Yellowstone: Battle for Life - BBC Documentary

Available for streaming from Netflix as of February 2010: Yellowstone: Battle for Life is a BBC nature documentary series.

Narrated by Peter Firth, the series takes a look at a year in the life of Yellowstone National Park, examining how its wildlife adapts to living in one of the harshest wildernesses on Earth. It has three episodes.

Yellowstone was commissioned by Roly Keating, then Controller of BBC Two, as a follow-up to the award-winning series Galápagos which aired in autumn 2006. Filming began in January 2007 and continued through the following four seasons).

Filming techniques previously used for both Galapagos and Planet Earth were again put to good use, including shooting with high definiton cameras and high-speed shooting to slow down fast action sequences.

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1. "Winter"

With temperatures plunging to –40°C and several metres of snowfall, Yellowstone freezes solid for six months each year. In the extreme cold, moisture in the air freezes, creating diamond dust. The severe winter is the greatest challenge facing the Park's animals, but for the wolf, it is the season of opportunity. The film follows the Druid pack, one of the largest in Yellowstone, as they stalk ever-weakening prey.

On the open plateau, bison are built to endure the worst of the winter, bulldozing their way through deep snow to reach grass.

2. "Summer"

As the Sun gains strength, the Park begins to thaw and grazers move back up to higher altitudes. The hardy bison are amongst the first, their newborn calves struggling to cross rivers swollen by meltwater during the journey.

As summer returns, a new challenge emerges: Yellowstone begins to dry out. Cutthroat trout mass in shallow streams ready to spawn, but they make easy prey for otters and osprey.

Meanwhile, grizzly bears converge on the high mountain slopes as they seek out an unusual food source: army cutworm moths, which arrive in their millions from the prairies.

In Yellowstone People, we meet the 'geyser gazers', tourists drawn to Yellowstone's famous geysers.

3. "Autumn"

Autumn is Yellowstone's shortest season and a period of swift change. Conditions change from summer to winter in just two months, forcing animals to leave or prepare for winter.

Bison rely on stored fat to see them through, but elk and pronghorn head for lower ground. Their only natural enemy is the wolf, but beyond the Park boundaries they must contend with different hazards: hunting, heavy industry and traffic.

The wolf's return has restored the natural balance of Yellowstone: elk no longer graze along the river banks, leaving more willow saplings for beavers.

Yellowstone (BBC TV series). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Related: It’s a Bear’s World in Kodiak, Alaska -, 2011.

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