National Geographic : 1994 Mar
On Television Life Cycles of the Cold and Famished H eir to extremes, this emperor penguin chick survived what common sense would label impossible. From the open sea, its mother and other emperors walk across the sea ice to their traditional rookeries. As the long dark winter approaches, each female lays a sin gle egg directly on the ice. A special three-hour-long EXPLORER show hosted by Sir David Attenborough and copro duced with the BBC, "Life in the Freezer" offers an unprecedented look at animals living through the seasons and trials of Antarctica. To hatch and protect a new life there demands exceptional dedica tion, as the male emperor proves. The mother retreats to the sea to feed, but he incubates the egg for two months. Expectant fathers huddle together by the hundreds, enduring hurricane-force winds and temperatures as low as minus 70°F. When the females return at hatch ing time, they bring food-but only for the chicks. The males' job of incubating is finished. Now, all but starved, they must waddle perhaps a hundred miles or more to the open ocean. The chicks fledge in the spring, which increases their chance of survival. As the film reveals, there is much more to Antarctica than penguins as parents. Filming the teeming sea life demanded rugged remote video cameras and tough human divers. "The divers did great things under the ice in the middle of winter and in the high seas," says Attenborough. In one dangerous sequence a diver swims with a leopard seal-a fierce predator-as it hunts penguins. From humpback whales to lichen-dwelling insects, "Life in the Freezer" presents an astonishing world apart, where humans will always be out of their element. "Life in the Freezer" airs Monday, March 14, at 8:05 p.m. ET, on a special presentation of EXPLORER, TBS Superstation. ART WOLFE, ALLSTOCK NATIONALGEOGRAPHICEXPLORERAIRS ON TBSSUPERSTATION,SUNDAYSAT 9 P.M . ET. NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSPECIALSAIR ON PBS; CHECKLOCALLISTINGS. FOR INFORMATIONON NATIONALGEOGRAPHICVIDEOS, CALL1-800-343-6610, MONDAYTHROUGHFRIDAY,8 A.M . TO 5 P.M. ET, IN THE U. S. AND CANADAONLY.