to protect this iconic creature. Finally, Liz dives into the deep blue waters to witness the birth of a brand new island. Coming full circle, Liz and the team are able to reflect on the importance of their missions which will help to protect the Galapagos and its extraordinary wildlife in the future. In an ever-changing world, what we learn now from these incredible living natural wonders and what we can pass on to future generations has never been more important.
They cannot tolerate sunlight; some of them are even blind. However they are one of the world's most ingenious builders: Termites. They build high-risers that are, relatively speaking, 25 times higher than the Empire State Building in New York. They are the only animals that have managed to build an air-conditioning system without electricity. Their nests are architectural masterpieces that rise up to eight meters from the ground and contain brood chambers for larvae, corridors for transportation and fungal gardens for nutrition. Termites - The Inner Sanctum takes us along a journey into another world. Visit the skillfully built termite mounds in the savannah, termite nests in the tropical rainforest with their colossal columns of termites foraging for food - and the termites that wreak terrible damage to wood-framed homes. Filmed in the US, Kenya and Borneo.
2011 • Nature
The highly anticipated sequel to Life of a Mountain: Scafell Pike sees award-winning film-maker Terry Abraham return to the Lake District to showcase 'the people's mountain' - Blencathra. This spectacular documentary looks at the lives of local residents, school children and visitors to the mountain with contributions from comedian Ed Byrne, broadcaster Stuart Maconie, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE and record-breaking fell runner Steve Birkinshaw. Abraham's breathtaking photography and stunning time-lapse sequences of this unique landscape will inspire newcomers and regular visitors alike.
2017 • Nature
Our world is the home of millions of plant as well as animal species and provides several territories, each with its own geological and climatic conditions: steep mountains, deep forests, wide oceans and arctic ice deserts. The inhabitants have adapted to its different conditions and are still developing new strategies to survive. “Wonderful World” not only takes a look at the interesting creatures of our planet, but also highlights cosmological circumstances, which made our world unique, diversified and above all so adorable.
2015 • Nature
Sir David Attenborough gives his unique perspective on over half a century of innovation in wildlife filmmaking. He revisits key places and events in his filming career, reminisces with his old photos and reflects on memorable wildlife footage - including him catching a komodo dragon and swimming with dolphins. Returning to his old haunts in Borneo he recalls the challenges of filming in a bat cave and shows how with modern technology we can now see in the dark.
The story of animals surviving one of the harshest seasonal changes on the planet continues. As winter turns to spring, temperatures rise and Yellowstone bursts into life. Beavers feast on new green shoots, baby bison take their first faltering steps and grizzly bear cubs emerge from dens to explore this new green world. But spring is also a perilous time. Wolves are hungrier than usual after slim winter pickings. And rising temperatures melt the vast mountain snow pack, sending a million tons of water flooding into the rivers. Only the toughest will survive.
Patrick follows the grizzly bears that are taking a risk with the weather by leaving their winter dens early. Hungry wolves are struggling to bring down their elk prey in the unusually shallow snow. And for great grey owls, it is the iciness of the snow that is hampering their hunts. Yellowstone's winter is always one of the most brutal on the planet. But 2016 saw weather records broken, and the wildlife was forced to adapt to survive. Kate Humble gets to grips with the science behind this remarkable season, from understanding the importance of the snowpack's structure as the melt begins to uncovering why Yellowstone's unique geology poses problems for some grazer's teeth.
Winter is here. Ready or not, creatures big and small endure the harshest and most unforgiving season on the planet. Some cling to life in these bitter months…while others see opportunity on the ice. In this special, wildlife around the globe fights tooth and nail to survive the winter season, against a striking frozen backdrop.
2017 • Nature
Huge changes have swept across Arabia since the discovery of oil and the Arab relationship with nature has changed too. This is summed up by the changes to camel racing, now an ultra hi-tech sport. Arabia's animals now live alongside a very modern society but Arabia's people are using technology to protect nature: dugongs are fitted with satellite transmitters; hunting falcons chase down radio-controlled planes and the world's first carbon-neutral city is being built in the very heart of oil country.
Helen reveals the latest scientific insights into icebergs. From side-scanning sonar that scrutinises the edge of glaciers where icebergs are born, to satellite images that show how icebergs create hotspots for life and eyewitness pictures that give us a unique glimpse of how they transform over time, we can now capture on camera the mysteries of icebergs - and how their lifecycle is intricately linked to our changing planet.
Dr Helen Czerski peers into the heart of the storm to find out how advances in technology are giving new insight into tornadoes - the fastest winds on the planet. From the breathtaking footage that capture the extreme weather events that produce them, to the latest experiments investigating their incredible destructive power, Helen discovers how understanding the subtle changes deep within the storm are improving predictions of when and where these devastating beasts will strike.
Helen looks at the latest scientific insight into the aurora - dancing lights in the night sky that have fascinated cultures throughout our history. From the networks of cameras now capturing its vast scale, to novel experiments that probe the threat it poses to modern technology, Helen reveals the dramatic transformation in our understanding of the aurora, and the many mysteries that remain to be solved.
Dr Helen Czerski examines the hottest natural phenomena on the planet - lightning. Bolts of lightning five times hotter than the surface of the sun strike our planet over 3 million times every day - and yet we still know little about this deadly force of nature. Now, specialist photography is revealing how lightning travels through the air, high-speed cameras are unlocking the secrets of upward lightning that's triggered by our urban landscapes, and scientific expeditions are capturing rare images of intense electrical discharges over 80 kilometres wide.
Helen looks at volcanoes. With shocking eyewitness footage of eruptions, and new thermal imagery and ultra-high speed photography, we can now capture on camera the complex processes crucial to understanding how and why these forces of nature erupt.
Dr Helen Czerski looks at the anatomy of an avalanche. From shocking eyewitness footage from within an avalanche, to detailed CT scans showing the microscopic changes that cause them, we can now capture exactly what happens as snow transforms into a deadly and unpredictable danger.
Grasslands cover one quarter of all land and support the vast gatherings of wildlife, but to survive here animals must endure the most hostile seasonal changes on the planet. From Asia's bizarre-looking Saiga antelope to the giant anteaters of Brazil, grassland animals have adapted in extraordinary ways to cope with these extremes. In the flooded Okavango, lions take on formidable buffalo in epic battles, on the savannah bee-eaters take advantage of elephants to help catch insects and, on the freezing northern tundra, caribou embark on great migrations shadowed by hungry Arctic wolves.
Jungles provide the richest habitats on the planet - mysterious worlds of high drama where extraordinary animals attempt to survive in the most competitive place on earth. Flooded forests are home to caiman-hunting jaguars and strange dolphins that swim amongst the tree tops, while in the dense underworld, ninja frogs fight off wasps and flying dragons soar between trees. Acrobatic indri leap through the forests of Madagascar, while the jungle night conceals strange fungi and glow-in-the-dark creatures never filmed before.
The great mountain ranges are some of the planet's most spectacular landscapes, but they are unforgiving places to live in, and only a few animals have what it takes to live at extreme altitude. Mountain animals are amongst the most elusive in the world, and this film provides unique and intimate glimpses into their secretive lives. Witness the moment four snow leopards come together when a mother and cub become trapped between two rival males. Join grizzly bears as they dance against trees to rub off their winter fur and soar with golden eagles hunting amongst Europe's snow-capped peaks.
Takes us into the world of digestion and its amazingly complex environment.Our health, body shape, mood and even our evolution are determined by the unseen life forms that swarm throughout our bodies. There are worms in your bowels, bacteria in your mouth, fungi in your lungs and even viruses in your DNA.The combined genetic information of all these bugs is more than 150 times greater than our own genes. Their cells outnumber our own by 10 to 1. This collective menagerie is called the microbiome, and in a very real sense, it is the making of us all.
The remote Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia is home to one of the world's most extraordinary and spectacular meteorological phenomena, the Morning Glory Wave Cloud. Up to two kilometers high and a thousand kilometers long, the Glory is a shock wave in the atmosphere of immense proportions.Join Professor Thomas Peacock from MIT in Boston and Dr. Jorg Hacker from Airborne Research Australia as they journey to Burketown in the remote north of Australia to study this elusive phenomenon and meet the glider pilots who ride the largest wave in the world.
2014 • Nature
Remote islands offer sanctuary for some of the planet's strangest and rarest creatures. The rare pygmy three-toed sloth enjoys a peaceful existence on an idyllic Caribbean island, while nesting albatross thrive in predator-free isolation. But island life always comes at a cost. On the Galapagos Islands, young marine iguana must escape an onslaught of deadly racer snakes the moment they hatch from the sand. On the sub-Antarctic island of Zavodovski, life gets more extreme still. Every day, one and a half million penguins risk being battered against the rocks by fierce waves as they try to get on and off the island.
The migration of the painted lady has long fascinated scientists, artists and nature lovers alike. The longest butterfly migration on earth, it sees millions of these delicate creatures travel from the desert fringes of north Africa, across thousands of miles of land and sea, before settling in the UK. However, the migration has never truly been understood, the mysteries of the painted lady never unravelled - until now.
2016 • Nature
David Attenborough narrates a documentary looking at the wildlife of the most stunning mountain range in the world, home to snow leopards, Himalayan wolves and Tibetan bears. Snow leopards stalk their prey among the highest peaks. Concealed by snowfall, the chase is watched by golden eagles circling above. On the harsh plains of the Tibetan plateau live extraordinary bears and square-faced foxes hunting small rodents to survive. In the alpine forests, dancing pheasants have even influenced rival border guards in their ritualistic displays. Valleys carved by glacial waters lead to hillsides covered by paddy fields containing the lifeline to the East, rice. In this world of extremes, the Himalayas reveal not only snow-capped mountains and fascinating animals but also a vital lifeline for humanity.
2010 • Nature
Groundbreaking documentary which follows a Japanese-led team of scientists as they attempt to shed light on the mysterious world of deep sea sharks. Only 50 specimens of the newly discovered 'megamouth' have ever been sighted. Over four years, scientists and film crews voyaged in midget submarines into the depths of Suruga Bay and Sagami Bay to film them. Prehistoric 'living fossil' sharks such as bluntnose sixgill sharks, goblin sharks and frilled sharks also lurk in the bay. As part of the investigation, a sperm whale carcass was placed at the bottom of the bay to attract these sharks, which were then studied and observed from the submersible vessels. Revealing in detail the previously unknown behaviour of deep sea sharks, the film unravels another of the intriguing mysteries of our planet's biodiversity. Narrated by David Attenborough.
2015 • Nature
Did you know that no more than a few dozen people dive the icy waters of the Antarctic each year? However, you’ll get to experience the marvel of diving around huge icebergs for yourself. Plus, come eye to eye with a 3.5 metre leopard seal as this deceptively placid-looking killer strikes. Your heart will race!
Slip through millennia-old caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. These spooky, labyrinth-like places were considered magical as early as the Mayan era. Plus you can hitch a ride with sucker fish, dodge gigantic ocean devil fish and be entranced by the dance of a majestic 6-metre long manta ray.
Take a nerve-wracking dive with great white sharks as they feast on millions of sardines that fall into their trap; it’s one of the most spectacular underwater phenomenons on the planet! Plus you’ll get to patrol reefs with vigilant soldierfish, dance with balletic jellyfish and more!
Sail the stunning Azores as large shoals of migrating humpback whales visit its waters. A sight to behold! Plus spot the symbol of the islands, giant sperm whales. These majestic protected creatures are the biggest tourist attraction of the Azores.
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!
Visit the Bismarck Sea, a region forgotten by civilisation, where life goes on in harmony with nature as it has for thousands of years, untouched by the troubles of the modern world. You’ll dive amongst the eerie wrecks of WWII planes and ships, navigate darkness-shrouded caves and dodge swift-moving reef sharks.
Encounter huge shoals of barracuda in Malaysia, fantastic meadows of coral in the Philippines and strange, miniature creatures inhabiting Indonesian reefs. Plus you’ll have to watch for deadly blue-ringed octopus and much more. Simply sublime!
New Zealand was one of the last land masses to be found and settled by people. Lush and fertile, almost everything brought here flourishes, often with surprising consequences. Told through the experiences of its native species - in particular, a charismatic and peculiar giant, flightless parrot - this is the moving story of the changing fortunes of New Zealand's wildlife since humans first arrived.
In this final episode Professor Brian Cox travels to Iceland, where the delicate splendour of a moonbow reveals the colours that paint our world, and he visits a volcano to explain why the sun shines. By exploring how sunlight transforms the plains of the Serengeti, drives the annual migration of humpback whales to the Caribbean and paints the moon red during a lunar eclipse, Brian reveals the colour signature of our life-supporting planet. Finally, at an observatory high in the Swiss Alps, he shows how these colours aren't simply beautiful, but that understanding how they're created is allowing us to search for other Earths far out in the cosmos.
In this episode, Professor Brian Cox shows how Earth's basic ingredients, like the pure sulphur mined in the heart of a deadly volcano in Indonesia, have become the building blocks of life. Hidden deep in a cave in the Dominican Republic lies a magical world created by the same property of water that makes it essential to life. Clinging to a precipitous dam wall in Italy, baby mountain goats seek out Earth's chemical elements essential to their survival. In the middle of the night in a bay off Japan, Brian explains how the dazzling display of thousands of glowing squid shows how life has taken Earth's chemistry and turned it into the chemistry of life.
In this episode Brian uncovers how the stunning diversity of shapes in the natural world are shadows of the rules that govern the universe. In Spain he shows how an attempt by hundreds of people to build the highest human tower reveals the force that shapes our planet. In Nepal, honey hunters seek out giant beehives that cling to cliff walls. The perfect hexagonal honeycombs made by the bees to store their honey conceal a mathematical rule. Off the coast of Canada, Brian explains how some of the most irregular, dangerous shapes in nature - massive icebergs that surge down from Greenland and into shipping lanes of the Atlantic - emerge from a powerful yet infinitely small force of nature. Even the most delicate six-sided snowflake tells a story of the forces of nature that forged it.
The sound of the cuckoo is to many the very essence of spring, yet behind the magical call is a bird that is a cheat, a thief and a killer. Just how does the cuckoo trick other birds into accepting its eggs and raising its young? Why don't the duped foster parents react as they watch the baby cuckoo destroy their own eggs and chicks? And why do they work so relentlessly to feed a demanding chick that looks nothing like them and will soon dwarf them? In this film, new photography is combined with archive footage and the latest scientific findings to solve a puzzle which, as narrator David Attenborough explains, has perplexed nature watchers for thousands of years.
This episode reveals how mammals developed from tiny nocturnal forest dwellers to the dominant form of life on the planet following the death of the dinosaurs. David explains how the meteoric rise of mammals led to an astounding diversity of life and laid the foundations for the ascent of man.
This episode details the origins of the vertebrates, which lie in the primitive fish that once swam in ancient seas. Remarkable advances allowed them to make the radical move onto land, and then take to the skies with the advent of flight. Brand new discoveries of fossils - ancient and living - combined with stunning CGI enable David to chart their unexpected journey out of the water to populate all corners of the globe.
In a revelatory look at Svalbard, the most northerly region in the series, Steve Backshall leaves no stone unturned as he unravels the secrets that lie covered in ice for most of each year. Svalbard is cold, dark and foreboding, yet it is home to the world's largest land predator and the most northerly population of large herbivore, but Steve discovers that the real secret to this place comes from a very different world.
Steve Backshall tries to discover just what makes it possible for a river to stop in the middle of a desert. The Okavango is the world's largest inland delta and home to a one of Africa's greatest congregations of wildlife, and in asking the difficult questions Steve reveals the astounding secret to its existence.
Monterey Bay on California's coast is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, its giant kelp forest bursting with life, from microscopic plankton to visiting ocean giants. The secret key to success in such a busy microworld is balance. Steve Backshall guides us through the unique geography of the bay and introduces some of its key characters in a quest to find the one species that keeps life in the kelp forest in check.
Steve Backshall lifts the lid on an incredible world of intricate relationships and unexpected hardship in the Amazon rainforest, explores the way that the jungle's inhabitants interact, and reveals a hidden secret that might just be what keeps the whole place alive.
A look at one of the most famous habitats on the planet, the Serengeti in East Africa, a vast grassland that is home to some of the greatest concentrations of herbivores on the continent. But what is the key to this exceptional grassland that allows such density and diversity?
A visit to arguably the most famous archipelago on Earth, the Galapagos. It's home to a myriad of bizarre and unique creatures, endemic to these islands - but how did they get here and what is the key to these extraordinary islands that allows them to thrive? The programme reveals that this key holds not just the secret to life here, but also to how Darwin was able to leave with the ideas that would revolutionise biology.
The Taiga forest, on the edge of the Arctic, is a silent world of stunted conifers. The trees may be small but filming from the air reveals its true scale. A third of all trees on Earth grow here and during the short summer they produce enough oxygen to change the atmosphere.
A humpback whale mother and calf embark on an epic journey from tropical coral paradises to storm ravaged polar seas. Newly discovered coral reefs in Indonesia reveal head-butting pygmy seahorses, flashing 'electric' clams and bands of sea kraits, 30-strong, which hunt in packs. Elsewhere plagues of sea urchins fell forests of giant kelp. Huge bull fur seals attack king penguins, who despite their weight disadvantage, put up a spirited defence.
The Arctic and Antarctic experience the most extreme seasons on Earth. Time-lapse cameras watch a colony of emperor penguins, transforming them into a singleorganism. The film reveals new science about the dynamics of emperor penguin behaviour. In the north, unique aerial images show a polar bear swimming more than 100km. Diving for up to two minutes at a time. The exhausted polar bear later attacks a herd of walrus in a true clash of the Titans.
Around 30% of the land's surface is desert, the most varied of our ecosystems despite the lack of rain. Unravel the secrets of desert survival and experience the ephemeral nature of this dynamic environment. Watch Saharan sandstorms nearly a mile high and desert rivers that run for a single day. In the Gobi Desert, rare Bactrian camels get moisture from the snow. In the Atacama, guanacos survive by licking dew off cactus spines. In the USA, the brief blooming of Death Valley triggers a plague of locusts 65km wide and 160km long. A unique aerial voyage over the Namibian desert reveals elephants on a long trek for food and desert lions searching for wandering oryx.
The Cave of Swallows in Mexico is a 400m vertical shaft, deep enough to engulf the Empire State Building. The Lechuguilla cave system in the USA is 193km long and 500m deep with astonishing crystal formations hanging from its chambers. Although often overlooked, caves are remarkable habitats with equally bizarre wildlife. Cave angel fish cling to the walls behind cave waterfalls with microscopic hooks on their flattened fins. Cave swiftlets navigate by echo-location and build nests out of saliva. The Texas cave salamander has neither eyes nor pigment. Unique access to a hidden world of stalactites, stalagmites, snotites and troglodytes brings a wealth of surprises.
Fresh water is our most precious resource and it defines the distribution of life on land. Follow the descent of rivers from their mountain sources to the sea. Watch spectacular waterfalls, fly inside the Grand Canyon and explore the wildlife below the ice in the world's deepest lake. Witness unique and dramatic moments of animal behaviour: a showdown between smooth-coated otters and mugger crocodiles; deep-diving long tailed macaques; massive flocks of snow geese on the wing and a piranha frenzy in the perilous waters of the world's largest wetland.
Welcome to an extreme landscape of rock, ice and snow. We tour the mightiest mountain ranges, starting with the birth of a mountain at one of the lowest places on Earth and ending at the summit of Everest. Find out how some of the most secretive animals rise to the challenge of mountain life. Share one of Earth's rarest phenomena, a lava lake that has been erupting for over 100 years. The same forces built the Simian Mountains where we find troops of gelada baboons nearly a thousand strong. In the Rockies, grizzlies build winter dens inside avalanche-prone slopes and climb the peaks to devour abundant summer moths. In another world first, the programme brings us astounding images of a snow leopard hunting on the Pakistan peaks.
Animal Reunions have captured the imaginations of millions of people worldwide. YouTube is full of animal reunion stories - moments that illustrate and capture genuine affection and emotion between and among species. These rare moments provide a fleeting window into the emotional capacities of animals and their ability to form bonds with humans. But can wild animals really feel joy, devotion and love? Most animal lovers are convinced that they do, and now scientists are beginning to agree as we discover the stories that bring those animal emotions to life. We meet orphaned elephants in Kenya who have learned to trust their nursery keepers even after they lost their families at the hand of man - and witness a deep bond revealed as the head keeper travels to the National Park to see if his fully grown elephants remember him. We meet Damian Aspinall, the first man to release a captive-bred family of gorillas back to the wild, and see his reunion with one of those gorillas, proving a bond that may last a lifetime. We also meet Jane Goodall, the legendary chimpanzee researcher who was once heavily criticized for her claims about animal emotions; and Rebeca Atencia, the veterinarian who runs a Congolese chimp sanctuary set up by Goodall, as she travels to find the orphan chimpanzee she raised and released back into the wild. Through these incredible stories about human-animal relationships, illuminated by interviews with some of the world's most eminent ethologists and academics, this film sets out to question not only the emotional intelligence of animals but the so-called divide between us and them.
David Attenborough's entertaining romp through the world of monkeys has a serious side: for when we look at monkeys, we can see ourselves. From memory to morality, from 'crying wolf' to politics, monkeys are our basic blueprint. Pygmy marmosets 'farm' tree sap; bearded capuchins in Brazil develop a production line for extracting palm nuts; white-faced capuchins in Costa Rica tenderly nurse the victims of battle; and in the Ethiopian highlands, a deposed gelada baboon has got the blues. Cheating, lying and bare-faced murder are all there too. These revelations of simian science, combined with captivating photography, make this film about monkey business our business.
2008 • Nature
On a summer’s night, there’s nothing more magic than watching the soft glow of fireflies switching on and off. Few other life forms on land can light up the night, but in the dark depths of the oceans, it’s a different story: nearly 90% of all species shine from within. Whether it’s to scare off predators, fish for prey, or lure a mate, the language of light is everywhere in the ocean depths, and scientists are finally starting to decode it. NOVA and National Geographic take a dazzling dive to this hidden undersea world where most creatures flash, sparkle, shimmer, or simply glow. Join deep sea scientists who investigate these stunning displays and discover surprising ways to harness nature’s light—from tracking cancer cells to detecting pollution, lighting up cities, and even illuminating the inner workings of our brains.
A Film About Coffee is a love letter to, and meditation on, specialty coffee. It examines what it takes, and what it means, for coffee to be defined as “specialty.” The film whisks audiences on a trip around the world, from farms in Honduras and Rwanda to coffee shops in Tokyo, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Through the eyes and experiences of farmers and baristas, the film offers a unique overview of all the elements—the processes, preferences and preparations; traditions old and new—that come together to create the best cups. This is a film that bridges gaps both intellectual and geographical, evoking flavor and pleasure, and providing both as well.
2014 • Nature
Armed with the latest global scientific research, Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin battle it out to find the definitive answer to the burning question - which are best, cats or dogs? Part 2: Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin present the second of two programmes in which pooches and pussies are put through a number of tests to see which family pet comes out on top. There are five more rounds, concentrating on which animal is easiest to train, communication, which is best at helping reduce people's stress, independence and the big question - do cats and dogs really love their owners? On the search for answers, dog-lover Chris meets a Border Collie which can recognise more than 150 words and Liz meets a cat capable of choosing its own TV channels.
Armed with the latest global scientific research, Chris Packham and Liz Bonnin battle it out to find the definitive answer to the burning question - which are best, cats or dogs? Part 1: The animals go head to head in a series of rounds testing different aspects, beginning in this edition with intelligence, sensory powers and physical prowess. On the search for answers, dog-lover Chris comes face to face with a pack of wolves, while feline fan Liz confronts an Arabian wild cat to discover how the relationship humans and their pets have evolved.
The Caribbean has been shaped by millions of years of unstoppable volcanic forces and ferocious hurricanes, creating a network of 7,000 islands, each one more unique than the next. From islets only a few miles long to landmasses with towering peaks, the habitats of this tropical paradise range from lush rainforests hiding untold species to multi-coloured coral reefs teeming with marine life. The fauna of the Caribbean has had to adapt to an island existence, becoming either generalists or specialists…creatures as old as the dinosaurs nest on its beaches, opportunistic scavengers patrol its skies, iridescent dynamos forage in its forests and wandering ocean leviathans give birth in its warm waters.
2015 • Nature
Part 3: Survival When David Attenborough first visited the Great Barrier Reef in 1957, he considered it the most spectacular place in the natural world and he assumed that it would last forever. Since then the coral has been dying at an unprecedented rate. In this episode he undertakes his most important mission to understand what the next few decades hold for this remarkable community of animals, as well as what is being done to save it. On his journey, David uncovers the remarkable ways in which scientists are trying to preserve the reef and embarks on an ambitious exploration of his own, the deepest dive ever on the reef. But despite the discoveries now being made by scientists and in the reef's furthest reaches, David fears for the future of this incredibly complex and beautiful ecosystem so vital for the world's oceans.
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.
David Attenborough returns in this landmark series to his most magical place on earth exploring the Great Barrier Reef aboard the research vessel Alucia. Part 1: Builders David descends beneath the waves at night in the state-of-the-art Triton submersible, the first of its kind to visit the reef. He meets some of the tiny coral animals that built the reef and helped to turn it into an underwater wonderland. He then takes to the skies to witness the vast scale of their endeavour, a living structure that provides a home for thousands of species. Using cutting-edge technology to generate computer scans of the sea floor, David learns that the Great Barrier Reef we know today is much younger than scientists ever imagined. He meets some of the people that have lived alongside it and who have told stories of its origins for thousands of years.
Documentary series delving into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn. Part 3: Life on the Edge This is the story of an awe-inspiring coastline, 4000 miles long. From the cold, fearsome waters of Cape Horn, where brave rockhopper penguins overcome huge challenges to raise their young, to the far north, with huge elephant seals battling for position in the heat of the desert. Orcas ram-raid the beaches, grabbing seal pups to feed their young. People too gather the sea's bounty, but these shores are not for the faint-hearted.
Documentary series delving into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn. From the Andes peaks, we follow the path of the relentless wind, sweeping east through Patagonia's dry desert. We discover a weird world of maras - giant guinea pigs - and desert-dwelling penguins, and witness the first faltering steps of baby guanacos - Patagonia's very own camels. People live here too - brave souls who have taken on this arid world and carved out a home.
Documentary series delving into a rarely seen South American wilderness, home to surprising creatures who survive in environments that range from the mighty Andes Mountains to Cape Horn. Part 1: Fire and Ice Discover the secret lives of pumas and hummingbirds. Soar with condors over glacial peaks and explore monkey puzzle forests from the time of dinosaurs. Ride with extreme kayakers over raging waterfalls, and with Patagonia's cowboys - the gauchos - as they round up wild horses.
The Miller-Urey experiment was the first attempt to scientifically explore ideas about the origin of life. Stanley Miller simulated conditions thought be common on the ancient Earth. The purpose was to test the idea that the complex molecules of life (in this case, amino acids) could have arisen on our young planet through simple, natural chemical reactions.
How can you tell the two poles apart? Where are the penguins? What about the bears? The Arctic pole is located in the Northern Hemisphere within the deep Arctic Ocean, while the Antarctic pole is smack in the middle of the ice-covered Antarctica. Camille Seaman describes how enterprising people and organisms have found ways to reside around both poles despite the frigid temperatures.
What is it that makes things alive? What if we made robots that could sustain themselves? What if they could mine metals or recycle old robots, reprogram and remake themselves? There's nothing there we would traditional call alive, but they would have at least have the essence of this perpetual rube Goldberg machine.
We’ve heard that bees are disappearing. But what is making bee colonies so vulnerable? Photographer Anand Varma raised bees in his backyard — in front of a camera — to get an up close view. This project, for National Geographic, gives a lyrical glimpse into a bee hive — and reveals one of the biggest threats to its health, a mite that preys on baby bees in the first 21 days of life.
In this final episode we complete our journey, travelling back from the March equinox to the end of June. Kate Humble is in the Arctic at a place where spring arrives with a bang, whilst Helen Czerski chases a tornado to show how the earth's angle of tilt creates the most extreme weather on earth.
In this second episode we travel from January to the March equinox. Kate Humble gets closer to the Sun than she has ever been before, whilst Helen Czerski visits a place that gets some of the biggest and fastest snowstorms on Earth.
In this first episode they travel from July to the December solstice, experiencing spectacular weather and the largest tides on Earth. To show how the Earth's orbit affects our lives, Helen jumps out of an aeroplane and Kate briefly becomes the fastest driver on Earth.
Dolphins are one of the smartest animal species on Earth. In fact, their encephalization quotient (their brain size compared to the average for their body size) is second only to humans. But exactly how smart are they? Lori Marino details some incredible facts about dolphins.
In the balmy tropical Atlantic, everything from dolphins, manatees and whale sharks to sunbathing jellyfish thrive in the Caribbean's warm, sheltered waters, fringed with coral reefs and rich mangrove forests. But extreme heat in Africa unleashes terrifying hurricanes, causing chaos across the region.
In the vast South Atlantic, huge pods of dolphins, massive penguin colonies and the largest gathering of marine mammals on earth pack chains of extraordinary islands, created by powerful volcanic forces far below them. Nutrient-rich upwellings create profusions of life in some areas, whilst extreme isolation and abyssal depths host a world of bizarre creatures in others.
In the wild North Atlantic, massive whale pods, giant turtles and monstrous jellyfish ride the Gulf Stream, a huge ocean current that becomes a migration superhighway and helps warm northern Europe. Meanwhile, fishermen battle for survival in mountainous seas as they try to reap the current's natural fertility.
Across our planet, there are a handful of places that truly astonish, like Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls. These wonders seem to have little in common other than - literally - taking your breath away. But they share one other thing: they pose extraordinary challenges for their inhabitants. The second of two documentaries profiling some of the world's most expansive - and inhospitable - landscapes, and the people who live there. A fisherman in Zambia faces off against crocodiles and risks being swept to his death as he tries to make a living above the imposing Victoria Falls, and in the Amazon, a giant fish offers salvation to a hungry family that calls the river home. A boy's future hangs on the outcome of a single horse race in the vast grasslands of the Steppe, and in a European salt marsh, a young man duels with a savage bull in a centuries-old battle of wills.
Across our planet, there are a handful of places that truly astonish, like Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls. These wonders seem to have little in common other than - literally - taking your breath away. But they share one other thing: they pose extraordinary challenges for their inhabitants. The first of two programmes in which cameras explore some of the most inhospitable places on the planet and the people who live there, including a team of Sherpa roping a route on Mount Everest's notorious Khumbu Icefall and, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, farmers fight pitched battles to save their crops from marauding elephants. In the Amazon rainforest, two boys undergo a rite of passage involving hundreds of ants with the most painful stings on Earth, and conservationists in the Grand Canyon try to ensure the survival of one of America's few surviving condor chicks.
This film explores why it pays to work as a team as it reveals some of the most captivating and awe-inspiring group parenting stories from the animal world. For most group-living species, living together means dividing the labour. From elephants taking part in hostage negotiations for their babies to banded mongoose all giving birth on the same day, female lions forming a sisterhood to see off interloping males and musk oxen rallying together to defend their calves from hungry wolves... it's truly amazing what some animal parents are prepared to do for the next generation!
It may take two to make a baby - but not necessarily two to bring it up. So what makes a parent decide to stay or go? Especially if that parent is a dad. From the California mouse mother who has to kickstart her partner's paternal instincts, to Adelie penguin parents who can't leave their eggs alone for five minutes; from cheetah mums practicing promiscuity to keep the dads on side, to flamingo parents both producing milk for their young. We see just how far these incredible parents go in order to protect and nurture as many offspring as possible through to adulthood.
We reveal the weird and wonderful stories of some of the natural world's incredible single parents: their devotion, dedication and often jaw-dropping endeavour in order to see their babies through to adulthood. From the slow loris covering her baby in toxic saliva to the Weddell seal putting her pup through winter boot camp, a weedy sea dragon cleverly camouflaging his eggs against his body and the female giant Pacific octopus sacrificing herself for her brood - we see how these parents are prepared to go the extra mile to arm the next generation with what they need to survive.
Sharks are among the most misunderstood predators on the planet, but an international team of scientists is trying to change that. Their research is revealing that sharks can be sociable and intelligent, and they could even help solve some of the toughest medical challenges of the 21st century. However, their breakthroughs come just as many sharks face extinction. Science may now be the only way to save them.
Sharks are more than just hunters. Only now are discoveries revealing a hidden side to their character. They have an intricate social life, complex courtship rituals, surprising ways of bringing up their young and extraordinary powers of navigation. They can forge relationships with the strangest of partners, even humans.
The first programme shows how sharks are the ocean's great predators, living in every ocean and hunting in every way. Blacktip sharks hunt in huge packs and herd fish into baitballs, tasselled wobbegongs are ambush hunters, Greenland sharks live under the arctic ice, and whitetip reef sharks are the masters of hunting at night. The finale shows the great white in its hunt for fur seals off the coast of South Africa.
Biologists teach that all living things on Earth are related. Is there any solid evidence to back this claim? Join us as we explore the facts! We start with a close look at the origin of whales from land mammals, and then touch on the origins of several other critters, including our own species.
Issues of genetics and DNA are constantly cropping up in the news from food production and health, to legal cases and ethics. We hear about DNA in movies like Jurassic Park and X-men, we learn bits and pieces about it from TV shows like Dexter and and CSI, but what exactly is DNA, and how does it work?
Humans, octopi and pine trees alike are all made up of cells, tiny but sophisticated systems that keep life going. Cells are almost like tiny factories run by robots, with the nucleus, DNA, proteins, lipids, and vitamins and minerals all playing critical roles. George Zaidan and Charles Morton lay out the blueprint of a cell and explain how biochemistry binds all life together.
The human eye is an amazing mechanism, able to detect anywhere from a few photons to a few quadrillion, or switch focus from the screen in front of you to the distant horizon in a third of a second. How did these complex structures evolve? Joshua Harvey details the 500 million year story of the human eye.
In the final episode of this groundbreaking scientific study, Liz Bonnin and a team of scientists reveal the secret language of our cats, the surprising conversations they have when we are asleep, and why they meow to us but not each other. We rig a house with cameras and cat trackers to discover if four cats living under one roof all get on as well as we would like to think. And we find out why living alongside us is making life difficult for our 21st-century cats.
The second episode of this unique scientific study reveals the wild side of pet cats. Using GPS trackers and cat cameras, they show how these felines transform from pampered pet to purring predator as soon as they leave the cat flap. Liz Bonnin and some of the world's top cat experts put Ozzy and Smudge under surveillance to find out who is king of the street and reveal why, no matter how hard we try, we can't keep our cats' hunting instincts under control.
Playful pets, fearsome fighters or deadly hunters? Millions of us have cats in our homes, yet we know very little about them. In this series, Liz Bonnin joins forces with some of the world's top cat experts to conduct a groundbreaking scientific study. With GPS trackers and cat cameras, we follow 100 cats in three very different environments to find out what they get up to when they leave the cat flap. In the first programme we discover how our cats see, hear and smell the world with the senses of their wild ancestors, and why this could be making life difficult for them in the modern world.
Horizon explores the secrets of what makes a long, healthy and happy life. It turns out that a time you can't remember - the nine months you spend in the womb - could have more lasting effects on you today than your lifestyle or genes. It is one of the most powerful and provocative new ideas in human science, and it was pioneered by a British scientist, Professor David Barker. His theory has inspired a field of study that is revealing how our time in the womb could affect your health, personality, and even the lives of your children.
The hunt for life within the long-dead bones of dinosaurs may sound like the stuff of Hollywood fantasy - but one woman has found traces of life within the fossilised bones of a T rex. Dr Mary Schweitzer has seen the remains of red blood cells and touched the soft tissue of an animal that died 68 million years ago. Most excitingly of all, she believes she may just have found signs of DNA. Her work is revolutionising our understanding of these iconic beasts.
Bill Turnbull investigates one of the biggest mysteries in the British countryside: what is killing our bees. It is a question that generates huge controversy. Changes in the weather, pesticides and even a deadly virus have all all been blamed. It is a question that Bill is all too familiar with as a beekeeper himself. He meets the scientists who are fitting minute radar transponders on to bees to try to find answers.
Our planet was once populated by megafauna, big top-of-the-food-chain predators that played their part in balancing our ecosystems. When those megafauna disappear, the result is a "trophic cascade," where every part of the ecosystem reacts to the loss. How can we stay in balance? George Monbiot suggests rewilding: putting wolves, lions and other predators back on top -- with surprising results.
When you picture the lowest levels of the food chain, you might imagine herbivores happily munching on lush, living green plants. But this idyllic image leaves out a huge (and slightly less appetizing) source of nourishment: dead stuff. John C. Moore details the "brown food chain," explaining how such unlikely delicacies as pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.
Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists - the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web. It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please.
Space. It separates you from me, one galaxy from the next, and atoms from one another. It is everywhere in the universe. But to most of us, space is nothing, an empty void. Well, it turns out space is not what it seems. From the passenger seat of a New York cab driving near the speed of light, to a pool hall where billiard tables do fantastical things, Brian Greene reveals space as a dynamic fabric that can stretch, twist, warp, and ripple under the influence of gravity.
David Attenborough visits archaeological sites where fossils were found illustrating the origins of life on earth, in the ocean. For long, evolution worked very slow and species remained primitive, mostly single-cell, alter fractal. Only the invention of sexual reproduction kick-started genetic diversification.
The theory of evolution explains how the enormous variety of life could come into existence. How it is possible for primitive life forms to spawn the millions of different creatures, that exist today. Unfortunately, evolution is often misunderstood, because it's mechanisms seem counter intuitive. By using visualizations, infographics and appealing characters, the viewer is more likely to understand it the complex information.
In which John Green and Hank Green teach you about how human primates moved out of Africa and turned Earth into a real-life Planet of the Apes. And the apes are people! John and Hank teach you about how humans evolved, and the sort of tricks they picked up along the way like complex tool use, big brains, and fighting. Learn more: http://www.bighistoryproject.com
Following 161 84 views About Export Add to From the Great Pyramid at Giza to the towering skyscrapers of today, humans have engineered massive constructions for at least 5,000 years. But why? How do biology and human emotions affect our desire to build gigantic structures?
Traveling is extremely arduous for microscopic sperm -- think of a human trying to swim in a pool made of...other humans.