Africa is a beautiful and incredibly varied continent. From the Saharan desert to the metropolis of South Africa, there’s an abundance of life that lives within these areas. In true David Attenborough style, this emotional showcase of natural beauty comes to a poignant and hard hitting conclusion. It’s an episode that culminates everything we’ve learnt over the weeks and does so in a way that brings into focus the very real dangers animals on our planet now face.
There are more species in Africa’s jungles than anywhere else on the continent. With that in mind, we plunge into the heart of the Ivory Coast forests to begin with, as a family of chimpanzees use tools to open nuts. It’s an amazing showcase of talent and ingenuity that concludes with us switching over to the Great Rift Valley, where the abundance of freshwater brings its own trials and tribulations for the fish to deal with. After a disturbing scene of hijacking fish species, we cut across to the Serengeti to see a team of five cheetah banding together to hunt, but doing so by devising a decoy and striking from different directions. These ingenious methods of hunting translates across to the oxpecker bird too, that has a mutual arrangement with giraffe.
Between rare brown hyena with offspring in ghost towns to aardvark struggling to catch termites, the world’s climate changes are affecting many of Africa’s animals. This leads us up to the most emotional moment of the entire series, one that shows the horrors of poachers and the profoundly damaging impact they’ve had on both rhino and elephant populations. Seeing David Attenborough standing alongside the last two females of a rhino sub-species is hard to watch and difficult to hold the tears back for.
It’s a shocking moment but the series does end with a glimmer of hope. As we cut across the world and see glimpses of different species on the rise thanks to conservation efforts, Attenborough bows us out with one final plea to make a change now before it’s too late. Of course, this leads into the final “On Location” segment, involving the Congo Rainforest and poachers hunting, once again underlining the problems Africa faces.
Seven Worlds One Planet has been another fantastic series and this final episode ends much like it begins, with a beautiful showcase of natural beauty alongside the poignant honesty around the challenges we all face on this planet. While I personally feel the series went a little easy on North America, given the problems that continent faces, the entire series does well to add a sense of urgency to the global problem.
This message ultimately shines through brightly and although the show has skipped across different tones and animal species through its seven episodes, the poignant undertone has remained intact throughout. While Our Planet remains the best nature documentary series of the year, Seven Worlds, One Planet is another fantastic documentary nonetheless and rounds out its episodes with a reminder of how fragile and delicately balanced life on this planet really is.