Deserts

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Episode 5 of 11

Duration: 58 minutes

Documentary series which celebrates our planet in all its glory, both its spectacular scenery and its captivating natural history.

This edition looks at deserts, which cover a third of the earth's land surface. From space they appear lifeless but a closer look reveals a different picture.

Deserts are in fact surprisingly varied; from Mongolia's Gobi desert, where wild Bactrian camels have to eat snow in lieu of water, to the Atacama in Chile where guanacos survive by licking the dew off cactus spines. Changes are rare in deserts but they play a crucial part in their story; from Saharan sandstorms nearly a mile high to desert rivers that run for a single day; from the brief blooming of Death Valley in the USA, to a plague of desert locusts 40 miles wide and 100 miles long - two events that might occur once in 30 years.

This episode includes a unique aerial voyage over the dunes and rocky escarpments of a Namibian desert. From this lofty viewpoint, the camera follows elephants on a desperate trek for food and desert lions searching the wilderness for wandering bands of oryx.

This programme unravels the secrets behind desert survival and reveals the ephemeral nature of this stunning environment.

Credits

Presenter
David Attenborough
Producer
Huw Cordey
Producer
Alastair Fothergill

Broadcasts

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