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 charitable works of Edmund Hillary, the first to climb Mount Everest (May 1953), in Nepal's Khumbu region. Hillary is instrumental in building schools and health-care facilities. Also: Hillary is seen celebrating the 30th anniversary of the climb with his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay.
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.
Zoos of the world are visted. Included: an insectarium in Tokyo; black-and-white tigers in Delhi; giant pandas and a drive-through preserve in London; an albino gorilla in Barcelona. Other locations include New York, Tanzania, Antwerp, Frankfurt and San Diego.
Yellowstone National Park and Alaska are visited to study the grizzly---an animal "celebrated and romanticized". Included: preservation efforts; scenes of bruins catching and devouring fish; and interviews with researchers.
Creatures that inhabit the mangroves of Borneo, including proboscis monkeys, beer-bellied simians adept at swimming; fiddler crabs; mudskippers, which use their fins to traverse mud; and short-clawed otters.
A look at a Hong Kong family focuses on the Leongs, whose lifestyles are a blend of the diverse influences in the British colony. From their “floating store,” the Leongs sell a variety of merchandise to ship crews in the harbor. The documentary interweaves their story with scenes of shrines, factories and schools, and uses newsreels to trace the colony's history.
“The Voyage of the Brigantine Yankee” retraces the last world voyage (1957-58) of the vessel, captained by Irving Johnson and his wife. The focus is on Yankee's South Pacific ports-of-call, including Pitcairn Island.
Gold---how it's sought, smuggled, traded and hoarded. Included: black miners in South Africa; fortune hunters searching for ancient tribal tombs in Colombia; Italian goldsmiths making jewelry; and the London gold exchange.
Machines that have altered modern life are examined. Included: robots to aid the handicapped; cameras that have photographed Jupiter from the Voyager spacecraft; and a computer that scans the brain to detect evidence of disease.
Three denizens of the American West: coyotes, rattlesnakes and mustangs. This report shows coyotes foraging during a harsh Wyoming winter; a New Mexico couple who study rattlers; and Nevada's wild horses competing with ranchers' livestock for water.
People who endeavor to restore treasures from the past. Included: Virginian Ken Hyde's recrafting of a WWI biplane; Soviet craftsmen laboring on the Catherine Palace in Leningrad; and Texans working on a 109-year-old tall ship.
"Australia's Animal Mysteries"---and scientific efforts to unravel them. Included: some of the 50 species of kangaroos; the platypus, a duck-billed, egg-laying mammal; the koala (a marsupial, not a bear); and the flying opossum.
A 1965 documentary about chimpanzee research in Tanzania, conducted by Jane Goodall. Films of the chimpanzee community illustrate Goodall's findings: the primates improvise and use tools---a vital step in the evolution of man.
The origins and evolution of humans are examined through archival and contemporary footage. Included: Richard Leakey's 1984 unearthing of a 1.5 million-year-old Homo erectus skeleton; and Ofar Bar Yosef's research in Israel of a cave once inhabited by Neanderthals.
An examination of Great Britain studies the country's daily life and traditional pageantry. Included: views of herring fishermen putting out to sea in their wooden boats; a youth being apprenticed to a company of lightermen, thereby participating in a family occupation dating to 1666; and a segment on life on the island of Sark.