Our Changing Planet continues tonight on BBC One with its second episode.
Part of the BBC’s ambitious seven-year natural history project, Our Changing Planet will see six presenters visit six of the planet’s most threatened ecosystems to meet the people fighting to restore the Earth’s delicate balance.
In the second of two episodes, Liz Bonnin travels to California to learn about the increasingly invasive wildfires hitting the headlines. Scientists can see clear links between the fires, climate change, raised temperatures and an extended drought season.
There is one crucial element that is key to a sustainable future in California: biodiversity. Loss of keystone species and large carnivores is a threat to the state’s ecosystems, and conservationists and scientists are mobilising to save wildlife from wildfires and to treat their burns.
Liz also visits the Pacific coast of California, where warming seas have brought with them a new resident, great white sharks. With each shark consuming up to 18 kilos of prey at a time, the impact they could have on the marine ecosystem is being studied intently.
Ade Adepitan travels to Kenya to look at the effects rising temperatures are having on the land. Hundreds of millions of Africans depend on rainfall to grow their food and keep livestock, and the capacity for adaptation is low. Ade also visits a project in Kenya that is going to extraordinary lengths to safeguard the future of its most charismatic creature, the African elephant.
Over in Brazil, Gordon Buchanan discovers a pioneering project that is trying to save one of the Amazon’s iconic predators, the jaguar. Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, and as well as the Amazon rainforest, it is home to one of the world’s most important wetlands, the Pantanal.
This area is home to high numbers of jaguars, but in 2020, wildfires destroyed 30 per cent of the Pantanal, killing an estimated 17 million animals. More than a quarter of the resident jaguars were directly impacted by these fires, through habitat loss, food shortages, injury and death.
Our Changing Planet airs on BBC One at 7PM on Sunday, 1 May.
You can watch episodes online via the BBC iPlayer here.