Gunda provides a glimpse into the raw and simple power of nature through mesmerising encounters with farm animals, the eponymous Gunda, a mother pig, two ingenious cows and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken. Film-maker Victor Kossakovsky reminds us of the many lives that share this earth with humans and their value. From the first steps of piglets to the roaming joy of freed cows, Gunda: Mother, Pig draws a connection between human and animal, and the planet that we share with creatures great and small.
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.
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.
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
See the extraordinary wildlife and people of the Andes. Pumas hunt guanaco, shape-shifting frogs hide in remote cloud forests and the descendants of Inca build bridges of grass. The world’s driest desert, huge salt lakes and spectacular peaks are all found in the world’s longest mountain range.