With a million species at risk of extinction, Sir David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, threatening food and water security, undermining our ability to control our climate and even putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases. Extinction is now happening up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate, but the issue is about more than the loss of individual species. Everything in the natural world is connected in networks that support the whole of life on earth, including us, and we are losing many of the benefits that nature provides to us. The loss of insects is threatening the pollination of crops, while the loss of biodiversity in the soil also threatens plants growth. Plants underpin many of the things that we need, and yet one in four is now threatened with extinction. Last year, a UN report identified the key drivers of biodiversity loss, including overfishing, climate change and pollution. But the single biggest driver of biodiversity loss is the destruction of natural habitats. Seventy-five per cent of Earth's land surface (where not covered by ice) has been changed by humans, much of it for agriculture, and as consumers we may unwittingly be contributing towards the loss of species through what we buy in the supermarket. Our destructive relationship with the natural world isn’t just putting the ecosystems that we rely on at risk. Human activities like the trade in animals and the destruction of habitats drive the emergence of diseases. Disease ecologists believe that if we continue on this pathway, this year’s pandemic will not be a one-off event.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.