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Planet Earth Live

Specials 2012 - 2013

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  • 2012-09-08T23:00:00Z on BBC One
  • 70 mins
  • 7 hours, 0 mins (6 episodes)
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • Documentary
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Richard Hammond and Julia Bradbury are the hosts of this live global wildlife event. For three weeks they will follow the real life and death struggles of baby animals from around the world. It is a critical moment in these young animals' lives, as they try to survive the most challenging month of the year.

From Kenya, Richard reports on dramatic stories of lions and elephants. From North America, Julia reports on bears, whales and otters. There will also be reports from around the world, as they follow intimate, real-time stories of meerkats, monkeys and other animals.

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6 episodes

Special 1 A Tale of Three Bears

  • 2012-09-08T23:00:00Z — 70 mins

Sam, Sophie and Sybil are three tiny black bear cubs who have just emerged from their den in the Northwoods of Minnesota. But this spectacular wilderness is full of threats - wolves and coyotes roam the forest looking for stray cubs, the weather can be dangerously unpredictable bringing blizzards and forest fires, and every year some of the black bears are killed by humans. Their survival depends entirely on the experience of their mother and how well they learn the skills she teaches them.

With the help of bear expert Dr Lynn Rogers, Julia Bradbury explores the woods, learning about the lives of the black bears and the particular trials facing these three vulnerable little cubs.

Sam, Sophie and Sybil must follow their mother's lead closely if they are going to survive in this tough and unforgiving wilderness and make it through this critical month.

Special 2 A Lion's Tale

  • 2012-09-15T23:00:00Z — 70 mins

Moja is a five-month-old lion cub living with his single lioness mum, Nyota, in Kenya's Masai Mara. It is May, and food is scarce; Moja is starving. The rains have arrived, and prey is thin on the ground. Without the help and protection of a pride, Moja faces the toughest month of his life. Moja's mum, Nyota, is his only hope. She must find enough food to keep them both alive and protect Moja from the hyenas and lions that surround them. Together, they face a fight for life; this is their story.

Special 3 A Monkey's Tale

  • 2012-09-22T23:00:00Z — 70 mins

Gremlin is a nine-week-old baby toque macaque. She was born into a troop of 70 monkeys who live amongst spectacular ruined temples in northern Sri Lanka. Despite the beautiful location, life is going to be a challenge for this little monkey. There are harsh internal politics to negotiate and predators roaming the forest floor. But the biggest threat to her survival comes from a rival troop of monkeys known as the Slumdogs. They are led by a big male called Bad-Eye and the vicious rivalry over territory between the two families threatens to explode at any moment.

One in three macaques do not reach their first birthday, and if spirited little Gremlin is going to be one of the lucky ones she will need to learn the lessons of survival fast.

Special 4 An Elephant's Tale

  • 2012-09-29T23:00:00Z — 70 mins

Maya is a newborn elephant calf, just hours old; she is the newest arrival in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. It is the rainy season, food is plentiful and there is something of an elephant baby boom!

But Maya and her first-time mum Zadie face many challenges: Firstly, Zadie needs to reunite with her herd so she can learn how to look after her newborn baby; then they must avoid hungry lions and the guns of poachers. But probably the biggest danger they face is the flooded river that flows through the reserve; at some point Maya will have to cross it, and hungry crocodiles will be waiting.

If she is to get through her first month, Maya will need the support of her whole extended family. Together, they must guide Maya, teach her how to be an elephant and, most importantly, keep her safe.

Special 5 A Meerkat's Tale

  • 2012-10-06T23:00:00Z — 70 mins

The story of Swift, a five-week-old meerkat pup who has been born in one of the harshest places on Earth: the Kalahari Desert. A drought has hit the region, food is scarce and Swift's family are hungry. Their desperation will lead them into danger - across busy roads and into the hostile territories of rival meerkats. Worse still, they are not the only animals in the desert trying to find a meal; predators are on the hunt from above and below and meerkats are definitely on the menu!

The dangers are very real, and in this harshest of years it is estimated that only half of the meerkat pups will reach two months old. If Swift is to make it, she will need to show plenty of character and hope that fortune is on her side.

Special 6 A Month in the Wild

  • 2013-05-05T23:00:00Z — 70 mins

This is the story of one unique month on planet Earth: May. Around the world, May brings new arrivals for five families of wild animals. As the month progresses, each will face their own challenges and each will have to fight for their lives.

In Kenya, baby elephant Maya takes her first few steps. It's a good time for elephants, food is abundant and there's something of a baby boom, but Maya and her mum Zadie are in a dangerous position separated from their herd.

In the Kalahari Desert, tiny meerkat pup Swift has just a 50/50 chance of surviving the coming winter. Food is scarce, the rains have failed and the cold is beginning to bite. She must rely on a strong, supportive family to help her through.

In North America, black bear cubs Herbie and Fern have just emerged from their den. Their mum will be their guide through this tough month, but this year the weather threatens to play havoc with their world.

In Sri Lanka, Gremlin is the newest member of a troop of toque macaques. It is a strong troop with a good territory, but she must battle to find her place in a complex and sometimes violent society.

In Kenya's Masai Mara, lion cub Moja and his mum live alone, in constant fear of their neighbours. Mum Nyota is a skilful hunter, but food is scarce and Moja is starving.

Five families must battle to survive - this could be the hardest month they will ever face.

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