Earth’s Tropical Islands

Earth’s Tropical Islands

This is a journey across Hawaii’s varied islands, discovering how they were made and the incredible wildlife that thrives there. 

Hawaii is the most remote island chain on earth, and its tropical shores are hard to reach. But for the hardy creatures that can make it here, like the waterfall-climbing fish, carnivorous caterpillar and Laysan albatross, a land of opportunity awaits. From newly formed lava fields to lush jungles and vibrant coral reefs, these diverse and beautiful islands have it all. 

Packed with surprising stories, the hidden gems of this tropical paradise are uncovered using stunning photography. Dramatic footage of the humpback whale heat run – the biggest courtship battle in the world – and intimate views of the world’s oldest known bird feeding its chick are just some of the highlights of what Hawaii has to offer. 

The islands are so isolated that it used to be that one new species arrived every 100,000 years, but the arrival of people has radically changed the face of Hawaii. Now it gains around 20 new species every year. The remarkable Jackson’s chameleon is one of the animals recently introduced. Showing off its voracious appetite, the programme reveals how it is eating its way through the native animals and contributing to wiping them out entirely. 

But this is a place where people are looking to the future and attempting to bring wildlife back from the brink of extinction. White terns, once extinct on the main islands of Hawaii, have gone from a single pair to over 2,000 birds in the last 60 years. It is a huge challenge, but people are seeking progressive new ways to live alongside nature to allow Hawaii’s wildlife to continue to thrive.

Earth’s Tropical Islands – Sunday 6pm on BBC2

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