‘Frozen Planet’ on Discovery Channel ‘Summer’ Recap

“Frozen Planet” in the Arctic and Antarctic, the sun never sets. A family of polar bears with two six-month-old cubs begins its first swimming lesson. As the sea ice is now liquid, they must learn quickly to survive. A lone male polar bear has a harder time finding food in summer because the seals are better able to swim to freedom in the water.

As the Arctic ice is retreating, snowy owls find lemmings to feed their babies who still have their fuzzy feathers. Although they are growing, other birds of prey are on the lookout for the owlets, and on the now-thawed tundra, the snowy owls have a harder time hiding.

The white wolves have a harder time in summer, too. Their pups were born in the spring and now need more food. They have outgrown the taste of small rodents, and larger prey is now required. A herd of muskoxen are spotted, but they are much harder to overpower a 900-pound musk ox weighing six times with wolves’ weight. A calf is spotted by the two wolves, and immediately the wolves descend on the baby. The herd fends off the wolves and forms a circle around the wounded calf. The wolves will not eat musk ox today.

Beluga whales make their way through the melted ice in the Canadian Northwest as they make their yearly journey. The month-old baby beluga is gray and will not turn white until five years old. Belugas mate in the spring, and the large number of females in the pod are already carrying calves. Their travel at this time is more for a spa treatment, as they scrape the bottom of the shallows against the rocks to slough off their dead skin because they are the only whales that molt in summer. Their spa treatments cannot last long, as the waters will freeze again soon and they must head south to complete their journey.

The fur seals take advantage of the summer on South Georgia Island to come to land to give birth and regenerate their population. Each dominant male guard a harem of about fifteen cows and often must fight for possession of his females. King penguins also take possession of the island during the summer, and often the weather gets so hot that animals get heatstroke. To avoid heatstroke, they frolic in the water because there is no night during the summer.

Two bull muskoxen fight over the harem of females, just as the walrus and fur seals must do. But as summer wanes, most animals head south, while the muskoxen remain on the tundra of the “Frozen Planet.”

Photo of Beluga Whale: Wikimedia Photo of Muskoxen: Wikimedia

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