Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BBC Wild South America - Penguin Shores

BBC Wild South America 6of6 Penguin Shores

The final programme begins in the Falkland Islands, where thousands of rockhopper penguins negotiate the treacherous wave-swept coast and sea cliffs as they come ashore to breed. Huge shoals of krill live in the cold, oxygen-rich waters of the surrounding ocean. Black-browed albatross, gentoo penguins and king cormorants are among the millions of seabirds drawn here to take advantage of the nutrient-rich sea. In summer, pods of killer whales arrive to hunt penguins, using techniques learned from previous generations. Animals of the Southern Ocean visit the deep-water fjords around the southern tip of the continent. Magellanic penguins nest in the undergrowth, but must evade the predatory sea lions which patrol the kelp forests offshore. Peale’s dolphins are filmed in the Straits of Magellan. The cold Humboldt Current carries nutrients far up the west coast of South America, but on land the temperate forests give way to the driest desert on Earth. Off the coast at Paracas, huge shoals of anchovies gather. These attract seabirds, Humboldt penguins and larger predators such as sea lions. At the Gal├ípagos Islands, warm and cold ocean currents meet, attracting new species. Hammerhead sharks gather in shoals hundreds strong to feed, breed and socialise. Sperm whales also arrive to breed, with the bulls establishing dominance over rivals by head-butting and tooth rasping. The volcanic islands have their own unique flora and fauna due to their isolation, including flightless cormorants, marine iguanas and Gal├ípagos finches. The cold Humboldt Current has even put a penguin on the equator

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