Tuesday, February 2 at 8:00 p.m.
The first episode gives an overview of the variety of the Caribbean’s natural history, revealing the hidden wild side of the islands. Spotted and bottlenose dolphins cruise the shallow sand banks around the Bahamas. The mangrove forests of Barbuda’s shallow lagoons provide ideal nest sites for the Caribbean’s largest colony of frigatebirds. The birds are filmed jostling over the best locations and collecting floating sticks on the wing. The nearby islands of St Lucia, St Vincent and Dominica have a different character. The thickly forested slopes of their volcanic mountains harbour rare hummingbirds and parrots.
Tuesday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m.
A single extreme event can be devastating for species with a restricted range. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo decimated the Puerto Rican parrot population, leaving only three breeding pairs. By contrast, green iguanas have used floating debris to colonise new islands, showing that resilience and adaptability are the key to survival. With climate change scientists predicting more frequent and intense hurricanes in future, the ability of the Caribbean wildlife to survive and recover from them will be severely tested.
Tuesday, February 23 at 8:00 p.m.
The deep waters off Dominica are breeding grounds for sperm whales, filmed engaging in tactile social behaviour at the surface. Caves are a feature of Cuba’s limestone geology, and provide homes for millions of bats as well as Cuban boas and secretive hutias, the latter filmed for the first time in the wild. The southerly ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao), swept by dry trade winds, are virtual deserts. Every year, 20,000 Caribbean flamingos arrive to breed on their salt pans. The clear waters around Bonaire have the greatest variety of reef fish anywhere in the Caribbean. The final island to be featured is Trinidad, cut off from South America by rising sea levels 2,000 years ago. Its island fauna include many mainland species such as red howler monkeys, capuchins and scarlet ibis.
Tuesday, February 23 at 9:00 p.m.
The Land Beyond
The final instalment takes the form of a journey along the Caribbean shore of Central America, which runs for 1700 miles from Panama to Mexico. The Panama Canal is 25m above sea level and relies on outflow from rivers in the surrounding rainforest to maintain the water level. Wildlife along the banks includes capybara, coatis and spider monkeys.