World of The Wild
Spread over nine countries and five-and-half-million square kilometers, the Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and one of the most biodiverse environments on the face of the Earth. This episode wades through the murky waterways, crawls amid the tangled undergrowth and climbs to the dense jungle canopy, in search of the Amazon’s most iconic inhabitants: Anacondas, Sloths, Caimans, Tarantulas and Amazon River Dolphins.
Known as “the veld” the open woodlands and rolling grass plains of the African savannah pass through more than twenty-five countries to cover almost half the continent. Here, the wildlife has responded in remarkable ways to meet the challenges of its demanding environment. In this episode, we cross the increasingly fragile savannah to discover Lions, Elephants, Wildebeests, Cheetahs and Giraffes.
Great Barrier Reef+
Considered the rainforests of the sea, coral reefs comprise some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. And, recognized as one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is an exceptional example. Stretching for over two-thousand-three-hundred kilometers, this is the largest coral reef system in the world. Brimming with an array of uniquely adapted life-forms, the reef itself is a living structure and is the only living thing visible from outer space. In this episode we delve into the sun-lit waters of the reef to examine Octopuses, Green Sea Turtles, Dugongs, Jellyfish and White Tip Reef Sharks.
A windswept polar desert, the Arctic is one of the last extensive areas of wilderness remaining in the world. It is also among the least hospitable environments known to man – with its ever-changing icy landscape and ferocious weather conditions helping shield it from human influence. Isolated and largely unpopulated, the Arctic has preserved a specialized and surprisingly abundant variety of animals. Here, in the northernmost part of the globe, can be found Polar Bears, Walruses, Killer Whales, Moose and Wolves.
The great plains of North America have taken the name “prairie” from the French for meadow. Formed in the rain shadow cast by the nearly five-thousand kilometer length of the Rocky Mountain range, the limited rainfall on the prairie has created a unique and immense grassland ecosystem. Once covering most of North America, since European settlement the prairie has been much reduced and, in this episode, we traverse this largely unprotected environment in search of Bison, Red Foxes, Pronghorns, Bald Eagles and Wild Horses.
Jungles of Asia+
The world’s largest continent, Asia is home to some of the planet’s most ancient rainforests. From evergreen lowland ranges, to the cool, mountainous cloud forests, there are areas of jungle habitat here dating back over one-hundred-million years. To succeed in the dense world of the jungle, the animals here have evolved extraordinary adaptations. In this episode we venture into the heart of the jungle to encounter Asian Elephants, Fruit Bats, Portia Spiders, Water Buffalo and Pythons.
Covering over seventy percent of the globe, oceans are our planet’s defining environment. Yet this truly enormous underwater world remains one of mystery – with less than ten percent of the ocean’s living space having been explored. In search of the denizens of the deep we venture beneath the surface to find Manta Rays, Humpback Whales, Barracudas, Dolphins and Whale Sharks.
Wetlands, whether salt or freshwater are among the most productive and biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. Swamps, marshes, mangroves and lagoons; these aquatic landscapes take a variety of forms and can be found around the world. Supporting an unparalleled assortment of wildlife, the creatures of the wetlands display a remarkable range of adaptations to their ever-changing ecosystem and this episode focuses on Wetland Birds, Frogs, Snapping Turtles, Saltwater Crocodiles and Fiddler Crabs.
Covering a third of the planet’s land, deserts are found on every continent and come in a variety of forms. While hostile to life, deserts are far from lifeless and offer surprising diversity in the animals that inhabit them. Survival in these unforgiving environments demands endurance, resourcefulness and grit. And, possessing these attributes and more, this episode features Scorpions, Rattlesnakes, Camels, Lizards and Golden Wheel Spiders.
Masters of the Sky+
Connecting every environment on Earth, the skies are an endless other world comprising all that lies above the surface of our planet. Constantly changing with the invisible forces of winds and thermal updrafts, few creatures other than birds have evolved to inhabit this ethereal space. With air pollution above and habitat degradation below, many bird species face an uncertain future and this episode explores the lives of Pelicans, Wedge-Tailed Eagles, Barn Owls, Hummingbirds and Vultures.
Vital to life on Earth, freshwater is a surprisingly scarce commodity with just three percent of our planet’s water being fresh. While many species depend on access to freshwater to survive, there are those that have evolved an even closer bond. But, this relationship can be a perilous one, with freshwater species facing projected extinction rates five times higher than terrestrial animals. This episode visits a variety of freshwater environments to examine the adaptations of Great Egrets, Dragonflies, Platypus, Hippopotamuses, Freshwater Crocodiles.
Towering over their surrounding lands, mountains are among the Earth’s most dramatic geological features. Historically protected by their inaccessibility, mountains today are confronted with growing demand for resources through mining and logging. To occupy such challenging terrain, animals must be hardy and adaptable to change. Evolving to prosper where few others dare to tread, in this episode we study Bears, Elk, Marmots, Bighorn Sheep and Pumas.
Stretching for nearly six-hundred-thousand square kilometers, the majestic island of Madagascar encompasses a landscape so large and diverse that ecologists have named it “the eighth continent”. In this episode we travel through tropical jungles to dry forests and over mountainous highlands to meet the island’s rare inhabitants – Chameleons, Lemurs, Aye-Ayes, Mudskippers and Mongooses – and learn how they are adapting to the modern pressures of a growing human population.