In this episode we climb high into the world’s great mountain ranges. Only a few pioneering animals have what it takes to survive up here, they are amongst the most elusive and mysterious on the planet. Witness for the first time ever four snow leopards filmed together as a mother and cub become trapped in a desperate fight between two rival males. Like crazy pole dancers, Grizzly bears comically scratch their backs on trees whilst a bobcat struggles to hunt for ducks without getting its feet wet.

Key Characters in Mountains

Snow Leopards; Himalayas, Ladakh, India

  • The Planet Earth II sequence is the first time that four snow leopards have ever been filmed together. With as few as 3,500 snow leopards remaining in the wild, they are incredibly elusive and hard to film.
  • The camera traps used were re-engineered to give better operating quality and to survive in the toughest field conditions; the highest camera trap was operating close to 5000 metres.

Golden Eagle; French Alps

  • In order to bring viewers a first-hand experience of what it is like to hunt like a Golden Eagle soaring and diving through the Alps, the crew had to innovate – a miniature 4K camera was placed on the back of a bird, to get the Eagle’s perspective. They also worked with a world speed-rider champion who was rigged with cameras and flew down the mountain using a special parachute to get these immersive, in motion shots.
  • A Golden Eagle’s wingspan can reach up to seven feet and they have a huge hallux or ‘killing claw’ which averages over 6cm long.
  • They have the ability to spot prey as small as hares and marmots from three kilometres. They can steep dive at up to 300kmh (only a peregrine falcon is faster).

Grizzly Bears; Alberta, Canada

The team used remote camera traps concealed in rubbing trees to reveal the secret world of grizzly bears and their use of the trees like crazy pole dancers!

  • Grizzly bears and brown bears (alongside polar bears) are the largest land carnivores; measuring 1.5 – 2.5 metres tall, weighing up to 360kg, and can run nearly 50km per hour.
  • Females dig dens high in the mountains under the snow and give birth to their (often twin) cubs there.

Bobcats; Yellowstone National Park, USA

  • Bobcats are seldom spotted by humans, but the team captured the most intimate footage of a wild bobcat ever recorded.
  • Bobcats are America’s most numerous wild cat with a population of around a million.
  • They are highly adaptable and, compared to other predators, they feed on a wider range of prey, including wildfowl; rabbits; rodents; birds; small deer and fish. While they are often nocturnal their activity changes to suit their prey.

Filming Locations

Mountains

  1. Snow leopards - Himalayas, Ladakh, India
  2. Grizzly bears rubbing - Alberta, Canada
  3. Summer bears - Rocky Mountains, USA
  4. Flamingoes - San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
  5. Mont Blanc aerials - Chamonix, France
  6. Golden eagles - French Alps
  7. Viscacha - San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
  8. Bobcats - Yellowstone NP, USA
  9. Ibex - Arabian Peninsula, Israel
  10. Mount Everest - Nepal

The Facts

  • Mountains cover one fifth of the planet’s surface.
  • With every 1000m of ascent, the temperature falls 6.5° C and there is a 10% increase in dangerous ultra violet radiation.
  • The coldest temperature ever recorded was -89.2°C at an altitude of 3488m at Vostok Station, Antarctica.
  • The world’s tallest mountain is Everest, at 8848m; and the greatest mountain range is The Himalaya, the third largest deposit of ice and snow (after the two Poles).