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The Great Migration
Each year more than one million wildebeest and zebra invade the Serengeti grasslands, making it a paradise for the predators that live there. But what happens when the herds move off again? We follow the moving story of one lion family's struggle to survive until the return of the great migration. Nature's Great Events tells the story of the epic trek of herds that follow the rains to fresh pastures, and the tale of the predators they leave behind.
The crew captures the desperate plight of a single pride of lions, revealing a different side to the Serengeti. Rather than being a predators' paradise, it is a land in constant change, with wildebeest following the rains and leaving the lions to tough it out. The Ntudu pride has seven cubs, and is already suffering as the wildebeest leave to find fresh pastures. The four pride females struggle to find enough food for their hungry offspring. As weeks turn to months, the pride members become more emaciated and frailer, and the number of cubs dwindles to just two. As the herds begin to return, the plains reveal one final secret. For the first time since 1967 the Serengeti's only active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai, begins to billow ash and smoke. Filmed from the air, the team captures the exciting action. Fertilised by the volcanic ash over millions of years, these short grass plains are among the most productive grasslands in the world. After months of hardship, the pride's tragic story, through sickness, drought and fire, is over as the herds return, providing plentiful food.
Nature Great Events
The Great Salmon Run
Every year grizzly bear families in North America depend for their survival on a spectacular natural event: the return of hundreds of millions of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to the mountain streams where they were born. The salmon travel thousands of miles to spawn and then die. The great run not only provides food for bears, but for killer whales, wolves, bald eagles, and even the forest itself. The question is: will the salmon return in time to keep hungry bears alive?
A mother grizzly and her cubs emerge from their den high in snowy Alaskan mountains. Filming from the air the team capture a TV first, following the bears as they negotiate a near vertical slope on their journey to the coast where they await the return of the salmon. Meanwhile, the salmon are making their way to the to river mouths where they must swim upstream and against the current. The programme reveals how they tackle the torrents and leap over waterfalls, a feat equivalent to a human jumping over a house. Dozens of hungry bears eagerly await the salmon that make it up river. In another TV first, underwater cameras record the ingenuity and fancy footwork they use to collect dead salmon from the bottom of deep pools.
Nature Great Events
The Great Melt
Every year, around the world, seasonal changes transform entire landscapes and draw in millions of creatures as these great events unfold. This fantastic series combines the epic scale of Planet Earth and the intimate, emotional stories of charismatic animals as they struggle to survive. Using state of the art technology, these programmes capture the Earth's most dramatic and epic wildlife spectacles and the intimate stories of the animals caught up in them.
The Great Melt: The summer melt of Arctic ice, opening up nearly three million square miles of ocean and land, provides opportunities for millions of animals, including beluga whales, families of Arctic foxes, vast colonies of seabirds, and the fabled Arctic unicorn, the narwhal. For polar bears, however, it is the toughest time of year. Why? How will they survive? A mother polar bear and her cub make their first journey together onto the sea ice. They are looking for ringed seals, their favourite prey. It is a serious business but the cub just wants to play. The melting ice makes it harder for them to hunt and threatens their survival. In a unique aerial sequence, the migration of narwhal with their distinctive unicorn-like tusks is filmed for the first time. The whales' journey is risky as they travel along giant cracks in the ice. If the ice were to close above them, they would drown. Hundreds of beluga whales gather in the river shallows. They rub themselves on smooth pebbles in one of the most bizarre summer spectacles. Guillemot chicks take their first flights from precipitous sea cliff nests to the sea 300 metres below. They attempt to glide to safety but many miss their target. Their loss is a bonus for the hungry Arctic fox family waiting below. As the melt comes to an end the bears gather, waiting for the sea to freeze again. Two 400kg males square up to each other to spar.
Nature Great Events
Fight for the Future
Having explained the science behind global warming, and addressed the arguments of the climate change sceptics earlier in the series, Dr Iain Stewart concludes the series by looking at the biggest challenge now facing climate scientists - Just how can they predict exactly what changes global warming will bring?
It's a journey that takes him from early attempts to model the climate system with dishpans, to supercomputers, and to the frontline of climate research today: Greenland. Most worryingly he discovers that scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that their models are actually underestimating the speed of changes already underway.
The Climate Wars
Drowning in Plastic
Our blue planet is facing one its biggest threats in human history. Trillions of pieces of plastic are choking the very lifeblood of our earth, and every marine animal, from the smallest plankton to the largest mammals, is being affected. But can we turn back this growing plastic tide before it is too late? Wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin visits scientists working at the cutting edge of plastics research. She works with some of the world's leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in our oceans and what it means for the future of all life on our planet, including us.
Liz travels to a remote island off the coast of Australia that is the nesting site for a population of seabirds called flesh-footed shearwaters. Newly hatched chicks are unable to regurgitate effectively, so they are filling up on deadly plastic. She visits the Coral Triangle that stretches from Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands to find out more from top coral scientists trying to work out why plastic is so lethal to the reefs, fragile ecosystems that contain 25 per cent of all marine life.
Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places
A History of Christianity
History of the Eagles
The Story of the Jews
One Strange Rock
The Human Body
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