Just as Africa constantly throws-up mountains which intercept moisture-laden clouds from the oceans, so the changing landscape also creates grooves and basins which channel and gather the precious moisture that falls on the high ground.
The savannah is home to some of the greatest herds on Earth, and in this episode, Wild Africa brings you close encounters with these animals. The savannah is Africa's youngest landscape, shaped by the weather and the animals themselves as the continent dried. It is now home to baboons, wildebeest, lions, cheetah, and aardvarks who must struggle through the eight-month dry season to survive.
2001 • Nature
As a whole, Africa is a dry continent with deserts dominating the landscape. Wild Africa explores how these deserts were created, and the amazing ways in which animals and plants have evolved to cope with the meagre and unpredictable rainfall, intense solar radiation, shortages of food and lack of shelter. By traveling through the African deserts, Wild Africa reveals that given enough time, a diverse variety of animals and plants can make a living in even the harshest conditions.
2001 • Nature
Africa's coasts were formed by the break-up of Gondwanaland 100 million years ago. They define the familiar shape of this special continent, and touch on a variety of environments including deserts, mountains, forests, wetlands and savannahs. Wild Africa takes us back in time to witness the birth of Africa and also carries us on a spectacular journey around the edge of the continent.
2001 • Nature
Plants amazingly dominate this green world by employing poisons, recruiting defensive armies, feeding off the dead and using animals for pollination and seed dispersal. For predators this world presents exceptional challenges, not only in finding prey in such a tangled place, but in how to deal with the toxins that so many animals and plants are laced with.
2001 • Nature
Once life arrived in the Galapagos, it exploded into unique and spectacular forms. David Attenborough investigates the driving forces behind such evolutionary innovations. We learn that life must be able to adapt quickly in these ever-changing volcanic landscapes. It has resulted in species found nowhere else in the world, such as giant whale sharks and marine iguanas that can spit sea-salt from their noses, dandelion seeds that grow into tree-sized plants and spiders that can blend perfectly into the darkness. Adaptation has been the key to survival in these islands so far, but the story of life in the Galapagos doesn’t end here. The catalyst that triggers these explosions of life remains in place.
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.
The world's biggest beasts have always captured the imagination. But whilst being big can have its advantages, it also comes with sizeable challenges. Take the world's largest lizard, the Komodo dragon, whose huge appetite means it must take on prey ten times its weight, or the tallest animal of them all - the giraffe - who, with such a long neck, must control immense blood pressure. Nature's biggest beasts must go to extraordinary lengths to thrive. These are their epic survival stories!
David Attenborough looks at the mammals that hunt insects. These creatures shared the planet with the dinosaurs, but when the giant reptiles disappeared they seized their chance to conquer new territory. David meets moles that swim through sand, a shrew that hunts underwater and another that sprints down polished running tracks so fast that most predators can't catch it.
Isolated since the time of the dinosaurs, New Zealand's wildlife has been left to its own devices, with surprising consequences. Its ancient forests are still stalked by predators from the Jurassic era. It's also one of the most geologically active countries on earth. From Kiwis with their giant eggs, to forest-dwelling penguins and helicopter-riding sheep dogs, meet the astonishing creatures and resilient people who must rise to the challenges of their beautiful, dramatic and demanding home.