Once a mountain kingdom of ancient palaces and emperors, Korea in the 21st century is largely known for its modern cities and decades of conflict. Tensions between North and South may be what defines it to outsiders but beyond the battle scars there is another side to Korea. In the south are large pockets of untouched wilderness where extraordinary animals flourish and Koreans continue to practice age-old traditions in tandem with the seasons and with nature. It is in these connections, rather than in division, that we see the true Korea. At the southernmost tip of the peninsular we follow a pod of bottlenose dolphins through the volcanic islands of Jeju. They click at each other as they encounter a human in their midst, but the dolphins know this diver well - they have shared the ocean with the Haenyeo, or sea women, for thousands of years. We travel onwards to the isolated island of Marado, where three generations of sea women are preparing for a dive. Today is the start of the conch season, and they work hard whatever the weather to maximise their catch. In the grounds of an ancient palace on the mainland, a raccoon dog family takes advantage of a rare event. Just once every five years, hundreds of cicadas emerge from below ground providing an easy feast for the raccoon dogs who voraciously fill their bellies. Those that escape their jaws make for the safety of the trees, where they metamorphosise into their flying form. On the mud flats of Suncheon Bay we find a habitat that is neither land nor sea. Only recently has the ecological value of mudflats been recognised. A staggering 50 per cent of the earth's oxygen is produced by phytoplankton - microscopic algae that are found here in great abundance. That is why the mudflats are known locally as the lungs of the earth. Plankton is far from the only life here - the mud of the bay is rich in nutrients and supports one of the most diverse ecosystems on the peninsula. We follow the story of a young mudskipper who has emerged for his first mating season. His journey to find love is paved with obstacles.
The world's cities are growing at a faster rate than any other habitat on the planet. And while most of us imagine them to be concrete jungles devoid of nature, for animals of all shapes and sizes they are just a new habitat filled with new and surprising opportunity. With similar needs to humans, these wild animals face similar challenges, and like us, if they play their cards right, they can find everything they need in the city. With the natural world shrinking, and our urban centres continuing to grow, adapting to life in the city has never been more important. This first episode examines what it takes for these wild residents to thrive in the newest and fastest changing habitat on the planet. From smooth-coated otters at home in Singapore and huge colonies of megabats in Adelaide to reticulated pythons living on the streets of Bangkok, experience our cities through fresh eyes - the eyes of the animals that live in them, and discover a wilder side to a world we think we know.
Mammals dominate the planet. They do it through having warm blood and by the care they lavish on their young. Weeks of filming in the bitter Antarctic winter reveal how a mother Weddell seal wears her teeth down keeping open a hole in the ice so she can catch fish for her pup. A powered hot air balloon produces stunning images of millions of migrating bats as they converge on fruiting trees in Zambia, and slow-motion cameras reveal how a mother rufous sengi exhausts a chasing lizard. A gyroscopically stabilised camera moves alongside migrating caribou, and a diving team swim among the planet's biggest fight as male humpback whales battle for a female.
The wildlife that inhabit the snow-covered forest and open tundra of the far north, including Arctic foxes that dig face first in the snow to hunt for lemmings and turtle hatchlings that stay frozen during winter, emerging from suspended animation in the first thaws of spring. Snowy owls take advantage of 24 hours of continuous daylight to hunt as much as possible. Plus, a look at how climate change is harming this environment by melting the permafrost deep within the soil.
S1E5 • Frozen Planet II narrated by Sir David Attenborough • 2022 • Nature