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Island Arks (5/6)


This is also part of this series: Wild Australasia Series (6)

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Grade Level: JrH-Adult
Producer: BBC
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 50 mins
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2003
Available in French: No

Over many millions of years Australia has spawned a fabulous variety of islands dotted across the Pacific. From New Guinea, through New Britain and Lord Howe Island to New Caledonia and New Zealand, they stretch from the equator to the sub-Antarctic. All are in some way related to Australia but each has its own distinct character and unique wildlife. The youngest of all is New Guinea which was an integral part of Australia until rising sea levels cut it off just 10,000 years ago. New Guinea is a dynamic island where high tropical rainfall, enormous mountains with glaciers on their peaks and luxuriant tropical rainforest give it a feel all of its own. There are kangaroos here but, because of all the forest, most species live up in the trees and have evolved into a distinct type, the tree kangaroo. It also sustains a fantastic variety of the beautiful birds of paradise and the local people use their feathers to decorate elaborate traditional head-dresses. New Guinea has 1000 different tribal groups and we filmed one of the largest gatherings of tribal peoples up in the remote highlands – a unique and spectacular event. From New Guinea's eastern end thousands of volcanic islands stretch out into the Pacific like fiery jewels. This is one of the most volcanically active areas on earth. The long and varied coastlines make this an underwater wonderland, with more species of fish and corals than even the Great Barrier Reef. Giant saltwater crocodiles have colonised the shores and vast numbers of fruit bats have settled the forests.

Links: http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programmes/tv/wilddownunder/