There’s just two days to go until Planet Earth II arrives on BBC1.
The 2006 original was the first natural history series to be filmed in high definition. Thanks to advances in filming technology, the follow-up promises to be even more of a visual treat because the crew were able to get closer and capture behaviour and places that would have been impossible 10 years ago.
Here’s a sneak-peek of some of the wondrous animals that we’ll get to see as never before…
From the first episode on islands…
In January, the island of Zavodovski is covered with penguin chicks. Each couple lays two eggs in nests made of small stones or even bones, to aid drainage. The parents take turns in making feeding runs out to sea to collect food for their growing family. Around 1.5 million chinstrap penguins breed on Zavodovski, one of the South Sandwich Islands in Antarctica. It is an active volcano, and home to the largest penguin colony in the world.
A mother three-toed pygmy sloth carries her baby on her chest. The youngster is around six months old, and will remain with its mother for a further six months, until it is able to fend for itself. Pygmy three-toed sloths are a unique species found on the single island of Escudo de Veraguas, off the coast of Panama. They have been isolated for around 9,000 years, due to sea level rise.
A hatchling marine iguana sits on the head of an adult at Cape Douglas, on the island of Fernandina. Marine iguanas are unique to the islands of the Galapagos. They are the only lizards to forage algae from the sea – an adaptation to life on a barren, volcanic island. This hatchling is a successful one: in the first few minutes of life, it and its siblings must outrun snakes that attempt to hunt them as they emerge from their nests and make their way to the colony.
From the episodes on mountains, jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities…
There are may be as few as 3500 snow leopards left in the wild. They are famously elusive and difficult to film and have become increasingly threatened by climate change and human disturbance.
Nubian Ibex are unparalleled mountaineers – their rubberised hooves grip better than any climbing shoe.
A chain of salt lakes, found at over 4000m high in the Andes, provide a safe refuge for flamingo colonies. They gather here to breed, first performing a peculiar parade dance. Whilst the exact rules of the dance remain a mystery to us, it somehow helps them select a mate.
Red-eyed tree frog takes a rest in the jungles of Costa Rica.
Sand grouse take to the wing to avoid fighting oryx (also called gemsbok) at a waterhole in Namibia’s Namib Rand Nature Reserve. The sand grouse may have flown for 60 miles to get to this water, but must wait their turn until the oryx have departed, to ensure they don’t get trampled.
A serval cat in South Africa leaps three metres through the air to catch her prey – rodents. She sports the largest ears and longest legs of any cat in the world relative to body size.
These Hanuman langurs have free roam in the blue city of Jodhpur, India. It is their home and their playground. Treated as religious deities, they are fed and well looked after by the city’s inhabitants.
And finally, here’s the extended trailer. It’s a thing of beauty.
Planet Earth begins on Sunday 6th November, BBC1 at 9pm