NATURE’S GREAT EVENTS
Imagine travelling thousands of miles every year to return to your birthplace, with only your instinct to guide you. The journey is fraught with danger at every turn. You have to deal with extreme weather conditions and predators at different points on your route. Yet still that instinct is urging you on, and eventually, when you make it through everything that is conspiring against you and arrive at the precise location of your birth, you reproduce and then you die. This is the great journey undertaken by the Pacific salmon every year and it is just one of an amazing set of journeys that feature in the latest spectacular wildlife series to hit our screens: Nature’s Great Events.
The series, filmed over a period of 25 months, takes us, the viewers, on an amazing journey too. We witness the epic spectacles brought about by seasonal changes and the effects these have on the wildlife. We follow some incredible journeys. Rare whales travel to the Arctic to feed on the rich supplies of fish which are accessible when the ice melts. This dangerous journey through the cracking ice is filmed by intrepid underwater cameramen. Another seasonal event, the dry season in the Serengeti, forces millions of wildebeest to travel thousands of miles following the rains to the north and back again. The east coast of Africa is the scene of the annual sardine run, where the movement of cold water currents encourages enormous shoals of fish to swim vast distances close to shore and directly into the hunting grounds of dolphins, sharks and whales! And perhaps the most amazing journey of all is that of the salmon, who exhibit spectacular determination in swimming up rivers, jumping rapids and attempting to avoid grizzly bears, which often catch and eat the fish. Where, we wonder, does all this knowledge come from?
The series is excellent and will, no doubt, be up for many awards. It is compelling viewing and what is encouraging is the balance that it achieves. We all know the effects that global warming is having on animals in every part of the world, but this programme, unlike many others, does not preach. Yes, we see the polar bears in their shrinking ice territory and we learn that the sardine run hasn’t happened for several years because of warmer waters. However, the sadness this brings is balanced against the heart-warming sight of the beluga whales dancing a water ballet in shedding their old skins and the wonder at the homing and migratory instincts of animals the world over.
For many reasons, this is a superb series and well worth watching.