Zoologist and explorer George McGavin goes in search of some of the world's most impressive swarms. By getting right to the heart of these natural spectacles, he finds out why swarms are the ultimate solution to surviving against all odds and discovers how unlocking the secrets to how animals swarm could be crucial to understanding our own increasingly crowded lives.
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For many endangered baby animals, the right zoo can mean hope for the entire species. Watch an endangered red panda cub get a warm welcome at Cornwall's Newquay Zoo, a rare baby macaque receive care from parents and keepers alike at the Dudley Zoological Gardens, and more.
When you picture the lowest levels of the food chain, you might imagine herbivores happily munching on lush, living green plants. But this idyllic image leaves out a huge (and slightly less appetizing) source of nourishment: dead stuff. John C. Moore details the "brown food chain," explaining how such unlikely delicacies as pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.
Explore a corner of Namibia dominated by stifling heat and parched sand, where a desolate landscape of haunting beauty lies. While most of Etosha National Park is devoid of growth, its margins are dotted with a series of oases that attract herds of thirsty creatures: antelopes, exotic birds, and the world's biggest elephants.
The next programme explores the various sea-living invertebrates. In Morocco, the limestones are 600 million years old, and contain many invertebrate fossils. They fall broadly into three categories: shells, crinoids and segmented shells. The evolution of shelled creatures is demonstrated with the flatworm, which eventually changed its body shape when burrowing became a necessity for either food or safety. It then evolved shielded tentacles and the casings eventually enveloped the entire body: these creatures are the brachiopods. The most successful shelled animals are the molluscs, of which there are some 80,000 different species.