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The Four Alps
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The European Alps are amongst the most famous mountains on the face of the Earth. They dominate the continent, and they were to be the birthplace of modern mountaineering. The very word Alps has entered into world language. But there are four recognised Alpine regions in the world, not just the mountains that range across Europe. The Four Alps is the story of these great mountain ranges and the creatures which have come to live in them.



Writer & Director: Jeremy Hogarth
Camera: Terry Carlyon, Michael Dillon, Paul Donovan, Stephen Downes, Rolando Menardi, David Parer, Michael Schlamberger, Lukas Kogler
Edit: Lukas Kogler
Sound Edit: Lukas Kogler
Dubbing Mixer: Rupert Metnitzer, Raimund Sivetz
Music: Kurt Adametz

A co-production of ScienceVision, ORF, WDR, NDR Naturfilm, ABC Australia and Natural History New Zealand



For as long as there has been human memory we have been fascinated by mountains. They have been forced up by the mighty inner forces of the planet, but are worn down by the forces of wind and flowing water and ice, and by the greatest force of all - time. And we have been fascinated too by those creatures which live in the mountains, at the very edge of creation.


On the Japanese island of Honshu the mountain spine which runs along it are also known as the Alps. The South Island of New Zealand is also known for its Alps, which dominate the west coast and are the youngest of the world’s Alpine regions.


But the oldest Alps of all are found in Australia. Just a remnant now of what they once were, but a reminder of how mountains also fade away with the inevitable passing of time.


Wolves are returning to the European Alps, otters hunt in the fast flowing rivers and the mighty golden eagle soars above its peaks. On the rocky precipices Ibex and Chamoix live precarious lives, perhaps forced to move to the extremes by the predators which once hunted them, and may yet again.


In the far north of the island of Honshu the Japanese macaque, the snow monkey, is the northernmost monkey on Earth, the only primate which has adapted to survive the harsh and long winters of snow and ice.


New Zealand has the only parrot which lives not just above the snowline but also the tree line, the remarkable Kea. But this is a parrot with a dark side to its nature, a parrot which has learnt to become a predator.


The Australian Alps are the remnants of ancient mountains but also the distant future of the other Alpine ranges. These are low in comparison, worn away by the forces or erosion and time. Marsupials, like the wombat and wallabies, have adapted to live amidst snow when it falls, for in Australia the winters are brief.


Even the unique platypus swims in the streams and rivers fed by the Alps, and sometimes even it must endure winter ice.


The Four Alps is the story of time: of how mountains are born from the inner violence of the Earth, thrust up to dominate the land for millions upon millions of years, but inevitably will fade away with the ceaseless erosion of time.


And as the mountains fade away into the future and new mountains are born, who knows what new species will evolve to live amidst their distant peaks?



Fotos: Copyright by ScienceVision

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