Tour the extraordinary wildlife and people of the Himalaya – the highest mountain range on earth. Bizarre snub-nosed monkeys live in frozen forests. Tibetan monks perform ancient rituals high in the mountains whilst snow leopards prowl the mountain sides.
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
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.
On a journey across Africa towards the war-torn Congo, the travellers encounter chimpanzees, gorillas and elephants, but are there any northern white rhinos still alive in the wild? The news is not good but there is some hope in the remarkable project under way to save the black rhino in Kenya.
Simon discusses the challenge of preserving unspoilt wildernesses, from the icy expanses of Siberia to the tropical forests of central and South America. Simon reflects on how his past series have dealt with the causes and impact of climate change, as well as remembering a memorable report exposing the extent of plastic pollution in the ocean. He also recalls meeting indigenous people around the world and hearing their first-hand experiences of ecological damage.