Our Planet II – Episode 1 “World on the Move” Recap & Review

World on the Move

Our Planet II focuses on migrations. At any given time there are around 2 billion animals on the move across the globe. It’s actually vital to their survival, whether that be to find food, a good place to reproduce, or moving to more temperate climates. As we soon see, some of the scenes are absolutely breathtaking.

First up we see a mega-herd of buffalo, stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s the largest in Africa and we’re following their annual pilgrimage to a lonely marsh… but they’re not alone. Lions are buffalo-catching specialist and with the mega herd arriving, it’s their chance to strike.

Charging in full-force would be a death wish of course, so these lion pick out a straggler in the herd; a massive lone buffalo whom they can ambush at the back. It takes them a mere 3 minutes to pick it apart, and they’ve become incredibly adept at doing this.

Spring brings about the biggest changes when it comes to the seasons, and we begin our journey in March. Sunlight increases, as does the frequency of rainstorms. It turns the northern hemisphere into a green oasis, which is perfect for creatures like the desert locust. They swarm through everything, devouring the fauna before growing wings and taking to the sky.

On camera, there’s 200 billion strong captured, creating a breathtaking super swarm. These little fellas can travel over 100 kilometers a day, sweeping over countries and even crossing the Red Sea too. The only stopping them is for the droughts to return, and when they do this super swarm disappears.

Come April, the oceans begin to heat up, sprouting forth big algal blooms, allowing for some creatures to move. Over in the British Colombia, birds like the Ancient murrelet are sea-dwelling bird that are fed exclusively at sea. But the chicks that have hatched on land, how do they get there? Well, they travel in the dead of night and make it on foot of course! Once reunited with their mothers, a month-long migration to the north seas, across a span of over 1000km, ensues.

We then skip to May, 1600km northwest of Hawaii, where we visit a small island called Laysan. It’s home to one of the largest seabirds, the Laysan Albatross. This extraordinary bird can travel millions of kilometers over their 60 year lifespan. For the chicks on Laysan though, barely 4 months old, they have to wait for their parents to return.

The thing is, it’s not just the environment and weather they need to worry about – it’s also the risk of plastic. With so much plastic now in our oceans, their parents mistake small bits of plastic for food and feed it to their young, inadvertently killing them. In fact, it’s so bad that these birds are actually endangered now as a result. While they can throw up some of it, it’s not enough to offset all of it.

Summer in the North brings a very different challenges for animals. With the polar icecaps melting, some creatures, like the polar bear, are forced to move thousands of kilometers to find food. And of course, that also means more swimming too. For nearly 8 hours a day, polar bears are forced to swim to get their prey. Prey like the bearded seals. Unfortunately, moving and hunting from the water is very unsuccessful and unless these majestic creatures can adapt, they’ll be in trouble.

The temperatures for some of these places can actually reach up to 38 degrees Celsius, prompting ice to melt at a far greater rate than before. The result, are harder summers than ever before, with walrus most affected by this, forced to leave the safety of the herd and find tiny pockets of ice to feed and rest. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s theorized that summer sea ice could disappear altogether in the next decade.

In late June, there’s more daylight than in any other time of years. Out at the Alaskan Bering Sea, humpback whales arrive after a month-long journey for the biggest event in their calendar. They’re not alone though, as sooty shearwater birds join them in this great feeding frenzy. In fact, it’s so important they come from the other side of the world, down at New Zealand, with a million strong. Plankton and Krill come exploding out, bringing a great feast for both, with gorgeous and breathtaking shots showing it in all its glory.

A tiger shark, guided by the earth’s magnetic field, head on a journey over to Laysan Island. Remember the albatross from before? Well, they’re on the verge of taking off, but they have to wait for the tropic temperatures and high winds in order to do so. Unfortunately, these first flights are often their last. And as tiger sharks prepare to hunt, the albatross have their greatest test upon them.

The Episode Review

Our Planet is back and with only four episodes this time around (boo!) there’s a concise theme of sticking to migrations. David Attenborough’s narration is as good as it’s ever been, while this intense, globe-trotting adventure allowing for plenty of different animals to be shown in each chapter.

The various diagrams showing the world and the migration routes is a nice touch too, while the music is excellent, heightening the emotion shown on screen. We actually end on a cliffhanger too, believe it or not, but with all episodes releasing at once, thankfully we don’t have to wait long to find out what happens next!

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