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Seven Worlds, One Planet: Episode 3 (South America) - Review

Seven Worlds, One Planet

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

DAVID Attenborough’s latest flagship offering, Seven Worlds, One Planet continued to dazzle with its third episode, set in the most species-rich continent on earth: South America.

As ever, spectacle mixed with tragedy as the wonder of nature continued to face the sustained threat from humanity and global warming. But taken as a celebration of all creatures great and small, this episode once more found plenty to amaze.

Primary among those was a mother puma, forced to search for food amid the jagged Patagonian terrain. Her prey, however, was a guanaco, a relative of the camel, which are three times her weight and able to fling potential predators in the air.

Viewers rightly gasped as the mother tried and failed on several occasions to take one of these beasts down, severely injuring herself in the process. As ever, it was jaw-dropping spectacle married to finger-tip nibbling tension.

Would the mother prevail? The answer, thankfully, was yes. Through sheer will of determination, the puma overcame the guanaco through sheer force of will… only to have to drag its lifeless carcass over a mile to her waiting cubs. Who says living in the natural world is easy?

The main focus of the show, and its behind-the-scenes finale, was devoted to the story of the puma… but rightly so. There was something spellbinding and majestic in seeing her stalk her prey and chase it down… a thrilling chase caught through a combination of intrepid camera-men (talking to each other via walkie talkie to get into prime position) and drones.

But there was plenty more to savour, including the mesmerising sight of swifts flying dangerously close to the spectacular Iguazu Falls. There was grace and poise to match the peril in this section, as well as a very real reminder of the threat posed to these birds by mankind.

The nearby Itaipu Dam has made life even more precarious for the birds, as each time it releases water, it increases the size of the falls, making the birds’ journey even more perilous. A better balance is perhaps needed.

And then there’s the threat posed to the world’s largest rainforest – the Amazon, which is reducing in size at an alarming rate because of human destruction. Here, vast swathes of important habitats are being placed under threat, while the impact to our own global environment caused by the loss of such important vegetation cannot be underestimated.

These are worrying times in South America.

And yet there is so much worth protecting. Not least, the piraputanga fish, witnessed cruising through the turquoise waters, following capuchin monkeys feeding overhead and feasting on their scraps. Another breath-taking image was that of a hungry fish resorting to leaping athletically from the water, snatching fruit directly from the branches.

Smaller, but no less amazing, was the sight of father poison dart frogs carrying their tadpoles piggy-back style to individual pockets of water throughout the forest. While extremely rare cotton-top tamarins collecting insects, or Andean bears searching for mango, provided yet more footage to savour.

This was, for all the inherent dangers we pose to these beautiful creatures and environments, another hour worth celebrating. Now, roll on Australia!

Read our verdict on: Asia l Antarctica

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