In an age of climate change and evolving landscapes, one of the most prolific environments on our planet right now are the Arctic poles. As the sea ice shrinks and our planet warms, these two areas in particular see multiple species in serious danger of extinction.
Our Planet returns with its second episode, taking a much closer look at these frozen wastelands. The episode itself begins with Penguins in the Antarctic. Feeding on Krill that gather under the sea ice, Penguins enjoy a feast fit for a King. Given the sheer number that swell under the water, this also attracts the attention of humpback whales too. With this delicate balance of prey and predator, Orca Whales join the hunt, intent on picking out the penguins feeding on the krill.
After seeing this food chain in full swing, we jump across to the Island of South Georgia to see albatross chicks waiting for their next meal. With the changing landscape in this region comes changing habits and this is evident with the number of albatross failing to return to their young. Caught in fishing nets, their chicks struggle to survive and every year, hundreds die of starvation.
When it comes to starvation, polar bears are also under serious risk of going extinct. As the ice on the North Pole thins and their natural habitat dwindles, the lack of ice mean these majestic creatures are finding it harder and harder to find food. Given the lack of cover offered to sneak up on seals, this spells almost certain disaster for them going forward.
To make matters worse, the Arctic Sea ice is retreating too. With a reduction of around 40% in recent years, this is having a profound effect on the walrus population. In one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the episode, this mass-gathering of blubber and tusks fight for their tiny patch of land before falling from eye-watering heights to their doom. It’s one of the most shocking moments from one of these nature documentaries as of late and a grim sign of our changing times.
When it comes to memorable episodes, Frozen Worlds is certainly one of the best. It’s a reminder of how fragile our planet is and the threat climate change, man-made and natural, is having on our polar regions. With the predictions forecasting that by 2040 the Arctic Sea ice will be completely gone, quite what this means for our species that rely on it is anyone’s guess.