Ecologist Chris Morgan travels to the jungles of Northern Sumatra to document the work being done to save its population of wild orangutans. Asia’s most intelligent ape once roamed across the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Java, but today, fewer than 7,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild. The film cites rapid deforestation — clearing the land for vast palm oil plantations — as the chief reason for the species’ declining population.
One of the most overlooked ecosystems on the continent consists of a massive sea of sagebrush that stretches across 11 states in the American West. This spartan yet spectacular landscape supports more than 170 species of hardscrabble birds and mammals, including deer, eagles, hawks, prairie dogs, cranes, songbirds, badgers and rabbits. And among those that have adapted to survive here are birds found no place else – Greater Sage-Grouse. These grouse lead remarkable lives mostly hidden in the sage. But once each year, males emerge for days on end to strut and display as prospective mates for extraordinarily discriminating females, nearly all which mate with only one or two of them. Females must then raise their chicks on their own, with little food, water or shelter to sustain them, while plenty of predators wait for their smallest mistake. And today, they must also contend with wells and pipelines tapping the resources buried deep below. The sagebrush and the grouse carry on, but they’re losing ground.
In every animal’s life, there comes a time when it must stand on its own two feet, so to speak, and face the world alone. For a few, this happens just moments after birth, with no life lessons from parents to help them, no time to hone their survival skills. Others have the advantage of home schooling under the watchful eye of a mentor or family member. But growing up is never easy, and finding food, avoiding predators and making friends does not always come naturally. These are the trials and tribulations of young animals all over the world, as they prepare to leave home.
Representing the meticulous and ambitious work of an all-Chinese film company led by award-winning filmmaker, Xi Zhinong, this spectacular film is the true story of a family of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys living in the highest forests in the world. Only recently discovered, snub-nosed monkeys are hauntingly beautiful primates, different and gentler than others of their kind. Elfin-like, they seem both childlike and wise beyond their years. The family is led by a formidable fighter and his fighting force who guard a troop of 8-10 families. This is a unique monkey society, formed in response to the hardships of the Himalayas. But their survival depends not just upon strong defensive strategies; it also relies upon the cooperation and interdependence of them all.
Animals, like humans, need a place they can call home to provide a safe and stable place to raise a family, but they go about building it in entirely different ways. Whether it is a bird’s nest, bear den, beaver lodge or spider web, these are homes of great complexity, constructed from a wide range of natural as well as man-made materials. This three-part series investigates just how animals build their remarkable homes around the globe and the intriguing behaviors and social interactions that take place in and around them.
For centuries, owls have been featured in children’s books and folk tales capturing imaginations the world over. With their haunting calls and charismatic faces, these birds remain popular but mysterious because it’s rare to catch more than a glimpse of one in the wild. Unlike their cousins, the hawks, eagles and falcons, owls are the only bird of prey able to also hunt effectively at night when they have the skies to themselves. This has helped them become one of the most successful birds on earth, but the chief reason is due to their extraordinary super powers.
Antarctica’s most popular tourist destination is a unique British post office located in the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula at Port Lockroy, about 700 miles south of Argentina and Chile. Enthusiastic cruise ship passengers from around the world come ashore throughout the Antarctic summer to see the colony of 3,000 gentoo penguins that takes up residence each year alongside Port Lockroy’s other summer inhabitants – the post office staff.