For the first time in over 50 years, a team of wildlife film-makers from the BBC's Natural History Unit and scientists from the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution has been granted ... See full summary »
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2013  

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...  Narrator 3 episodes, 2013
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For the first time in over 50 years, a team of wildlife film-makers from the BBC's Natural History Unit and scientists from the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution has been granted access to venture deep into Burma's impenetrable jungles. Their mission is to discover whether these forests are home to iconic animals, rapidly disappearing from the rest of the world - this expedition has come not a moment too soon. Written by Enzedder

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tv mini series | See All (1) »

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29 November 2013 (UK)  »

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Expeditie Birma  »

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An interesting look at a nature survey in a previously closed country
13 May 2018 | by See all my reviews

This three part documentary follows a group of scientists as they try to discover what animals are to be found in Burma's vast forests. As the country had been virtually closed to outsiders since independence fifty years previously they are uncertain what they will find but hope to discover previously unknown species. That isn't their priority though; what they really want to do is prove the presence of certain high profile endangered species that might help persuade the Burmese government that these forests need protecting. Each episode concentrates on searches for specific species; in the first they are looking for Asian Elephants, in the second they are looking for Sun Bears, Clouded Leopards and Asian Golden Cats and in the final instalment they are looking for Tigers. In each case finding individuals isn't enough; they are determined to prove that the creatures are breeding.

There are plenty of documentaries that give us stunning pictures of creatures that most of us could only dream of seeing in the wild but this isn't one of them... deliberately so. Instead we see the various scientists' efforts to find there creatures; this means spending hours in remote hides, sometimes up trees; placing numerous camera traps and trudging through miles of jungle. We do see a side variety of species in what appears to be unspoilt forest; there are also signs of threats to the forests with loggers and illegal hunters operating in the area.

I really enjoyed this series; it shone a light on nature in an area not previously shown but more importantly showed just how hard it is to find many animals even in areas they should be doing well. Watching most nature programmes one might be forgiven for thinking you just have to turn up and see them! The scientists may not have been trained TV presenters but they were engaging and their passion for the work was infectious. As well as animals we are shown some stunning scenery and the importance of the forests to the local populations. The only slightly disappointing fact was that when the series was aired again there was no update to say whether or not the discoveries had affected Burmese government policy towards the protection of the forests... even an added voice-over would have sufficed. Overall though this was a very interesting nature documentary with a difference.


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