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  • EARTH LIVE

PANTANAL, BRAZIL

OCELOTS:

  • After the jaguar, the ocelot is the largest spotted cat in South America. 

  • Arguably they have the most beautiful fur coat in the world, each pattern as unique as a fingerprint. 

  • It is so rare to see a wild ocelot on any occasion, this is probably the first time they’ve been shown live on television.  

  • The Pantanal is the one of the world’s largest wetlands and includes a World Heritage site. Smack-bang in the center of South America, it spans over 53,000 square miles—an area larger than state of New York. 

  • Steve Winter, National Geographic photojournalist has never before filmed the secretive ocelot. 

FINLAND, EUROPE

WOLVERINE:

  • Biggest member of the weasel family.

  • Powerful jaws with large teeth that can crunch through frozen carrion and bone.

  • It has a lumbering run thanks to its arched back being higher than its head and tail.

  • One of the least known large carnivores in the northern hemisphere and one of Finlands rarest mammals.  

  • Scientific name Gulo gulo means “glutton”, after their voracious appetite. They’ll eat everything including bones and teeth.

BRACKEN CAVE, TEXAS

MEXICAN FREE-TAILED BATS:

  • The Texas flight of the 20 million free-tailed bats is officially the largest gathering of mammals in the world. Outnumbering the Maasai Mara migratory wildebeest 20:1, and the zebras 200:1.

  • The Usain Bolts of the bat world, these bats can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour using tail winds. They are also the highest flying bats reaching heights of over 10,000 feet.

  • Bats are the only mammal on the planet capable of true flight, flying squirrels and flying lemurs are simply efficient gliders. 

  • The bat colony at Bracken cave feed exclusively on insects, mainly moths, beetles and flying ants many of which are agricultural pests. According to a 2006 study, their actions saved Texan cotton farmers almost $2,000,000 per year – one third of the profit they receive from the annual harvest.

  • Around the world bats save corm farmers an estimated 1 billion dollars annually. 

HARAR, ETHIOPIA

SPOTTED HYENAS:

  • Spotted hyenas are the second largest land predator in Africa (after lions).

  • Bad reputation; feared for their raids in towns where they have been known to kill small children.

  • Not only are they able to splinter and eat even the largest bones of animals like Zebra and Wildebeest, they can also digest them completely. Their dried out droppings are comprised almost entirely of a fine white lumpswith a lot of hairs in it.

  • The male reproductive organs are not particularly noteworthy but the female external reproductive organs are quite striking in that they accurately resemble the males.

  • The clitoris resembles a penis and is in the same position, capable of similar erection; two sacs filled with fibrous tissue look very much like the scrotum.

PANTANAL, BRAZIL

JABIRU STORK:

  • Jabiru’s are extraordinary birds – one of the largest birds in the Americas. 

  • They are the symbol of the Pantanal. 

  • Standing at up to 5 feet, they are the tallest flying bird in South America. 

  • These goliaths have an enormous wingspan of 8 feet – one of the largest in the world. 

  • We join award-winning photojournalist Steve Winter on a mission to photograph these incredible birds.

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA

CROCODILE:

  • The saltwater crocodile is the largest species of crocodile and the heaviest living reptile in the world. Adult males can reach up to sizes of up to 23 feet and 2200 lbs in weight.

  • Their humongous size enables them to create a crushing bite force of 3,689 lbs - the most powerful bite recorded from a living animal. This gives them the unique ability to capture and kill large, near-shore prey like buffalo and cattle.

  • Their bite force is massive, almost 3 times that of a bull shark, 3.5 times the force of the spotted hyena, and 12 times a human. 

  • Saltwater crocodiles are known to attack humans – globally, there were 55 fatal attacks recorded in 2015, the majority of attacks are on young men (average 31yrs) at the edge of water. For sharks, all species combined, there were just 6 fatal attacks in the same year. But relatively speaking, this is still a low risk – you are much more likely to perish simply falling from your bed then these animal attacks combined!


BEQA LAGOON, FIJI

BULL SHARKS:

  • Of the 500+ species of shark, bull sharks are considered by many to be the most dangerous. 

  • Responsible for at least 69 attacks on humans - 17 fatal. 

  • It’s said that a series of shark attacks in 1916, possibly by bull sharks, was part of the inspiration behind Peter Benchley infamous novel ‘Jaws’.

  • Bulls are equipped with the strongest bite of any shark species relative to their body size (a maximum force equivalent to 6,000N/1349lb) – well over twice the force needed to crush a human skull. 

  • The only shark readily found in both saltwater and freshwater, thanks to a special set of kidneys. 

  • They can swim thousands of miles upriver – reportedly over 2000 miles up the Amazon in Peru. 

OREGON, USA

GOLDEN EAGLE:

  • If a human swapped their eyes for an eagles, it would be like having an inbuilt pair of binoculars to use at your leisure. 

  • Diving from great heights, they have been clocked at astonishing speeds, close to 200mph. 

  • Our tame Golden eagle is known as ‘Widow’, weighing in at 9.5lbs, with a wingspan of 6ft. Widow has been known to reach dive speeds of over 150mph. 

JODHPUR, INDIA

LANGURS:

  • Hanuman langurs are named after the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, a protective and healing deity often depicted as part-man, part-monkey As such, the Hanuman Langur is deemed sacred in many parts of India and religious locals regularly provide food for them. 

  • The monkey god Hanuman is said to have rescued Sita, Lord Rama’s wife, from the demon king of Lanka by setting the island on fire with his tail.  Hanuman put his tail in his mouth to put the fire out, and the black faces of the langurs’ have been linked to Hanuman’s charred face.

  • These langurs have swapped branches for rooftops, happily living alongside man in the bustling city of Jodhpur. 

  • Langurs mostly walk on all fours. But they have been recorded leaping an astounding 15ft horizontally and 40ft in descending jumps! 

MAASAI MARA, KENYA

LIONS:

  • The lion is Africa’s largest and most charismatic big cat!  

  • Males can reach up to 10ft long, standing at 4ft and weighting up to 600lbs.

  • They can run at speeds of up to 37 mph for short bursts, usually not more than 650ft – much faster than Usain Bolt’s top recorded speed of 27.8mph at the 2009 World Championships.

  • Lions are the most social cats, living in prides which can contain up to forty members. 

  • Under the right conditions their roars can be heard from five miles away.

  • The Maasai Mara hosts the largest and most species-diverse large mammal migration in the world supporting huge prides of lions.

  • With three vehicles carrying infra-red, thermal and ultra-low light cameras trained on each lion pride in the area and Sophie’s expertise we have the best chance of witnessing these top predators in action.


KORAM ISLAND, THAILAND

MACAQUES:

  • Long-tailed macaques are one of only a handful of the 200+ primate species that use tools in the wild, joining an elite force with chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and capuchins. 

  • They use stones as pickaxes and hammers to prise open oysters with skill & precision 

  • Tool use was once thought to be unique to humans – we defined ourselves as "Man the Tool Maker." But the discovery of tool-using primates made us redefine our own species! 

  • They’re the third most widespread primate on the planet, after humans and rhesus macaques. 

QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

WEAVER ANTS:

  • Estimates of the worldwide population of ants range up to a jaw dropping ten thousand trillion.

  • For weaver ants’ alone, populations of over half a million often occur, with nests extending through the crowns of three large trees.

  • Despite their tiny size, weaver ants are deadly predators that coordinate attacks to bring down much larger prey like bees. Weavers are integral to the health of forests they live in.

  • In the Solomon Islands during World War II, legendary entomologist E. O. Wilson writes, “marine snipers climbing into trees were said to fear weaver ants as much as they did the Japanese. 

  • Some nests are so large that they incorporate up to 300 leaves. 


ALASKA, USA

HUMPBACKS:

  • A brand new scientific drone dubbed ‘SnotBot’ will fly directly above a pod of humpbacks. As they breathe out through their blow holes, it will collect invaluable genetic material. 

  • Every summer up to 1500 humpbacks swim 3000 miles from Hawaii to feed in Southeast Alaska.

  • Humpbacks barely eat anything for as much as half the year, so in summer they bulk up by eaitng up to 1.5 tons of krill and fish per day. 

  • Humpbacks have the second longest recorded migration of any mammal – an 11,706 mile round trip between American Samoa and the Antarctic Peninsula. (The record belongs to the western gray whale, recorded travelling over 13,987 miles in 172 days.

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