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On DVD/VOD: November 29, 2005
1h 25m |
Each winter, alone in the Antarctica, a truly remarkable journey takes place as it has done for millennia. Thousands of Emperor penguins abandon the deep blue security of their ocean home and clamber onto the frozen ice to begin their long journey into a region so bleak, so extreme, it supports no other wildlife at this time of year. In single file, the penguins march blinded by blizzards, buffeted by gale force winds.
They head for their traditional breeding ground where - after a ritual courtship of intricate dances and delicate maneuvering, accompanied by a cacophony of ecstatic song - they will pair off into monogamous couples and mate. The females remain long enough only to lay a single egg. The males are left behind to guard and hatch the precious eggs, which they cradle at all times on top of their feet. Subjected to subzero temperatures and the terrible trials of the polar winter, they face great dangers.
After two months during which the males eat nothing, the eggs begin to hatch. The chicks can not survive for long on their fathers' limited food reserves. If their mothers are late returning from the ocean with food, the newly-hatched young will die.
Once the families are reunited, the roles reverse, the mothers remaining with their new young while their mates head, exhausted and starved, for the sea, and food. As the weather grows warmer and the ice floes crack and melt, the adults march many hundreds of miles over some of the most treacherous territory on Earth, until the chicks are ready to take their first faltering dive into the deep blue waters of the Antarctic.