Follows the first few months of a newborn humpback calf's life, as he learns to fend off the many hazards of the open ocean with the help of his devoted mother.
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In the second episode, Iain discovers how flowers have transformed our planet. He journeys to the remote islands of the South Pacific to track down the earliest flowers. In the deserts of Africa and rainforests of Vietnam, he sees how they brought brilliant colour to the most barren landscapes and sculpted the earth itself. And he learns how they drove the evolution of all animals - kick-starting our human story.
2/3 • How to Grow a Planet • 2012 • Nature
From a primate that's no bigger than a mouse, to a chameleon that can fit on your fingertip, the natural world is full of fantastically small animals. Biologist Patrick Aryee explores the fascinating secrets behind these miniature marvels and shows that they're not the underdogs you might think they are. Super Small Animals follows him as he meets the leading experts on these pint sized superstars, and finds out what makes them some of the most successful on the planet. First up, he reveals the huge benefits that being small can bring. There's the little lemur whose diminutive frame helps it to exploit a unique gap in the eco-system, the tiny hummingbird that uses its size to out-manoeuvre the competition, and the world's smallest seahorse that never has to leave home. He also explores why small animals are proportionally the strongest in the world, and introduces a peanut-sized beetle that can pull over a thousand times its own weight. Next he explores the challenges that animals face when they shrink in size, and the ingenious ways they overcome them. We find out how the smallest armadillo in the world manages to control its temperature in the searing desert sun, and the how the world's smallest fish can survive in nothing more than a puddle, because it never really grows up. Patrick meets a secretive hippo that lives in the dense jungle, and looks like it's been shrunk in the wash, and some of the world's smallest snakes that give birth to enormous babies. He also meets a scientist that studies how really tiny spiders have a surprising trick that enables them to travel an incredible 40 miles per day, using almost no energy. Then there are the animals that refuse to be pigeon holed as small, and manage to punch way above their weight. He puts some astonishing invertebrates to the test, to see how they work together to become much bigger than the sum of their parts and meets a pint-sized predator that takes on some of the largest and most dangerous creatures on the planet, getting hands on to discover how its build helps it to be brave. Finally he uncovers the incredible lengths that deep sea anglerfish go to in order to be big and small at the same time, and has an endearing encounter with a tiny carnivore that manages to be small in just one direction. Whether their size helps them to hunt, hide or survive, all these remarkable animals prove that good things really do come in small packages.
2017 • Nature
For the last decade, a team of frontline medics has been fighting to save Borneo's critically endangered orangutans. Armed with cameras, International Animal Rescue has documented their struggle: pulling apes from devastated jungle, giving emergency medical care, rehabilitating and releasing the healthiest orangutans back into the wild. This is both the story of their life-saving work and of how one of our closest wild relatives has been pushed to the brink of extinction. Combining genuine rescue footage with contributions from experts throughout, this documentary looks toward the future and asks what hope remains to save the orangutan.
2018 • Nature
Almost all life in the region breeds in summer. A growing colony of fur seals on a beach in South Georgia resembles that of elephant seals shown in the previous episode. The pups grow fast on the rich, fatty milk provided by their mothers and double their weight in just sixty days. As the females become sexually available, the mating season begins and males try to claim territory and mate with females. Like elephant seals, fur seals fiercely attack all competitors.
S1E3 • Life in the Freezer • 2003 • Nature
The Luangwa Valley in Zambia experiences one of the toughest dry seasons imaginable. Seven months with no rain and spiralling temperatures. And with this year’s El Nino conditions the drought is threatening to be even more intense than usual.
1/3 • The Big Dry • 2017 • Nature