Prince of the Alps

NATURE reveals a breathtaking view into the world of a red deer calf as he struggles to survive in Prince of the Alps.

From the moment he is born, a red deer calf faces a life-long struggle to survive in his new home — the mountain wilderness of the Austrian Alps. His first six weeks are filled with exploration and discovery of his world, under the watchful eye of his mother. When he is ready, he and his mother journey along age-old migration paths from the forests up to the high mountain meadows, where the beginning of summer brings life and renewal to the slopes. There, they join other red deer mothers and their calves. The stags have already arrived, their antlers covered in tender velvet — and growing quickly.

Featuring panoramic scenes of lush landscapes, Prince of the Alps travels high into the mountains, where chamois and ibex are right at home on the nearly vertical cliffs, marmots emerge late from hibernation, and red deer prove their agility. The little prince enjoys special status in the herd, thanks to his mother’s social rank. She leads him to the best feeding places and teaches him about his new surroundings. His first brush with civilization is a herdsman calling out to his cattle. Unlike drivers on the roads, and the hunters and hikers who also invade their world, the herdsman poses no threat to deer in the mountains. The young calf also learns his first lesson about dangerous weather in the mountains, where storms rage and lighting kills.

In September, the mountains echo with the calls of the great red deer stags. During the six weeks or so of the autumn rut, the stags compete for the chance to father next year’s calves before the seasons change and winter claims the mountains. Snow, ice, cold, and hunger will also claim their share of the herds before spring returns. Many deer find it hard to feed and finding shelter takes all the energy they have.

Seven months into his life, the little prince is left alone and his chances of survival are slim. But when the sights and sounds of spring once again appear, and the red deer mothers and calves make their way up to the high mountain pastures, a one-year-old red deer calf with tiny antlers sets out with them. He has earned his place as Prince of the Alps.

Online content for Prince of the Alps was originally posted May 2008.

  • Tim Salome

    This is a great show about the red stags! great scenery!great camera shots! wish there had was a little more about hunting this majestic Deer!

  • karstic

    Beautiful scenary and majestic mountains. We were lucky to Gamse (chamois) and Steinbock (ibex) in Hohe Tauern NP this summer. Where in Austria was this filmed?

  • hadjer

    I’m wondering why are there people hunting those animals(stags and deer) in spite i think that they are day by day vanishing in opposing the hard seasons and those who deer to exterminate them?

  • Steve Gilbert

    Too many repeats. It’s getting very tiresome. It’s rare when we get the treat to see new material.

  • joshua

    I really enjoyed The Prince of The Alps. The editing was fantastic. The program lured you in to watch. I enjoyed the introduction to the Prince and how they showed a rainbow after he was born. You can tell that a lot of time went into it. Great video shots and great music. Abraham’s voice was excellent

  • Tim and Tonya

    WOW I wanna go there! What a stunning presentation! I wanna be a herder! He has the life!! Where is this exactly!? Thanks for the incredible “trip” to a beautiful place we have never seen before!

  • Chris Scroggins

    I enjoyed this episode of Nature very much. Even though the red deer was the main subject matter, the production also included good footage of many other species of Alps wildlife, as well as beautiful alpine flowers and stunning vistas.

  • Claudia

    Thank you for airing this fantastic Penker/Feichtenberger Austrian production. What glorious scenery, shot by a fantastic, award-winning Austrian team–makes me want to get on the next plane out of Logan bound for Europe! Keep bringing us these wonderful, informative foreign films ‘GBH!

  • lupe guillen

    i really enjoyed this educational program about the deers,such as their survival,mating and specially the scenery

  • Pieter

    Proper Wildlife Management with the Government and funding with hunting licenses work as a herd management tool to keep numbers in control and meat donated by hunters to local homeless shelters feeds the poor who do not necessarily see any amounts of protein in their diets. Venison is high in vitamins and low in fat. Venison is also organic vs. eating meat that is farm raised and typically has high quantities of steroids, etc… Hunters and hunting has been apart of mans ability to develop over the past ten thousand years. Nothing about Mother Nature is fluffy,pretty, or perfect. Mother Nature will kill you and that little stag if it breaks a leg or makes a mistake with a predator. Spend a week outside without a tent or provision…I bet you don’t make it past the first two days. Death in nature is part of the cycle of life. People forget to soon how tough the natural world is when peering at if from the windows of comfort.

  • Pieter

    Another thing. Stop trying to make animals out to be humanistic by calling a single fawn a Prince. I continue to see this done with the animals of every species on television. Murcat Manor comes to mind. There isn’t a fairy kingdom that is perfect for this little fawn and all the animals. The wolf won’t stop from trying to survive by eating it because you think this is some sort of Prince. If you want to honor the animals, then talk about the spirit of the animal and honor that. Speak on terms of reality and spirituality, I think you would have a better following from people that actually spend time in the woods vs those on the couch.

  • Marvin

    Finding a dead deer in the melting snow in springtime was reaslitic and should have satisfied those “people that actually spend time in the woods.” Lighten up Pieter. This documentary presented its subject matter very well; no “sugar-coating” that I could see. The good was evenly presented with the not so good. By the way, WGBH’s “following” spans a large segment of the population; from couch potatoes to “people that actually spend time in the woods” and all those in-between.

  • Mariella

    The mountain photography was brilliant and the life of the LITTLE PRINCE was sweetly captured.The closeups are really something and I admired them.Canon is the super camera that makes it all possible.Bravo to them!

  • Co

    that looks awesome
    i want to whatch that one right now

  • Jane

    this is a good show

  • Kevin A.

    My favorite all time Nature episode! What a stunning land. I wish I could live there in solace forever!

  • Walker Hughes

    When will this wonderful episode be shown again in Louisvile, Ky. KET ??
    Thank you !!

  • j Lee

    The deer was crashed in the car accident, pursued by dogs, the pregnant deer fell from the mountain with serveral heavy crash.
    Were these scenes created for the episode?! This is unbelievable tragedy.

  • Ingrid

    My husband and I enjoyed the mountain goat chase scene. That first goat was running for its very life and the second goat looked like he wanted to toss the other goat off the mountain. Is there a clip of that somewhere?

  • Alex Wallach

    I’m sure red deer are much larger than the mule deer we’ve got over in southern california

  • Roxanne

    Deer are cool!

  • Frank G.

    Prince of the Alps is one of my favorites, This Episode that moved me to finally become a member of WLIW. I loved it so much I even purchased the DVD. I want to do all I can to help the talented people that make these shows.

  • Ankogel

    Abenteuer am Ankogel…

    Damals fuhren die silbergrauen Gondeln der inzwischen eröffneten Ankogelbahn noch nicht. Das wohleingerichtete, inzwischen zum Hotel werdende Hannoverhaus……

  • Michigan Birder

    Prince of the Alps is one of the finest of the newer episodes of Nature. It is well worth getting on DVD. The scenery of the Alps and the story of the European deer are marvelous. I remember that years ago Marty Stouffer filmed some fine episodes on American deer and elk on Wild America. This program was quite similar and also had great photography. It’s great to see the European counterparts in the deer family as well.

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