Planet Earth Two: Episode Two (Mountains) – Sophie Gregson

Planet Earth Two: Episode Two (Mountains) – Sophie Gregson

Planet Earth Two: Episode Two (Mountains)

Guest Blog by: Sophie Gregson

There are only fourteen mountains on earth that are over eight thousand metres tall and they are all located in the Himalayas. Lethally cold and scarred by blizzard they are among the most hostile places on Earth, only a few specially evolved animals are able to survive here. Snow leopards are one of the free animals able to survive here, in order to do that they have had to adapt both their behaviour and their bodies. Life at extreme altitudes has shaped some of the toughest animals on the planet.

Snow Leopard

The mountains of the Arabian Pensinsula are only a fraction of the height of the Himalayas however this doesn’t mean they aren’t as equally hostile: they are mind boggling steep making it nearly impossible to get a foothold in some places. The Nubia ibex have decided to make the hostile environment their home, they use the steepest cliffs to raise their young. The steep cliffs mean the young are far out of reach of any predators, however these steep slopes can cause issues for the young. The slopes are so steep there is no standing water available, in order to source water the ibex family must travel down three hundred metres into the valley. The mother’s goes first selecting what route is safest for her young, the mothers may be accomplished mountaineers but the young are still trying to get the hang of the extremely steep slopes. Just like humans the Nubia Ibex feel the need to protect and provide for their young. Mothers just like the Nubia Ibex will seek out the best possible place to raise their young somewhere that can give their children security and access to resources even if they have to travel a certain distance mothers will do this to protect their off spring. They both share a sense of responsibility and the need to protect.


The highest peaks in Europe are the alps, during winter food is scarce here. The golden eagle will spend every daylight hour searching the mountains for food. She can search over one hundred kilometres in just one day, she can spot prey from over three kilometres away making her a deadly predator. Her biggest worry when finding found is other golden eagles, a find such as a dead fox can attract eagles for miles if she wishes to eat she must fight for it. Only the strongest eagle will win the fight to eat. This shows that when times get tough the animal world and human world are alike, some people will see it as a free for all. During our time with covid 19 has been a clear example of how people can be selfish and end up hoarding food they do not need. Leaving the vulnerable to suffer, it’s every time you go into a supermarket trying to get one packet of pasta or a bar of soap and it’s impossible to find any. Just like the animals we have been fighting each other for food and basic necessities to survive, with some people literally fighting each other.

Golden Eagle

Grizzly bears descend into the valleys where spring comes earliest, the rockies seasonal change is swift and dramatic turning from white to green in just a few days. The good times do not last in these mountains so the bears are forced to feed as fast as they can. During this time the mother bear teaches her young valuable skills such as how to remove their thick winter coat. Humans don’t have this need however just like the bears parents must also teach their children valuable life skills such as self hygiene, which is just as important and similar to a bear shedding its unclean thick winter coat.

Marion Vollborn/

It might seem difficult to comprehend how the animal world and human world are similar considering there is a vast amount of differences. But one thing that tends to co exist in both the animal world and human world is the love and sense of responsibility we all have for our families. Clearly demonstrated within the ibex family and the grizzly bear family, they have this maternal instinct to want to teach and protect their young just like human mothers.

Another similarity is that no matter how much us humans evolve when the going gets tough and our family is threatened we still have our survival instincts. The need to hoard food and literally fight for the best quality stuff available leaving the vulnerable and weak to suffer shows that deep down inside we are still animals.

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