Earth Touch

Cheetahs of the Deep

1 x 60'

The Canary Islands are sheltered by a mild climate, protected from any extremes of weather.

But high up on the towering mountains, the conditions can turn treacherous. In winter, water is released by high altitude storms and fertilized by nutrients washed from the soil. As this drains into the sea the soupy waters around the islands attract a huge variety of life, drawn in from the vast Atlantic ocean. Many whale and dolphin species congregate in these waters, but above all short-finned pilot whales are found here in vast numbers.

Isora is the leader and matriarch of one of the largest resident pilot whale pods between Tenerife and La Gomera and we document her activities over a one year period. Several females and their offspring form the hard-core of this close-knit society where all the main family members are related to the mother. Males in the pod also play a role, but not in reproduction, as they are blood relatives. With their vow of chastity, they ensure the protection of newborns and juveniles — a long-term investment
which is crucial for pod survival.

Physical contact is important for the whales and the film reveals moving and rarely-seen interaction between the older pod members and the new arrivals. But this carefree innocence is undermined by harrowing footage of the effect plastic waste is having on the whales and other species. Large squid are the pilot whales’ preferred food source and the best feeding grounds lie a thousand metres deep. But they are masters of deep diving and are involved in titantic battles with the squid on a daily basis.

As the mothers give birth we examine the close bonds between the new arrivals and the pod, and how the whales deal with the tragic death of one of the calves.

Thisfilm also looks at other whale and dolphin species which frequent the area, including the rarely seen Risso’s dolphin, Brydes Whales and Atlantic Spotted Dolphins. Green sea turtles also frequent the area, attracted by the rich sea-grass beds which surround the islands.

Filmed in stunning HD, this film delivers a comprehensive portrait of a unique and protected underwater haven, one of Europe’s last frontiers before the mysterious deep Atlantic takes hold.

For more details and full episode screening links, please contact:
Sam Thompson
Head of Rights Sales
+44 (0) 207 332 9716


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