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17 September 2014
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Cormorant fishermen ©BBC NHU
Wild China

China is a vast country with an astonishingly diverse landscape and the world's largest population. Through unprecedented access, this six-part series reveals the little-known natural treasures and secret wildlife havens of China's wildest regions.

Broadband video is available for UK users only.


Programme 1: Heart of the Dragon
A farmer and his water buffalo ploughs in the rice terraces ©Phil Chapman The improbable egg-carton hills of Southern China seem to float in a sea of glistening rice paddies. This is a landscape full of surprises. Next to peasants ploughing with buffaloes are rivers concealing dwarf alligators and giant salamanders, trained cormorants that catch fish for their masters, bats with unusual tastes and monkeys that hide in caves.

But this isn't a nature park. Almost 300 million people live here, with a tradition of eating wildlife. So what forces have shaped this remarkable landscape and how do farmers and wild creatures manage to coexist among the rocks and the rice fields?
China.org: rice culture and history
Birdlife International: China's threatened species

Programme 2: Shangri-La
Northern Yunnan's forested mountains ©Kathryn Jeffs Hidden beneath billowing clouds, in China's remote south west, are perhaps the richest natural treasures in all China. Immense rivers carve their way south below towering peaks. The wind-swept slopes are home to the highest-living primates in the world and hidden in the valleys below are jungles with a diversity of wildlife comparable to those around the Amazon.

Jewel-coloured birds and ancient tribes share forests where wild elephants still roam. The mystery is that Yunnan's remote forests stretch into northern territories where deserts would normally be found. How can these northern forests exist? The rugged landscape holds the key.
BBC: the history of Shangri-La
People and Planet: eco-tourism in Shangri-La
WWF: a sustainable future for Shangri-La

Programme 3: Tibet
The Yarlung Gorge ©Gavin Maxwell The Tibetan plateau covers a quarter of China – an area the size of Western Europe. This vast, windswept wilderness is one of the world's most remote places, defined by the glacier-strewn Himalayas. It's also home to some incredible wildlife such as the rare chiru, brown bears, wild yaks and the highest-living predators on Earth. There are more large creatures here than anywhere else in China.

Defined by over a thousand years of Buddhism, Tibet has a unique culture that has nurtured remarkable beliefs. The programme discovers why this landscape and ancient culture is the life support system for much of the planet.
Eighteen Nature Reserves: Tibet's wildlife havens
ARKive: the Tibetan antelope or chiru

Programme 4: Beyond the Great Wall
Camel crossing the shifting sand desert ©George Chan China's emperors built the Great Wall to keep their kingdom safe from the hostile barbarians to the north. This is a land of warrior tribes, bizarre wildlife and extreme weather, but also of vast and breathtaking evergreen forests, grassy plains and sweeping desert dunes, rich with history.

The legendary Silk Road drew traders and their camels across the deserts in search of fabulous wealth, and fierce Mongolian horsemen conquered the known world. Today, nomadic tribesmen still race horses and hunt with golden eagles, while tiny hamsters and Asia's last wild horses struggle to survive in the world's most northerly desert.
International Takhi Group: reintroducing Mongolian wild horses
Galen R Frysinger's tour of a silkworm factory

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Programme 5: Land of the Panda
A panda walking through the snowy bamboo forest ©Gavin Maxwell China's heartland with its Han people is the centre of a 5,000-year-old civilization. This land contains the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, and Beijing's Olympic Stadium and is home to some of China's most charismatic creatures such as the giant panda, golden snub-nosed monkey, and golden takin.

China has undergone significant development in the past 50 years, bringing many environmental problems. The programme explores the deep, complex and often extraordinary relationship between the Chinese peoples, their environment and its creatures, and finds out what it means for the future of China.
TRAFFIC: report on the illegal trade in Chinese wildlife
China Development Brief: environmental articles

Programme 6: Tides of Change
Red-crowned cranes silhouetted against bright sunrise ©Charlotte Scott From the eastern end of the Great Wall, China's coast spans 14,500km and more than 5,000 years of history. This is a place of huge contrasts: futuristic modern cities jostling with traditional seaweed-thatched villages, ancient tea terraces and wild wetlands where rare animals still survive.

Here Chinese white dolphins, red-crowned cranes, deadly vipers, giant sturgeon and sabre-wielding monkeys struggle to eke out a living faced by competition from 700 million people, widespread pollution and over-fishing. How China is managing such conflicting pressures has lessons for us all.
Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society
Baiji.org: the Yangtze River ecosystem
WildWorld: Yellow Sea saline meadows

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 Also in Wild China

Homepage

Filming Wild China

 TV Programmes – BBC Two

Heart of the Dragon
Sunday 11 May, 8.05pm
rpt Saturday 17 May, 7.00pm

Shangri-La
Sunday 18 May, 8.05pm
rpt Saturday 24 May, 5.15pm

Tibet
Sunday 25 May, 9.15pm
rpt Saturday 31 May, 6.00pm

Beyond the Great Wall
Sunday 1 June, 9.00pm
rpt Saturday 7 June, 5.35pm

Land of the Panda
Sunday 8 June, 9.00pm
rpt Saturday 14 June, 5.30pm

Tides of Change
Sunday 15 June, 9.00pm
rpt Saturday 21 June, 7.00pm

 Elsewhere on bbc.co.uk

Wildfacts
Fact files on some of China's amazing wildlife

 Elsewhere on the web

WWF in China
News from the World Wide Fund for nature in China

Wildlife Conservation in China
The official government website on China's conservation projects

Wildlife Conservation Society
Key species conservation projects in China

Worldwatch
Reporting on environmental issues in China

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