Only one creature has carved a life for itself in every habitat on Earth. That creature is us. All over the world, we still use our ingenuity to survive in the wild places, far from the city lights, face-to-face with raw nature. This is the Human Planet. In all the wild places on Earth, we have risen to the challenges nature has thrown at us. Now we have created the habitat of our dreams. Designed by us, for us. The pinnacle of human imagination and ingenuity. This is where we humans like to think we reign supreme . . driving out the nature we don't want Oh, God! . . shipping in what we do. But the natural world isn't easy to control. THEY SHOU Can we humans ever really master nature in the urban jungle? And is it wise to try? Dubai is the ultimate modern city . . orderly, sparkling and squeaky clean. It's a temple to man's ingenuity, rising from the desert. But there's a menace in the air. SPLA Pigeons. SPLA Thousands of them are making a mess in this pristine metropolis, and Dubai doesn't like it. One man can help. The Arabs call him Al Hurr. His name is David Stead. WHISTLES: Good lad. His challenge is to keep Dubai pigeon free using falcons - an ancient Arabian solution for a modern urban problem. DAVID: Birds of prey, of course, are hunting birds. And the falcons, in the bird of prey family, are the specialist bird-hunters. They only catch other birds for a living. And, as a result, the pigeons are most scared of falcons, compared to any of the other birds of prey. So, even a pigeon that has never seen a falcon in its life does have this almost genetic fear of the silhouette - the shape - of a falcon. Today, he is working for some of Dubai's top hotels with his peregrine falcon Nimr. WHISTLING Nimr is a three-year-old falcon now. They become adult at one. So she's now quite a mature falcon although, at three, she still has an awful lot to learn. Out of the whole team, she's probably the most arrogant. She has this tremendous attitude about her and she knows who's in charge. And, I can assure you, it's not us. City pigeons damage these buildings. Their corrosive droppings erode chrome and stone, and each bird can produce 12 kilos of mess a year. NIMR SQUAWKS But David's aim isn't to kill or even catch them. WHISTLING He is hoping to scare them away. And Nimr loves the chase. After all, she's a peregrine - the fastest creature in the sky, capable of swooping at 280 kilometres an hour. So, once she's moved them on, he needs to tempt her back. And that's tricky. She's an extremely inquisitive falcon, which can be frustrating for me, because I tend to lose all contact and control with her when she's flying and she sees something amusing. But there's always one way to a falcon's heart - the promise of a chicken dinner. Thanks to David and Nimr, Dubai's hotels remain pigeon-free. After all, no-one wants pigeon poo to spoil their million-dollar view. Sometimes, driving unwanted wildlife out of a town requires a much more modern solution. SIRENS WAIL Sergeant Stan Schumaker is on a mission. INDISTINCT RADIO MESSAGE He works in Estes Park, Colorado. Every day he patrols his patch on an unusual police vehicle - a Segway scooter. His job is to keep the streets free of trouble. And trouble here is particularly large and spiky. HORNS BLARE Once the elk come in, getting around town's a hassle, pretty much from June to the beginning of October. Every summer, the town is invaded by elk stags. Sergeant Schumaker's job is to make sure that the locals can go about their daily business. Not easy at this time of year. They may look placid, but elk weigh over 300 kilos, can be three metres tall and their antlers are lethal. They're pretty much everywhere in town. This whole valley is pretty much full of elk. At any given time, there could be anywhere from 500 to 1,500. The female elk love the urban grasslands. They live here year round. We've got two main golf courses. The grass is, of course, golf grass, so they absolutely love that. The male elk are only visiting. And it's not for golf. The boys are back in town for one thing - a stag party. ELK GRUNT AND WHISTLE At this time of year, the stags fight over the females and can be very dangerous. ELK GRUNT AND BARK But it's not just the elk causing problems. Sergeant Schumaker also has to control the tourists. A lot of these tourists have no idea that these animals are wild. It's the craziest thing, but they For some reason, they think these animals are tame. ELK WHISTLES AND GRUNTS SHOUTING ELK GRUNTS There's no messing with an irritable elk. Get back, guys. ELK GRUNTS AND SQUEALS SHOUTING In the Wild West of the 21st century, the sheriff's white stallion has been replaced by a giant scooter. The elk do not like the Segway. I don't know what it is. I think it's the movement, because I'm not moving normal, as a human would walk. And I'm scurrying around a lot quicker on that Segway. So the elk do not like it whatsoever. Today's been a good day for Sergeant Schumaker. He's run the troublemakers out of town. But not all the invaders who come to our cities are so easy to chase away. Some cities are plagued by creatures who are just as wily and streetwise as us. Jaipur, one of the fastest growing cities in India. Here, muggings and petty theft are part of everyday life. Shakuntla, a local market seller, is terrorised by street gangs. And these are not the local lads. She has to face them every day. They're a terrifying bunch. A posse of rhesus macaques hang out on the rooftops. One bite from these canines can inflict horrible damage. For the macaques, life in the urban jungle is even easier than life in the real one. MACAQUES CHATTER AND SHRIEK Like us, they can be smart and slick. Jaipur's temples and streets provide endless pockets to pick. And their favourite place is the food market. The question today is, will Shakuntla's stall survive all the monkey business? The attack is led by the gang leader, an alpha male. The macaques work as a co-ordinated team, ducking and diving. Attacking from all angles, the smaller macaques distract Shakuntla, while the bolder males grab the loot. Life on Jaipur's streets is tough enough. But when your enemy is protected by a deity, there's nothing you can do. These monkeys are sacred to the monkey god Hanuman. Monkeys can be a menace in the market. But there is a wider war going on under all our city streets. SIRENS WAIL Some species have become a threat to our domination of our very own urban world. Jeff and Junior are on a stakeout, hunting down mortal enemies on the Manhattan front line. My job is a night-time exterminator in New York City. Day-time guys where I work do bedbugs. We just do rats, mice, roaches in restaurants. What sort of time do you think we'll be getting up in this place? I don't know. They said about midnight. They're not closed yet. I mean, I don't really have a problem telling people what I do. But we try to be as discreet as possible, just because I don't want people to think that they're eating in an area that's full of rats. But East Village is full of them, so you can't hide that. Rats love fine dining too. But they don't leave tips behind. They leave excrement and disease. No-one wants to admit that the Big Apple has a big rat problem, so Jeff and Junior only work at night. Trash is a big deal. Us being sloppy humans throwing trash out on the sidewalks, and leaving the juices and meat juices and chicken bones everywhere. That's a buffet for them, you know what I mean? Tonight, they're laying traps in Chinatown. Wow! HE WHISTLES Are you OK? Another one of these, man. Another one of these. Wow. How do you even leave your restaurant like this? Oh, man! Dude, look at this. Look at all of this stuff! Sushi, rice, noodles. Rats will eat anything, from chop suey to the chopsticks themselves. We walk in at night because we have keys. We have to go when the customers are gone. And when the people leave the restaurant, the rats think it's time to come out. But we go in there later, like an hour after they close, so they're out partying. Uh-oh. There he is, there he is, there he is. Right there, right there. Right there, right there, right there. See him? Shh! He's going down, he's going down. Right there. Right in the hole. Damn! He was drinking coffee. Something. That's the last thing that this guy needs is coffee. HE CHUCKLES Unbelievable! That's why I don't eat take out, man. Yes, you do. HE CHUCKLES Come on. Let's go to the basement, man. Watch out, man. It's slippery. And there's another horror in the basement. Yo! Look at the bugs in the ceiling! You don't ever see that. Right there behind the door. Cockroaches. This is professional extermination. Oh! Have you seen this basement? What's in there, man? Old buildings connected by pipes and basements allow the rats and roaches to scuttle through the city unseen. It's disgusting in here. Look at the water dripping all over the place. We're basically trying to be quiet to hear noises for any, you know, any signs of rat activities. You hear that? You hear that? The little pitter-patter? LIGHT TAPPING Little fingernails? Yup. Over here. Look at that. That goes right into the I can see the kitchen! For Jeff and Junior, it's a lifelong fight. It's said there's at least one rat for every person in New York. That's nearly nine million rats. As far as humans winning the battle over rats - nowhere close. I don't even know how you would stop it, I really don't. They are going to use every contraption they can devise in the battle with the pests. Well, this is a I don't want to call them out, but Listen to that. PITTER-PATTERING All those people out there, they have no idea what's happening down here. And they're going to come eat here tomorrow. BOTH CHUCKLE Yeah Yeah, no wonder. back to assess the death toll. Ah, dude. The snap traps have worked. He's cute. And the glue mats. This one is decomposing. And the poison. Oh, dude! Look at the size of him! He's dead. Looks like he's been fighting with something, bro. Damn! Look at them teeth, bro. Whoa! Whoa! What's the weight on that? I'm telling you, man. My arm got tired. That's pretty That's brutal. Oh, man! This is just another night in the ongoing battle with our eternal enemies. Sometimes we'll walk out with bags of dead things And I'll take a take-out bag from the restaurant so people would think I'm leaving with take-out food. And it gets worse. There are other tiny creatures which take advantage of dense urban populations. They exploit us in much more intimate ways. They're reaching epidemic proportions. Not just feeding off us like rats, but literally feeding on us. Londoner Carol Anderson has these unwanted house guests. Have you got any bites on you at the moment? You mean these? Yeah, the bites that you had all round here. There's still little red marks from them, aren't there? Where do you think they are in your room? Down the side of the bed. That's what I meant. And crawling up the walls. Irritating parasites which only come out at night. Right. Right. Come on, then. In you go. Hop up. That's it, then. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the? Bedbugs bite. SHE LAUGHS Let's hope not. Bedbugs are insect vampires attracted to carbon dioxide, heat and body odours. They like clean, warm houses. Their only food is human blood. The sheer numbers is quite daunting, really. They literally were streaming up the wall, up to the ceiling, just full of blood. So they'd obviously all just been feeding. First thing in the morning, I woke up and looked up. It was horrible, it really was horrible. Carol calls in the best bedbug detector in the business . . Charlie the chocolate Labrador, ably assisted by his handler, Adam. Right. Well, the sofa seems to be the worst affected. Got lots of bugs in here. Charlie's nose is 44 times more sensitive than ours. He can literally sniff out the bedbugs. Seek. CHARLIE SNIFFS CHARLIE GROWLS If they are present, he's trained to sit down. Good boy, Charlie. It's all Adam needs to know. Bedbugs are on the increase, hitchhiking as we travel from city to city, often infesting furniture like Carol's sofa. I do resent them, but I quite admire them as well. They're actually quite amazing, which makes it even creepier, you know, because that's what I'm up against. But with Adam's spray and Charlie's nose, the bugs here have met their match. This is one urban intruder nobody wants to live with. In some parts of the world, people have learned to put their urban invaders to good use. The Moroccan city of Fez, a bit like Dubai, has a problem with pigeons. But rather than chasing them away, the people of Fez invite them in. Nordine has built a home for pigeons on his roof. He doesn't do this just for the love of animals. Pigeon droppings are vital to a local industry. And Nordine's friend Tami has come to buy some. Tami works at the local tannery. Fez is the centre of the Moroccan leather industry. The leather here is famed for its softness, and the pigeon droppings are a secret ingredient. Wild pigeon droppings contain an enzyme which eats at the protein in the animal skin, softening it up. The hides are soaked in the vats for three days, and Tami works them with his feet. This could be the stinkiest job in the world. For Tami, it's a price worth paying. The pigeon droppings give the skins a softness no man-made chemical can produce. Thanks to Fez's wild pigeons, the skins will reach the highest possible price. Another very different city is also working with an urban intruder. SIRENS WAIL Sometimes even the most unlikely species can turn out to be good news. Austin, Texas, is now home to 1. 5 million free-tail bats and, today, they are very welcome here. PIPING SQUEAKS bridge in downtown Austin, and the residents wanted to get rid of them. MURMURING VOICES River boatman Captain Mike remembers it well. They're already taking off. Look over the tree tops along the right-hand side. They are off and running. There was a fair amount of people that were actually afraid of the bats because they were afraid we were going to have a rabies problem or a disease outbreak, so there were actually groups of people lobbying the city council and business leaders to figure out a way to exterminate the colony. But bats turned out to be helpful for the city. The 24-hour urban lifestyle means that Austin is a city of light, and that attracts millions of insects, which are, in turn, fast food for bats. Every night, the bats eat six tonnes of insects. That's an incredible 2,000 tonnes a year. However, they're more than just bug killers. Captain Mike saw bats as a commercial opportunity. I started doing bat-watching cruises shortly after they moved in here, and word spread and they started getting more and more popular. So we do those seven nights a week during the season, from March to October. Bats have really helped me in my business, so I love them. If you look up underneath the bridge, you can watch them drop out of these cracks here. Visitors who come to see the bats generate 10 million in tourist revenue every year. So the free-tail bats of the state capital are now protected. PIPING SQUEAKS It turns out we still want to be connected to nature, and perhaps we always have. HORNS BEEP In India, one group of people take caring for animals to the ultimate extreme, and they've been doing it for centuries. Shyam Sunder has rescued a chinkara gazelle on the outskirts of his town in Rajasthan. Her mother has been killed. Without milk, the fawn will not survive, so Shyam is taking her home. They're calling her Arti, and a spot of sandalwood honours her arrival. Kyran, Shyam's wife, has cared for many gazelles. The Sunders belong to a Hindu sect of nature worshippers called the Bishnoi. Shyam supplies milk to the Bishnoi temple, which has its own orphans to care for. The Bishnoi were India's first environmentalists, and have brought their traditions from the country into the towns and cities. It is their belief that gazelles are their children and so the Bishnoi women show an incredible act of kindness. They breast-feed the fawns that don't take to the bottle. Even for gazelles, breast is best. After six weeks with her new family, Arti is weaned. She's now fit and healthy. Shyam can take her back to the wild. Watching a child leave home is always tough for a mum, even a surrogate one. Arti is returned to the desert, where she'll join up with the wild herds. This may appear to be a tiny gesture of kindness, but all of us who live in cities need the nature that exists beyond the city walls . . because the natural world feeds our hungry cities. And what the urban jungle needs, the urban jungle gets. SHIP'S HORN BLARES More than three billion of us now live in cities. To feed this huge population, we ship in billions of tonnes of fresh food and produce all year round. We have the technology to bring in what we want from thousands of kilometres away. Peaches may grow here in Spain, but these are imported from South America. We consume what we want, when we want it. We no longer need to eat locally or seasonally. And we have an insatiable appetite. We've never been so good at exploiting nature. But we're not quite so good at dealing with the consequences. Massive consumption creates mountains of waste. In the UK alone, we produce over 100 million tonnes of rubbish each year. And we dump it safely out of sight. But in some places, this world is home to an unfortunate few. CROWS CAW Here in Mombasa, Kenya, people must scratch a living from the things others throw away. MURMUR OF VOICES For Ashe and her family, this dump is both home and hunting ground. They are modern-day hunter-gatherers, adapted to survival on the dark side of the urban jungle. When a rubbish truck arrives, the race is on to grab the best scraps. Ashe's husband, Ali, gets stuck in. This really is life on the edge . . finding food for your children in a city's rubbish. More than half of us now live in cities. And we're using up nature's resources as never before. We are, without doubt, the most inventive and powerful creature on the planet. We're so successful, we've hijacked the whole world for our own ends. But the consequences of our voracious lives are spiralling out of control. Are we pushing the natural world towards a crisis? Where do we go from here? There are a few people who seem to be heading in a new direction. One challenge is to design a city that's in balance with nature. This is Masdar, a green city being built in the desert of Abu Dhabi. It's designed by architect Norman Foster. Masdar excites me because it's really the only true experiment on the planet, at the moment, in terms of seeking to achieve an environment, a community, a mini city, which is carbon-free and waste-free. Now, that would be a tough challenge anywhere in the world. To do it in a desert environment, you could say, you know, "You must be crazy to even attempt it. " Masdar will be powered by the sun. It will not waste a single drop of water. There will be no need for gas-guzzling cars. The starting point for Masdar was really working with nature, in terms of the solar cycle, making the greenery, not just a cosmetic greenery, but creating shade, burning the waste that we produce and, out of that process, creating energy. So it's starting with nature and then it's using the technology, working with nature, in harness with nature. It is a noble ambition and it can be achieved. However, the immediate challenge is to try and change the way we live with nature in our existing cities. This is the Union Square market in New York. It sells produce that's grown locally, often on the rooftops of New York's tower blocks. Hello, would you like to try some of our honey? Buckwheat. Local? Whipped honey, miss? No? Too sweet? You're sweet enough? BUZZING Good morning. Honey for you, miss? Ah, you're doing the right thing. A traditionalist. Andrew Cote is the guru of high-rise beekeeping and a third generation beekeeper. Until recently, urban beekeeping was illegal in New York, but that didn't stop Andrew. Personally, in my case, I was never caught. Even though I was very public about having bees, I didn't tell people exactly where they were. Yes, sir. 10, would you like a bag? Happily, New York changed its mind, and Andrew's mission is to bring bees into everyone's lives. Today, he's on the balcony of a swanky Manhattan apartment with novice, Vivien Wang. You're going to have a problem with the outer cover because there are a lot of bees on the inside of it. Smoke 'em. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Andrew is sort of the king bee, I think, of urban beekeeping, And those of us who are his students, I think of myself as the honey sorcerer's apprentice, in a way. What do you see? I see a lot of cap honey under here. Mm-hm. And I see It looks like raw nectar. It's an unusual pastime for a New York lawyer. I think my friends, when I told them that I was going to start being a beekeeper, were amused. They thought it was quirky but kind of wonderful, because it's a different way for us to all connect with nature. I think all of us need a little more sweetness in our lives and it's nice to be able to cast our eyes skyward in this city, you know, away and above the traffic, and think about all these bees buzzing above our heads. But being a novice beekeeper has its ups and downs. Ow. Ow What, what, what? Nothing. Sorry, I didn't know they could sting through hands quite like that. They're stinging me like crazy. I really want you to let go. There are now nearly ten million bees living on the rooftops of New York. Over the river in Queens, it's a special day for beekeeper Stefanos. He's harvesting his first honey with Andrew's help. BUZZING This one's perfect. Couldn't be better. Oh, yes, look. I think we should give the honey a taste, just Just to make sure. Oh, man, this is going to be so good. Oh, my God! It's like caramelised sunlight. It's just quality control. Right. Bees make honey and they pollinate the city's parks and gardens. But most importantly, they bring New Yorkers back in touch with nature. I think a lot of people are beekeeping in the city because they want to feel a connection to nature. They live in tall buildings, they walk on asphalt . . they ride around in trains under the ground. When they have a beehive on their roof, they can spend one or two hours a week, and really be connected to nature, and be creating their own food with almost no footprint, and I think that's great. Beekeeping in New York isn't going to save the planet, but it's a step in the right direction. There is just no doubt. If we are to continue living in cities, we'll have to stop stripping nature bare with no thought for tomorrow. What we do in our homes and in our streets affects the entire planet. The future of our civilisation depends on us restoring the balance between the natural world and the urban jungle. Can we do it? There are clear signs of hope from around the world. We do have the intelligence and ingenuity to adapt to a changing world. The ancient art of falconry now helps protect the modern city of Dubai. We can work hand in hand with nature to solve the problems we face. In India, we train fig trees to make living bridges. And we team up with elephants to extract valuable timber without trashing the whole forest. We can think as a community and plan ahead. In Mali, the fish in this lake are shared out only once a year. When we work together, it's incredible what we can achieve. Everyone in the mud city of Djenne collaborates to protect their sacred mosque. We have such spirit and such bravery in the face of adversity. If we combine these natural abilities with the best of our imagination and our biggest ideas then surely our cities can adapt and change. The destiny of our planet is now in human hands. CHEERING AND CLAMOURING Over three years, the Human Planet team has filmed people around the world. All had amazing endurance, local know-how, and ingenuity. WHOOPING CALL Just keeping up with them proved to be a huge challenge. The demands on our teams and kit pushed them to the limit. Filming on an active volcano in Java tested the cameras to breaking point. The crew were here to film sulphur miners. The air they breathe was a danger to both people and kit. I'm just going to go in there, a bit closer, with a gas meter and see what it does. METER BEEPS It's reading 93 parts per million. It's going up to 194 now. RAPID BEEPS CONTINUE So we're right in the middle of a cloud. We've got to get out. This is 40 times the safe working limit. The gas is a hydrogen sulphide mix that corrodes every surface it lands on. GASPING AND MUFFLED SPEECH The gas masks protected the crew, but not the cameras. We've got an RF warning on the camera, which means that the signal's not actually getting onto the tape. It's usually a head clog. The crew found that sulphide particles had stuck to the tape head and open-heart surgery was needed. That's absolutely filthy. After cleaning, the camera lived to work another day. Hey! Ho-ho! But the crew's problems were nothing compared to those faced daily by the sulphur miners. In the Sulu Sea off Borneo, cameraman Simon Enderby filmed a remarkable free-diving fisherman called Sulbin. Here I was with the latest in scuba gear, and he was swimming in a pair of underpants and wooden goggles. We really made for a bizarre dive duo. To capture the perfect hunt, I had to match my scuba-dive skills with those of Sulbin's free-diving. Our buoyancy, our swimming, our search for food, and, finally, his successful capture of a fish, all had to evolve together. Luckily, on the third dive, it all came together, and we both came up happy. Oh, wow, mate, that's the one. That's definitely the one. In the Philippines, we filmed fishermen herding all the fish on a reef into a huge net. Here, we found that fish can be adaptable too. Cameraman Roger Munns inadvertently saved one fish from becoming supper. He nicknamed him Nemo. Nemo sheltered in Roger's dive kit and hid there until the coast was clear . . eventually swimming off back home. We filmed in many locations where people had never seen film cameras before. In northern India, the children constantly looked into the lens. So, to get the shots he wanted, director Mark Flowers tried to distract the children by singing a song. I never sing in my whole life! LAUGHTER Much to his surprise, the children knew the nursery rhymes better than he did. Twinkle, twinkle, little star CHILDREN: # How I wonder what you are Up above the world so high Like a diamond in the sky. Hooray! LAUGHTER Filming at height always involves complex safety measures. But in Central Africa, the crew had an added complication. Tim Fogg rigged ropes to film Tete collecting honey from a wild bees' nest. BUZZING Unfortunately, the angry bees went straight for Tim. Smoke! Smoke! Smoke, quickly! Can we get you out, Tim? The first thing I remember seeing was a bee right in front of my face, with its abdomen twisted as if it was ready to sting me. They got inside? No, they were stinging through the face mask and through the gloves. After 30 stings, Tim fully appreciated Tete's bravery in gathering honey for his family. When filming people with animals, nothing's entirely predictable. In Greenland, director Nic Brown wanted to film the Inuit catching the elusive Greenland shark that lives in these deep waters. After an anxious ten days, everyone was thrilled when, in the middle of the night, they finally felt something on the line. We're very excited because we've all been playing with the line that's 800 metres down into the water, and you can actually feel the shark on the end of it. Somewhere down there we think we've got a Greenland shark on a hook. We're hoping. This is the hole for our underwater camera and this is the hole A shark hole? . . for the shark. They discovered they'd underestimated the hole size, because the Jensens had caught a huge four-metre-long shark. Co-ordinating helicopters with action on the ground is both expensive and difficult. But in Australia, director Susan McMillan had to co-ordinate three helicopters at once. Two of them were flown by heli-cowboys Ben Tapp and his mate Rankin, dicing with death to corral their cattle. The challenges of filming with three helicopters in the air have been quite considerable on this trip, because I'm filming it for real. It's not a drama and there's no take two. I have to actually capture the event as it happens, and it's quite a dangerous situation. I've got three helicopters in the air, I've got quad bikes and horses on the ground, I've got stampeding cattle, so, actually, the biggest pressure, I think, has been safety. Working on the ground can be just as dangerous, especially when it comes to big cats. The crew wanted to film Dorobo tribesmen in Kenya chasing lions off a kill. LIONESS GROWLS AND GRUNTS So cameraman Toby Strong offered to film with them on foot, to be in the thick of the action. The thought of getting out of a vehicle and walking towards lions on foot goes against every common sense bone in my body. I mean, these guys are These guys are amazing. They, um They've got their bows and arrows. But, um, I haven't got anything! I've got He CHUCKLES I've got a camera and a lens cap to protect myself with. It's getting a bit real, though, isn't it? Butterflies in the stomach. Having located the lions, Toby followed the Dorobo as they moved in to have a look. Walking down there towards thick bushes where you know there are lions, it, um God, it's something very primal in the back of your neck, and everythingthe hairs on the back of your neck and you just feel these eyes on you, but you feel very, very alive. It's a magical feeling. It's, um I sort of recommend it to everyone. Before going to work, have a walk through lion country. It gets things in perspective. Yeah, amazing. Without the co-operation and support of all the people we filmed around the world, this series could not have been made. Their unique knowledge and survival skills have relevance for us all in an increasingly human planet Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=human-planet-2011&episode=s01e08
Tag: human planet
Human Planet_Rivers (transcript)
Only one creature has carved a life for itself in every habitat on Earth. That creature is us. All over the world, we still use our ingenuity to survive in the wild places, far from the city lights, face to face with raw nature. This is the Human Planet. Humans have always been drawn to rivers. Rivers flow through every environment, bringing us the essentials of life - fresh water food and ready-made highways. But what rivers give, they can also take away. They can flood, freeze and sometimes disappear altogether. Rivers force us to take great risks. These are remarkable stories of survival from the most unpredictable habitat of them all. It's the monsoon season, and the mighty Mekong, Southeast Asia's greatest river, is in full flood. Between Cambodia and Laos, the Mekong current creates the widest rapids in the world. The Khone Falls are great for fishing, but also very dangerous as Sam Niang, a local fisherman, knows all too well. Migrating fish get trapped here, waiting to get up the rapids. Sam Niang has to risk his life to catch them. He has a family of seven to feed. He starts by fishing from the riverside, near his home. During the monsoon, the Mekong swells to 20 times its normal volume, which brings more fish, but makes them much harder to catch. After a morning, his net is still empty. There is another option - an island out in the main rapids. But to get there, Sam Niang must take his life into his hands. In the dry season, he built a high wire across the rapids out of old cable and bits of rope. At this time of the year, these rapids have nearly twice the flow of Niagara Falls - more than 11 million litres a second. He makes it to his favourite fishing perch. Turbulent currents corral the fish, and Sam Niang soon lands his family's supper. Though the fish are plentiful here, the most he can carry back is a few kilos at a time. Any more, and he might lose his balance. Today, Sam Niang won his battle with the Mekong. Tomorrow, to keep his family fed, he'll have to fight it again. It's not just the power of water that makes rivers dangerous. It's their erratic nature too. Reading a river correctly can mean the difference between life and death. The Zanskar valley is a hidden world on the edge of Tibet, in the heart of the Himalayas. In winter, it's cut off by snow. All roads in and out are impassable. Stanzin needs to get his two children to school, but the nearest school is 1 00 kilometres away, and the only way to get there is to walk down a frozen river. It's a six-day trek, so dangerous it's got its own name - the Chadar - the blanket of ice. They'll have to brave sub-zero temperatures, avalanches and freezing water. Term starts in a week. It's time for the school run, a formidable trip for 1 1-year-old Dolkar. Dolkar's 1 4-year-old brother, Chosing, is coming too. The family prepare for the journey ahead. Their mother has knitted them thick woollen socks to protect them. The brother and sister depend on their father's courage and skill. This has to be the most perilous school run in the world. The spring melt seems to have started early, which worries Stanzin. Stanzin has to make sure the ice can take their weight. And his expertise is tested immediately. The danger is not only underfoot. There's another threat - avalanches. Seven days ago, an avalanche killed a man on the Zanskar river. The unusual spring sunshine has brought another problem. The river's current has already melted the ice. Stanzin has to find a way past the barrier. The only way around is a narrow ledge. The ledge is barely 20 centimetres wide and covered with snow. There's a ten-metre drop to the freezing river below. The ledge ends with some metal pegs to climb down. Chosing makes it. Now it's Dolkar's turn. They mustn't delay. Night is falling fast, and the temperature will plummet to minus 30 Celsius. Luckily, Stanzin knows a cave nearby. The children need their sleep. The most dangerous part of the Chadar is still ahead. It's not all hard slog. But Dolkar's fun can't last. As the smallest, she's the first to feel the cold. She starts to lag behind. One little girl on a melting ice river, among the greatest mountains on Earth. Now for the final leg. The melting ice has left just a tiny shelf. It's thin. Stanzin is worried it won't take their weight. As he advances, the ice starts to crack. With the ice weakened by Stanzin's weight, the children have to brave it on their own. Dolkar's made it, now for Chosing. Thanks to their dad's expertise, the children have survived the Chadar. Six days out on the ice river. The Himalayan town of Leh, journey's end for the children. They rush straight to the school. There's just enough time for a goodbye. (BELL CLANGS) Stanzin now faces the return journey on his own. Melting river ice doesn't just make travelling harder. When frozen rivers break up, tonnes of ice start to flow, a potential disaster, even in the heart of a modern city. In the Canadian capital, Ottawa, spring melt turns the Rideau river into public enemy number one. The danger point is a footbridge on a frozen waterfall a bottleneck where the Rideau flows into the Ottawa river. It's late February, and the ice is melting here too. Ice blocks are in danger of forming a dam, which might lead to devastating flooding. A natural threat that needs a daring human solution. Meet the ice-dam busters! Theirjob isn't just to predict nature, they have to beat it! There are thousands of tonnes of ice behind the bridge, up to a metre thick. The team needs to break it up to keep the river flowing. Stage one - cut the ice into long strips. They're still too large to flow under the bridge, so, for stage two, the team uses a more persuasive force Now! hundreds of kilos of dynamite. Hup! Bite-size pieces now flow easily under the bridge and over the falls. The centre of Ottawa is safe for another year. The world's largest rivers bring the most danger to our lives. Their floods can be devastating. They often happen without warning, and there's nothing we can do but try to escape. In Bangladesh, tens of millions of people can be displaced when the Ganges and her tributaries burst their banks. The river is so strong, it regularly changes course, brushing land aside as it goes. A month ago, Mohamed Jaleel's village was 1 00 metres from the bank. Today, his house is about to be swept away. He and his neighbours have only minutes to move his home. The rest of the villagers look on, helpless, as the rising river obliterates their land. In South America, floods can be so huge that the entire year has to be spent planning for them. In the Amazon basin, one mother prepares for the rising waters. Jarnia lives by the Rio Negro in Brazil. It's November, the dry season, the time of plenty. Fish are so easy to catch, she even has enough to feed the local river dolphins. But in six months'time, when the flood water invades, all these dolphins and the fish with them will disappear into the flooded forest to breed. When the fish are gone, feeding her large family will become a nightmare. Surviving such hard times means thinking ahead, and Jarnia has a four-stage plan. Stage one is collecting turtle eggs six months before the floods arrive. River turtles lay thousands of eggs in the dry season beaches, which they leave to hatch. Turtles are a reliable source of protein when the waters rise, so these eggs are precious. Back in the village, it's time for stage two. Jarnia reburies the eggs in her turtle nursery. In the wild, many eggs would be eaten by animals but here they'll be safe. By March, four months later, It's stage three - release day! It's time to release the babies. But will enough of them survive to feed the village in the floods to come? It's June, the height of the rains. The river rises seven metres. Jarnia's village is transformed. The forest is flooded, and the nearest dry land is more than six hours'rowing away. Jarnia's family is now marooned by the greatest annual flood on the planet. Time for the final stage. Jarnia and her sister Dora prepare to go turtle-hunting. Jarnia's husband, Francisco, makes them a turtle-hunting spear and then the two sisters set off in search of food. Will their hard work bring dinner to the table? At first, it's not looking promising. Then Jarnia spots one. Her preparation's paid off. She'll be able to feed everyone. Jarnia's foresight has pulled her family through another difficult flood. (THEY SING) Some river creatures pose a direct threat to humans. The Zambezi river in Africa is used by elephants, crocodiles and hippos, some of the continent's most dangerous animals. Fisherman Josphat and his brothers have found a safe, if slightly hair-raising, fishing spot, a place where they can catch lunch without becoming dinner themselves. The place they're heading for may be safe from crocodiles, but it does have a drawback. The reason Josphat's fishing pools are far from safe is their precarious position at the very top of Victoria Falls. Josphat's bravery and skill enable him to fish where no animal dares to venture. People can overcome floods and even learn to fish on giant waterfalls, but there's one face of a river that's virtually impossible to survive. When a river dries up and disappears, all life drains away. Lemagas is a Samburu camel herder in northern Kenya. No rain has fallen here for eight months. It's a severe drought, and the Milgis river has vanished. Lemagas has been forced to range deep into the desert, searching for fresh food for his precious camels. Now they are far away from home, and they've run out of drinking water. Not even the camels can survive this long without a drink. Lemagas knows there is water here, hidden underneath the river bed. But how can he find it? The Samburu have learned to rely on another nomadic creature, one that usually travels at night. While Lemagas and his camels rest, not far away, some giant water-diviners are sniffing out the river bed. An elephant's trunk - its nose - is far more sensitive than a human's which means it can tell where the water table is closest to the surface. Elephants must drink 1 00 litres a day and can suck up eight litres of water at a time. Having drunk, the elephants leave before dawn. Early next morning, Lemagas and his camels are on the elephants'trail. Even a dry river bed holds water if you know where to look. They sing their thanks to the gods and the elephants. A few days later, Lemagas finally returns to his village with its permanent deep well. He doesn't forget the help he's been given in the wild. The first thing he does is to bring up precious water, not just for his herd and his family, but for his wild friends too. He doesn't forget his nocturnal water-diviners, for without them, Lemagas and his camels could never survive when they're far away from home. Over 4,000 kilometres away, in Mali, another dry river, a tributary of the Niger, is forcing one man into making a difficult decision. His name is Ouseman, and he's a master mason in Djenne, an ancient city made entirely of river mud. His job is to maintain the city's mosque, the biggest and oldest mud building in the world. It's the heart of Ouseman's culture. Ouseman's problem is this - every year the mosque needs a fresh coat of mud to protect it before the rains arrive. Down in the dry river bed, the mud is blended with rice husks, and then left to ferment. But this year, the mix hasn't reached the right consistency, and now the rains are almost upon him. Dust storms are blowing in, the first signs that the wet season is about to begin. The sacred building desperately needs a new storm-proof skin. Two days later, Ouseman and his friend Ibrahim return to the river. (THEY CHAT) It's a big decision. Word spreads fast, and everyone comes down to help. Everyone in Djenne has been waiting all year for this special day. The built-in palm logs are perches for the plasterers. The whole town mucks in to protect the mosque for another year. There's been a mud mosque in Djenne for 700 years the sacred heart of a city fashioned from river mud. (CHEERING) Our relationship with rivers is never easy. Their waters can give us so much but can also take everything away. We will always be at the mercy of their wild and unpredictable nature. But one culture has found an inspiring way of mastering their savage rivers. In northeast India, a giant cliff leads up into a hidden world Meghalaya. Nearly two kilometres high and buffeted by monsoon storm clouds, this is possibly the wettest place on Earth. Once, 25 metres of rain fell here in a year, the world record. Living here poses an unusual problem, and it's not just keeping dry. Nearly all the rain falls during the summer monsoon. Rivers switch from gentle streams to raging torrents. They become wild and unpredictable and almost impossible to cross. Harley and his niece Juliana are busy cultivating a cunning solution. Harley planted this strangler fig on the river's edge, and today, he's teaching Juliana how to care for it. The fig's tangled roots help to prevent the bank being washed away. He teaches Juliana to coax the roots across what is now just a stream. When they reach the other side, they'll take hold there. This is the basis of a structure that will survive any deluge. A living bridge. It's an epic project that no man can complete in one lifetime, so Harley is passing on his knowledge to Juliana. Each year,Juliana will need to tend the roots, making them stronger. If she stays and completes her bridge, it will become part of the commuter route here, a network of dozens of living bridges that connect the valleys of Meghalaya. Some of them are many centuries old. There are even double-deckers. With Juliana to look after it, the future of this young bridge looks secure sustainable, living architecture that will live and grow for generations one of the very few examples in the world where humans have come up with a successful and natural solution, a way of working with nature to overcome the problems a wild river can cause. For the Human Planet Rivers team, filming on the Mekong river at the height of the monsoon raised many challenges. Mainly, how do you capture a remarkable event without losing your camera, your crew or your star fisherman, Sam Niang, to the river? The Khone Falls have more water flowing over them than any other waterfall in the world. A narrowing of the mighty Mekong river funnels the migrating fish and provides a dangerous, if lucrative, opportunity. The crew's here to capture the extreme lengths that locals will go to catch fish. Sam Niang is lucky. He has access to his own small island for fishing. But to get to his prime spot, he must risk life and limb. To capture the spectacle of Sam Niang's high-wire feat, the crew have chosen a gadget that runs on wires and that controls the camera electronically, known as a cable dolly. And the idea is, it's one of our most exciting and sought-after shots, so we can follow someone walking across the tightrope, so the camera moves with them and then pulls out to reveal the angry water. But rigging such a hi-tech system over a raging torrent is no easy feat, and it requires a specialist rigger. We're just trying to get the cable across for the dolly, so the local guy's just shimmied across the wires, as he does every day. Whilst Tim works on the cables, the rest of the team concentrate on filming the rapids from every other angle, even shooting in the rapids themselves. I'll just go here. It won't be a long run. It'll take two or three minutes. Mick O'Shea was the first man ever to navigate the entire Mekong, from Tibet to southern China - just the man to capture a fish-eye view. But even he succumbs to the full force of the Mekong in surge. His kayak is sucked under by the powerful current and swept downstream. After a few worrying minutes, Mick re-appears, back in control, safe but shaken. With new-found respect for the Mekong's power, the crew stick to solid ground. Using a four-metre jib, they follow Sam Niang as he negotiates a treacherous rocky outcrop to cast his net. Over and down, OK? And on Good. By now, Tim has the rigging ready for the dolly. Do you want this up there? There's a massive cloud come over. (THUNDER RUMBLES) But no sooner than it's in place, the heavens open. It's the last thing they need. Dolly filming stops for technical and safety reasons. There's just a little spot of rain. I think rain's stopping play! - Cos electronics survive the rain well(!) - Yeah. (THUNDER CRASHES) The next morning, it's clear that, as feared, water has got into the electronics. So what's gone wrong with it now? So the new, modern technology is ousted by the old-school way. I'm going to go up there now and, um, put the camera on! Oh, my Whoa! OK. The crew finally get the cable dolly working, so now it's time to get creative. The light, the dolly, the safety team and, most importantly, Sam Niang, all have to work in unison. Go! We turned it the wrong way. OK, Tim. No. Nearly, nearly. Bring it all back, yes. Go. No. Still no! Sam Niang looks really happy, though, doesn't he? My heart's in my mouth every time he has to go over that rope. You look really happy, and I'm really worried! The sun breaks through the clouds, and finally it all comes together. Yay, we've got a keeper! That's great! Thanks very much, you. Yeah! What a relief. Despite the odds, the Human Planet team have triumphed. Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=human-planet-2011&episode=s01e07 gapped text:
Only one creature has carved a life for itself in every ................on Earth. That creature is us. All over the world, we still use our ...................
to survive in th
e wild places, far from the city lights, face to face with ..................nature. This is the Human Planet. Humans have always been ......................to rivers. Rivers flow through every environment, bringing us the essentials of life - fresh water, food and ready-made highways. But what rivers give, they can also take away. They can .................., freeze and sometimes disappear altogether. Rivers force us to take great risks. These are ......................stories of survival from the most unpredictable habitat of them all. It's the monsoon season, and the .................. Mekong, Southeast Asia's greatest river, is in full flood. Between Cambodia and ............., the Mekong current creates the widest rapids in the world. The Khone Falls are great for fishing, but also very dangerous as Sam Niang, a local fisherman, knows all too well. Migrating fish get ...................here, waiting to get up the rapids. Sam Niang has to risk his life to catch them. He has a family of seven to feed. He starts by fishing from the .................., near his home. During the monsoon, the Mekong ................ to 20 times its normal volume, which brings more fish, but makes them much harder to catch. After a morning, his ...................is still empty. There is another option - an island out in the main ................... But to get there, Sam Niang must take his life into his hands. In the dry season, he built a high .................. across the rapids out of old cable and bits of rope. At this time of the year, these rapids have nearly twice the flow of Niagara Falls - more than 11 million litres a second. (30 secs of silence) He makes it to his favourite fishing perch. Turbulent ................corral the fish, and Sam Niang soon lands his family's ....................
Though the fish are .......................here, the most he can carry back is a few kilos at a time. Any more, and he might .............his balance.(silence) Today, Sam Niang ...................his battle with the Mekong. Tomorrow, to keep his family ............., he'll have to fight it again.