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Animal encounters

Catch-up with Planet Earth II

Clive Wedderburn December 9, 2016

Planet Earth II is one of the nation’s favourite programmes, pulling in millions of viewers each week and transforming the way we see our planet and the animals that share our world. It’s so popular, it’s even won over the X Factor generation with more 16-24 year olds watching the show than ever before.

Featuring the honey-smooth narration of national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, plus state-of-the-art camera trickery and breathtaking wildlife stories, it’s a firm family favouriteHere are a few of our favourite moments from the show and where in the world you can see these amazing creatures for yourself.

1. Islands

Proving life thrives even in the harshest corners of the planet, in this case close to active volcanoes, we were spellbound as we watched the marine iguanas of the Galapagos Islands dive to depths of 30 metres to nibble on vegetation found on coral clusters on the ocean’s floor. Our skin crawled, however, when a young iguana had to sprint to safety from a beach full of fast moving snakes, a scene that got many viewers talking; and shrieking. The plucky little lizard made it, however, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

To observe iguanas in the wild, visit the Galapagos Islands

2. Mountains

Snow-capped peaks, subalpine forests and glacier fed lakes; we were humbled by this episode that showcased breathtaking, majestic mountains that tower silently over us. One of Planet Earth II’s funniest moment has to be the grizzly bears, emerging from winter hibernation to scratch themselves silly on their favourite pine tree. When you have an itch, you’ve got to scratch it.

  To see Grizzly bears in their natural habitat, visit Alberta Canada

3. Jungles

According to Sir David Attenborough, jungles are the richest ecosystems on the planet, with over 90% of its inhabitants living in the dense tree canopy. In this episode, we discovered Birds of Paradise and elegant, purring jaguars.  Yet the real stars of the show were frogs no bigger than your thumbnail, whose mortal enemy is the feisty wasp. We held our breath as our luminous green protagonist kicked the critters away from his precious stash of eggs. A mighty triumph for a tiny hero.

To glimpse the tiny tree frog, discover Costa Rica

4. Deserts

Deserts are inhospitable places; a land of extremes where only the most resourceful survive. Featuring vast, arid landscapes seemingly devoid of life, we admired the dedication of the camera crew chasing swarms of locusts across Madagascar (rather them than us). Yet as Planet Earth II is so fond of reminding us, there is so much about our world that is unknown to us, including birds who hunt in packs. Introducing the tenacious Harris Hawk and his buddies; proving that teamwork makes the dream-work.

To birdwatch for Harris Hawks, explore the Sonoran Desert Arizona, USA

5. Grasslands

There are few places on Earth as diverse as the Okavango Delta in Botswana, boasting 15, 000 square kilometres of wetland and Africa’s ‘Garden of Eden’. Mighty battles rage here on a daily basis and there are few experiences that reveal the power of nature more than Planet Earth’s enthralling scene featuring a lion wrestling with the powerful water buffalo.

To experience the ‘real’ circle of life, discover the Okavango Delta, Botswana

6. Cities

We already know that we share our cities with a vast array of wildlife. But we had little idea that leopards stroll through Mumbai, or that hyena clans are at home in Harar, Ethiopia.  Cheeky macaques nearly stole the show with their antics in Jaipur, India – but we doff our caps to the world’s fastest animal hurtling through the skyscrapers of the world’s fastest moving city: New York.

Visit New York to see peregrine falcons hurtle through the sky 

So now you know our favourite moments from Planet Earth II – the question is, what’s yours and can we take you there? Visit our safari pages for inspiration on how to view some of the greatest animal encounters on Planet Earth.