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Sunday, October 16, 2011

The awe-inspiring and breathtaking pictures of life and survival on our melting polar worlds that we may never see again


Got you: An orca takes a seal and drags it into the water to drown it after a three hour team hunt in which the entire pod co-operated in order to make giant waves that washed the seal from its initial ice floe

These stunning images reveal a remarkable glimpse of life at the ends of the earth.
Our melting polar worlds have been captured in breathtaking pictures by the BBC for this autumn's landmark natural history series Frozen Planet.

It is the last chance to see the world's greatest wildernesses before they change forever, according to narrator Sir David Attenborough.

Bear necessities: A male polar bear showing battle scars and the mate he defended from 10 suitors. Their courtship was filmed over a fortnight, capturing extraordinary intimate and tender moments

Whale of a surprise: A cameraman holding a camera on a pole in the icy Antarctic water, gets a shock when an killer whale mother and calf explode out of the water in front of his face

'The pictures captured behaviour and phenomena that had never before been recorded,' said Sir David, 85. 'Those pictures will become increasingly valuable as time passes.

'For this may well prove to be our last chance to record, in their full splendour, these astonishing wonderlands that have existed for hundreds of thousands of years before humans reached them and which now, within a century, may change beyond recognition.'

The pictures are published in a book - the first to cover both the Arctic and Antarctic - to accompany the epic seven-part series from the team that produced Blue Planet and Planet Earth which were seen by 12 million viewers in the UK and 80 million worldwide.

Target: A sea lion chases a Gentoo penguin onto land - both are like fish out of water and the sea lion struggles to make a kill

Smoking: An early-morning view of Mt Erebus, Antarctica's only continuously active volcano. The aerial crew waited eight weeks to get a clear view of the top of the volcano which was extremely treacherous to fly around

Blue lagoon: Aerial shot of a sapphire blue meltwater lake on Greenland which formed in a matter of days, but several weeks later drained into the ice sheet in a matter of hours

Desolate: A nunatak, an exposed rocky peak, pokes through the ice sheet in Antarctica where 90 per cent of the world's ice is found and is nearly three miles thick in places

P=p-p-perishing: King penguins silhouetted at dawn on the island of South Georgia in the Falklands. They are the second largest species of penguin, weighing up to 35lbs

Killer pack: Twenty-five timberwolves led by the alpha female, travel single-file through the deep snow to save energy as they track bison on the Arctic circle in northern Canada in temperatures of -40c

In for the kill: Timberwolves forced the bison herd to stampede and picked off a yearling which fell behind after another bison ran headlong into it

Snow scene: Finland's frozen taiga forest shot in a magical light.The Taiga is the greatest forest on Earth, containing at least a third of all the world's trees

Go with the floe: A giant iceberg hundreds of metres across which would dwarf most of the world's buildings. It collapsed from Store Glacier on the west coast of Greenland

Flakey: A close-up of a snowflake which was filmed with unique macro technology developed especially for the shot

Surf dude: A Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua papua) rides the wave. The penguins are masterful surfers and were filmed at high speed as they came ashore to feed their young

Bird bath: An aerial shot of a humpback whale filmed at the largest gathering of shearwaters on the planet - 18 million off the coast of Alaska in the Aleutians

Swoop: The reclusive Great Grey owl is one of the largest owls in the world with a wingspan of between four to five feet. It it is often referred to as the Great Grey Ghost or Phantom of the North

Krill bill: A humpback whale dives for krill fish amidst thousands of short-tailed shearwaters in the Bering Sea off Alaska while on the seabed there are giant sponges up to 2 metres high as much as a thousand years old

Sea world: A cameraman bolts an underwater tripod to the ice ceiling to get extraordinarily stable, shots of amazing ice formations or ice chandeliers , which were inhabited by millions of tiny ice fish whose bodies were full of anti-freeze

source: dailymail


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