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Autumn

Frozen Planet Episode 4 of 7

For the animals in the polar regions, autumn means dramatic battles and epic journeys. Time is running out - the Arctic Ocean is freezing over and the sea ice is advancing at 2.5 miles per day around Antarctica.

Polar bears gather in large numbers on the Arctic coast as they wait for the return of the ice. Soon, tempers fray and violent sparring contests break out. Meanwhile, 2,000 beluga whales head for one special estuary, a gigantic 'whale spa' where they will thrash their snow-white bodies against the gravel and exfoliate. Inland, the tundra undergoes a dramatic transformation from green to fiery red. Here, musk ox males slam head-first into each other with the force of a 30mph car crash as they struggle to defend their harems. Frisky young caribou males play a game of 'grandma's footsteps' as they try to steal the boss's female.

Down in Antarctica, adelie penguin chicks huddle together in creches. When a parent returns from fishing, it leads its twins on a comical steeplechase - sadly there's only enough for one, so the winner gets the meal. Two months later and the chicks are fully feathered, apart from downy mohican hairdos. They are ready to take their first swim - reluctantly though, as it seems penguins are not born with a love of water! And with good reason: a leopard seal explodes from the sea and pulls one from an ice floe, a hunting manoeuvre that has never been filmed before.

As winter approaches and everyone has left, the giant emperor penguin arrives and makes an epic trek inland to breed. The mothers soon return to the sea leaving the fathers to hold the eggs and endure the coldest winter on earth.

58 minutes

Last on

Tue 10 Mar 2015 15:30
BBC Two Wales only

Credits

Role Contributor
PresenterDavid Attenborough
ProducerMiles Barton
Executive ProducerAlastair Fothergill
ComposerGeorge Fenton

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