Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Jungle - a must-watch BBC documentary

Rescued Infant Bornean Orangutans, Photo credit: Cockroach Productions.
Rainforests are as rich in bio-diversity as they are in mystery. They are home to more than two-thirds of the known plant and animal species and an estimated hundreds of millions yet-to-be-discovered plants, insects and micro-organisms.

Most mysterious of all is life in the forest canopy. The habit 100 to 200ft above the forest floor is teeming with a surprising variety of life that we are just starting to learn about, and it is the subject of the first in the 3-part BBC documentary Jungle that aired this evening on PBS. (view preview)

Jungle is narrated by Charlotte Uhlenbroek, a charming zoologist and adventurer. In Jungle: Canopyworld, Dr. Uhlenbroek uses ropes, platforms and hot-air balloons to bring the canopy of the Borneo forest to us. We are introduced to species of snakes, frogs and crabs that spend their entire life in the canopy, and the gibbons and orangutans that can fly through the trees. Most fascinating are the nesting habits of the hornbill and the parasitic properties of the strangler fig.

The series continues with Jungle: Underworld from the Congo and Jungle: Waterworld from the Amazon, and all three episodes are must-watch. The photography is amazing and the narrative is engaging and informative. The series is a marvelous introduction to this tragically endangered habitat.

Jungle re-airs at these times, and I strongly suggest you set your TIVO.

Bonus link: Watching the climbing techniques in Jungle reminded me of a fantastic article on California’s temperate rainforests published in last year’s New Yorker. Read Climbing the Redwoods, Richard Preston’s 14,000 word essay of the Redwood canopy, or download an audio recording of it for mobile listening:


At 3:47 PM, Blogger Nick Lyon, Cockroach Productions said...

Nice Photo! Strangely familiar...

Find out more about our work with orangutans at:



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