An elephant herd in Namibia is observed, as the matriarch, called Knob Nose, leads eighteen other elephants through the unforgiving terrain. Also: Ginger Mauney and her veterinarian husband present their findings on the animals.
The world of birds is examined, including bird evolution, the mechanics of flight and birds' ability to mimic. Observed: the courting rituals of the albatross and the bird of paradise (filmed by German naturalist Heinz Sielmann).
This profile of gorillas addresses misconceptions about these endangered beasts, which are neither ferocious (except when threatened) nor unintelligent. Also: a look at experiments to teach gorillas sign language and a report on conservation work in Africa.
Tracing attempts to scale K2, the second-highest peak in the world, located in the Himalayas. In the past, would-be climbers have had to battle constant avalanches and hazardous weather conditions. Filmed in 1983 in Kashmir, India.
Chronicling a seven-year study of a river in Africa that appeared in 1957 and then suddenly ceased flowing in 1982. This natural phenomenon resulted in fierce competition among the wildlife it supported.
A 2000-mile journey across Europe, made by a 30-foot ketch and its owners. Cameras follow their progress on Europe's maze of waterways and offer sidelights of the trip: barge families living on the canals; the rescue of a yacht; Denmark's famed Tivoli Gardens; the ketch's arrival in Paris.
The National Park Service, focusing on whether the parks should provide more services to visitors or remain protected wildernesses. Included: scenes of Yellowstone, Denali (Alaska) and the Grand Canyon.
A study of the positive impact beavers have on the environment: their dam building forms ponds, creating better living conditions for flora and fauna. A beaver family is seen preparing for winter, repairing spring-flood damage to the dam, and raising their offspring.
A look at eight men crossing the Sahara in sailboats. The team of sailing experts navigates the world's largest desert in three-wheeled craft that streak across the dunes at speeds as high as 60 mph, exposing their drivers to the hazards of erratic winds, uneven terrain, scarce water and extreme temperatures.
A look at big cats reports on four endangered species. Included: Siberian tigers, seen in a Swedish zoo; American mountain lions, seen in the Idaho wilderness; Amazonian jaguars, which trappers are driving deeper into the jungle; and Asiatic lions, observed in a forest in southwest India.
A portrait of L.S.B. Leakey includes a review of the anthropologist's work, and reminiscences by his wife, son and colleagues. Clips show Leakey at a site in Africa, and on a speaking tour shortly before his death in 1972.
Documenting Jane Goodall's study of chimpanzees, begun in 1960 in Tanzania's Gombe Stream Game Reserve. The animals display temperaments that range from shy to violent. Vivid footage also shows chimpanzee clans engaged in organized warfare.
A look at memorable moments from the series concludes with creatures of Africa's Namib Desert; a voyage down the Volga River; a look at China's efforts to breed giant pandas in captivity; and a visit to Siberia.
How flowers engage in "Sexual Encounters of the Floral Kind" with insects that transport pollen from plant to plant. Included: a look at the Australian hammer orchid, which assumes the shape of a female wasp to attract pollen-laden males.
A journey down the Amazon, from its source in the Peruvian Andes to its mouth in northern Brazil. Views of isolated forest tribes include a school for witch doctors. Also: a ruined Inca city; an American expatriate who captures wildlife for zoos; piranha fish attacking their kill.
Part 1 of a two-part retrospective on the series. Included: an exploration of the human body; Dr. Leakey's study of primates and evolution; a voyage on the QE2; a look at gray whales off the coast of Mexico.
Traveling by foot, dog sled and raft, four men retrace a gold-rush route through the Klondike. Like the prospectors of the 1890s, they trek across the snowbound Chilkoot Pass and down the Yukon River. Also: a stop at Dawson, a restored frontier town.
Biologists track the 2500-mile migration of the whooping crane, whose once-dwindling numbers have been increased due to the efforts of scientists. One successful breeding technique is a "foster parent" program that places eggs in the care of sandhill cranes.
Researchers are seen in a mountain region of China trying to save the panda from extinction by studying how the shy creature behaves in its natural environment. Destruction of the bamboo forests, which provide the species with food and shelter, has severely reduced its numbers.
A look at the cities near Vesuvius, the volcano in Italy with 50 eruptions since Roman times. Its most famous eruption in A.D. 79 obliterated Pompeii and Herculaneum, causing instantaneous death. Also visited: the fishing town of Pozzuoli; and San Sebastiano.