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...
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.
Ch1. Oceans In Cape Verde, Gordon starts the adventure with a look at one of the world's largest populations of nesting loggerhead turtles. He then heads to the Bahamas with Caribbean reef sharks, California to see young elephant seals and the British Isles to attach featherweight cameras to a squadron of gannets. Ch2. Australia In New South Wales, Gordon encounters a marsupial facing a complex set of challenges when he meets a population of kangaroos that are being pushed to the very brink by a coastal development boom. How are they surviving on the edge of this urban expansion? Gordon meets the scientists driven to find out more about what the roos are feeding on as they are pushed onto the coastal fringes. As we become immersed in their world, we get a better understanding of kangaroos' social lives and the impact of human encroachment on their diet. In southern Australia, we head to Adelaide, where one of the team's toughest challenges yet is to create the lightest of cameras to find out what the lure of the big city is to a colony of newly arrived fruit bats. Their appearance is a bit of a puzzle. Are they a threat to the local commercial fruit crops or have they found other ways to adapt to city life? For the first time ever, the fruit bats take our cameras up above the cityscape, showing us a unique view of their nocturnal worlds while providing information crucial to their future. In Queensland, we help scientists find out if koalas really deserve their dozy daytime reputation when we join researchers at a reserve to discover some incredible revelations surrounding their night-time manoeuvres. The team's tech allows us to shadow them after sundown, unveiling their remarkable agility and surprising navigational skills. Specially designed with tree-hugging in mind, koalacams offer an insight which could help koalas as we find out what they need to survive - not just here, but elsewhere in the country.
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.
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.