Nine will screen a three-part series exploring the extraordinary wildlife and dramatic landscape of Madagascar narrated by David Attenborough.
The 2011 BBC series explores the island nation east of Africa, a fragile place unlike anywhere else on Earth.
Fifty years ago, Sir David went to Madagascar to film early wildlife TV series Zoo Quest. With several return visits over the intervening years, the country and its wildlife has continued to capture both his and his audience’s imagination.
Attenborough appears briefly on camera at the beginning and end of this series.
Lying just off the south-eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is a land of misty mountains, tropical rainforests and weird, spiny desert scrub. Its wildlife has evolved in splendid isolation to become bizarre and totally unique. The great mystery of Madagascar is why it has such a unique and varied assortment of flora and fauna. What is it that makes Madagascar so different from the rest of the world?
Island of Marvels
Part one finds clues from Madagascar’s extraordinary animals, plants and landscape to discover how the island’s remarkable past has produced its intriguing present. Like the Tsingy, a series of jagged limestone peaks which have cut animals off in isolated gorges, forcing them to evolve into unique species.
On the east side of the island, rugged mountains rise dramatically from the palm-fringed Indian Ocean. These uplands catch drenching rains almost all year round – steep and inaccessible, they form the most diverse part of Madagascar. In part two we travel down from the highest mountains, where trees are few and far between, through lush, cloaking rainforests to the tropical coast. Along the way we discover ringtailed lemurs, jewelled geckos and predatory wasps.
Land of Heat and Dust
The southern part of Madagascar is marked by an amazing landscape – from forests of “upside down” trees to alien “spiny deserts”. In stark contrast to the east, the south is bone-dry for most of the year, yet incredibly rich in wildlife. Here only the toughest and most opportunistic species survive – and some of the strategies for survival are ingenious.
It premieres 7:30pm Wednesday, May 4, at 7.30pm on Channel Nine.