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The Wild Andes

The Wild Andes

  • Premiered: 
    November 7, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Smithsonian
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Nature
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Plot Synopsis

THE WILD ANDES is a one-hour documentary series that highlights the natural beauty and inhabitants of the Andes, the longest mountain chain on the planet, born from volcanic fire 25 million years ago. Pushed upwards by huge tectonic forces, they continue to rise, creating new landscapes and new habitats for a diverse variety of creatures. Explore the mountains' extremes and celebrate the animals that call it home on a 4,000-mile journey along the western edge of South America, from icy Southern Patagonia to the oxygen-deprived Altiplano plateau to the northern tropical Andes.

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. Captured in ultra-high definition, this series captures animal behaviors that have never been seen before, soaring aerials, stunning time-lapses, and super slow-motion cinematography. THE WILD ANDES highlights the clandestine birth of a vicuna fawn; a puma's successful hunt of guanaco; the rare Titicaca frog -- a creature so well adapted to absorbing what little oxygen exists in the water in the murky depths of Lake Titicaca, it has abandoned its lungs completely; 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; 150 species of hummingbirds -- some that can only be found in a single valley; thousands of flamingoes dancing in unison; and much more.

The series opener, "Patagonia Untamed," focuses on the southern end of the Andes -- in the remote reaches of Patagonia, -- where everything must adapt to constant upheaval, invasion, and explosive change. 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. Cold winds swirl around the Torres del Paine, while one of the most southerly rainforests in the world bursts with natural treasures. 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.
On Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT, Smithsonian Channel premiered "Life in the Clouds," the finale of THE WILD ANDES. In the northern Andes, towering mountains straddle the equator. The contrast between icy peaks and tropical forests has created one of the most diverse collection of creatures on the planet. Explore the northerly part of the world's longest mountain chain, from the breathless heights of the paramo to the dank world of the cloud forest to the dry forests in the foothills. Discover the unique species that call this land of extremes home, including poison frogs, spectacled bears, and nearly 150 different types of hummingbirds.

Production & Distribution

  • In association with NDR Naturfilm