Gain Entry to the Hostile Yet Hauntingly Beautiful Landscapes of the World's Longest Mountain Range in "The Wild Andes"

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02 November 2018
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The Wild Andes
Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel
"The Wild Andes"
Premieres Wednesday, November 7 at 8 PM ET/PT
on Smithsonian Channel™
 
          For more than three years, filmmaker Christian Baumeister and his intrepid team braved volcanic peaks, caustic lagoons, dense tropical forests and lightning-strewn salt flats to capture the remarkable diversity of life and landscape found in the Andes Mountains. Traveling to six countries and covering more than 20,000 miles by off-road vehicle, they faced extreme challenges as they ventured to seldom explored locations in search of some of the world’s rarest creatures. THE WILD ANDES showcases this spectacular region and its animal inhabitants in striking detail with a new three-part series.
 
The Wild Andes
Courtesy of Light & Shadow/Smithsonian Channel

          THE WILD ANDES captures in ultra-high definition animal behaviors that have never been seen before, soaring aerials, stunning time-lapses and super slow-motion cinematography, bringing the little-known world of the Andes directly into viewers’ homes. The longest mountain chain in the world, the Andes stretch for more than 4,000 miles along the western edge of South America. From the tropical peaks of the Northern Andes shrouded in cloud forest to the ice fields of Patagonia, the Andes is a place of paradox and wonder, where extreme conditions have given rise to an extraordinary biodiversity with many species found nowhere else on Earth.
 
The Wild Andes
Courtesy of Light & Shadow GMBH/Smithsonian Channel
 
          In THE WILD ANDES, witness the clandestine birth of a vicuña fawn and enjoy front row seats to a puma’s successful hunt of guanaco. Descend into the murky depths of Lake Titicaca to discover the grotesque form of the rare Titicaca frog – a creature so well adapted to absorbing what little oxygen exists in the water, it has abandoned its lungs completely. Watch a family of highly endangered spectacled bears – the only bear species found in South America – as the mother leads her young cubs on a precarious climb in search of bromeliad plants. Marvel at 150 species of hummingbirds – some that can only be found in a single valley – and at thousands of flamingoes dancing in unison.
 
The Wild Andes
Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel
 
          The series premiere, PATAGONIA UNTAMED, visits the southern tip of South America, a region with terrain as varied as its weather. Here, vast glaciers, towering peaks, active volcanoes and prehistoric forests form the backdrop to the lives of scavenging condors, sly foxes and a mother puma trying to feed her hungry cubs. On the western flanks of these southern ranges lies the Valdivian rainforest, the southernmost rainforest in the world, home to a secret world of creatures found nowhere else. Here, the male Darwin’s frog nurtures its clutch of tadpoles in its throat, while a pair of pheromone-fueled Darwin’s stag beetles battle over a female 60 feet above the forest floor. 
 
The Wild Andes
Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel

Subsequent episodes of THE WILD ANDES are:
 
EXTREME SURVIVAL
Premieres Wednesday, November 14 at 8 PM
 
The Altiplano sits at more than 12,000 feet above sea level – a vast, treeless plateau with dangerously thin air, toxic soda lakes and weather that can turn at the drop of a hat. Facing conditions like these, only a few remarkable animals have developed the adaptations needed to survive in the Central Highlands. One such animal is the vicuña. These distant cousins of alpacas have evolved the finest fur on the planet and the most oxygen-rich blood of any known creature, ideal for enduring nights of sub-zero temperatures and breathtakingly high altitudes. Their world is not carefree, however, as they must be on constant alert for nearby foxes and pumas searching for their next kill.
 
LIFE IN THE CLOUDS
Premieres Wednesday, November 21 at 8 PM
 
In a northern stretch of the Andes, tectonic forces still active today coupled with powerful tropical downpours have carved sharp peaks and deep valleys, each one an isolated pocket of evolution that has given rise to 150 species of hummingbird. This is a world of snow-covered volcanoes bathed in glaring equatorial sun, and roaming their slopes is the only species of bear found in South America – the spectacled bear. High in the dense cloud forest lives the nocturnal olinguito, a fruit-eating relative of the raccoon. Olinguitos are so shy that they were only identified by scientists from the Smithsonian Institution in 2013 – it’s a rare feat to set eyes on this mysterious creature.
 


 
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