Saturday, 31 December 2011

Top TV Wildlife moments of 2011 - what's yours? #FaveWildlifeTVmoment2011

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Here is a quick run down of 5 of my favourite moments from wildlife TV in 2011. What were yours?

Comment HERE or on Twitter using #FaveWildlifeTVmoment2011

1. The Brinicle of Death

I could have chosen any one of many amazing wildlife moments from Frozen Planet. The desperate battle between a wolf and bison, pack hunting orcas creating waves to hunt seals, or rock stealing penguins, but if I remember just one thing from Frozen Planet then the 'Brinicle of Death' will be it. Not only for the 'how on earth did they film that' sense of awe and respect, but also for the 'holy cr*p, that's something out of science fiction' disbelief. I still can't quite believe such a thing exists, it sends shivers down my spine.

It may not strictly be a 'wildlife' moment but I'll let it pass in remembrance of all those starfish which lost their lives, frozen by the 'finger of death'.

"With timelapse cameras, specialists recorded salt water being excluded from the sea ice and sinking. The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it. Where the so-called "brinicle" met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish" - Doug Anderson

2. Children hunt worlds largest venomous spider

The Jungles episode of Human Planet was a film of wonder and intrigue, which left me ensconced in a world of ancient customs, strange food and the human struggle for survival. My skin tingled as I watched young Piaroa children in Venezuela hunt and then roast tarantulas on an open fire.

Ok, so roasting tarantulas might not usually be considered a wildlife moment either, but I think of it as one of the most fascinating predator/prey relationships portrayed on TV in 2011.

3. David Attenborough gets close to the once elusive indri

A list of top TV wildlife moments would not be complete without an appearance from Sir David Attenborough. My favourite Attenborough moment of the year was when he met an indri, a species of lemur that was once incredibly elusive and almost hunted to extinction. His hushed tones and reverence for the natural world heighten the emotion of this enchanting moment.

"I thought these were the most elusive, shy creatures. It certainly took me a long time to find them, but that they can now be so trusting is a marvelous testament to how people here now react towards them and cherish them. It's a heartwarming realisation that wild creatures like this, and human beings can live alongside each other in harmony" - David Attenborough

4. Squelchingly gruesome rotting elephant

I couldn't resist including a bit of rot in this list, so I chose Channel 4's Life after Death (number two on my rot list was the thoroughly enjoyable Afterlife - The Strange Science of Decay, on BBC FOUR, presented by George McGavin.)

Ever wondered what happens to an elephant after it dies? No, this wasn't a programme contemplating elephant heaven, it was an exploration into the squelchingly gruesome world of decomposition. The star of the show was a young male elephant, slowly decomposing in Tsavo West National Park, Kenya. He had to be put down by a vet after being severely wounded by poachers. His remains drew attention from miles around and provided a bounty of fast-food for the local ecosystem. It also provided a perfect spot for a bunch of scientists, led by Simon Watt, to delve under the skin of this rich African ecosystem as a five-tonne elephant was transformed into six million calories worth of fat, meat and guts. Under the African sun, voracious vultures, hyenas, leopards and insects picked away at the corpse day and night, until just seven days later there was nothing left but a pile of polished bones.

5. Goshawk put to the test

My apologies for the self-indulgence, I had to include my favourite sequence from 'Animals Guide to Britain'. While this series was at completely the opposite end of the budget spectrum to 'Frozen Planet', I feel that we managed to create an insightful, entertaining and memorable sequence.

In controlled conditions, with the use of a series of different shaped gaps and tubes, slow motion photography revealed how a Goshawk is able to negotiate the most densely packed undergrowth. To allow her to fit though some of the narrower gaps, she has to withdraw her wings completely. The slow-motion footage revealed that, to stay airborne, she uses her large tail to give her crucial lift.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth Cheeseman31/12/2011 20:45

    I think my no 1 has to be the scene from "The bears and me" when Gordon Buchanan lay at the base of a tree,young Hope feeding from his hand and playing with him, his delight at her trust was plain to see. No2 the gray owl and chick on Nordic wild.