Documenting how animals stay alive in a melting world
Penguins, polar bears and amazing overhead photography can only mean one thing ‑ the second season of BBC’s documentary Frozen Planet is finally here!
In this follow-up to 2011’s Frozen Planet, the new six-part series called Frozen Planet II revisits the Arctic and Antarctic. It also gives a view into the secret wildlife dramas that play out in all the world’s coldest areas, such as high mountains and frozen deserts.
It took the team over three years to make videos of Siberian tigers in Russia walking over great distances to hunt for black bears. In China’s Wolong National Nature Reserve, the team brought to light giant pandas doing handstands to mark their scent.
While there are lighter moments, the ever-changing frozen planet is a central theme of the documentary. Mark Brownlow, the series’ executive producer, points out that Frozen Planet II is not just about capturing nice footage, but also “[drawing] attention to changes going on now”.
The series shows the great challenges caused by climate change that many polar animals now face. For example, pups of harp seals in the Arctic Ocean rely on sea ice for the first six weeks of life. However, the sea ice of today melts and breaks up sooner in spring. As a result, groups of seal pups fall off the ice into the ocean before they have learned how to swim. Meanwhile, chinstrap penguin chicks use their fur to stay warm. Due to a warming Antarctica, however, more rainy days have led to them suffering from hypothermia.
Despite this, Frozen Planet II tells us that there is still hope. Professor Alun Hubbard is a glaciologist from Norway. He has spent over 30 years studying the movement of ice along Greenland’s coastline. Although there has been much more ice melting there over the last 20 years, he believes that all these processes can still be turned back. “Consume less ... think more sensibly about the journeys we take and the food we eat. Figure out a lifestyle that is sustainable,” he warns us.