To survive, animals need somewhere to live, a place that provides the necessities of life, shelter from the elements and a refuge from enemies. Good homes are rare and competition can be intense – finding a home is one thing, but defending it is quite another.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For 10,000 years or more, humans created new plant varieties for food by trial and error and a touch of serendipity. Then 150 years ago, a new era began. Pioneer botanists unlocked the patterns found in different types of plants and opened the door to a new branch of science - plant genetics. They discovered what controlled the random colours of snapdragon petals and the strange colours found in wild maize. This was vital information. Some botanists even gave their lives to protect their collection of seeds. American wheat farmer Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel peace prize after he bred a new strain of wheat that lifted millions of people around the world out of starvation. Today, botanists believe advances in plant genetics hold the key to feeding the world's growing population.