Best Zoo Documentaries

Earl Hamilton
• Monday, 11 January, 2021
• 8 min read

The Pod Volunteer team love documentaries on all topics and sharing our latest finds with each other. From the very first minute the incredible footage, using the latest camera technology, whisks you away to lands you could only imagine.

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The series takes you to 50 countries in all corners of the world to watch spectacular natural events from the ice caps to the Amazon jungle to the Namib Desert. It’s a stark reminder of how the sheer beauty and wonder of the world is increasingly becoming an unstable balance due to our daily actions.

Tagline: Take a deep breath Released: 2017-18 Synopsis: Following on from The Blue Planet which was released in 2001, this series explores the oceans further, venturing deeper to unseen areas of the ocean and capturing the incredible life of our sea creatures. The astonishing footage caught by the dedicated filmmaking team can’t fail to enchant audiences around the world.

The final episode powerfully illustrates the true scale of the impact that plastic pollution is having on our planet. It has captivated audiences so much so that it’s even inspired its own social movement #blueplaneteffect to tackle the plastic waste issue in our oceans.

The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth, now depends on us.” Sir David Attenborough, Presenter, Naturalist (and absolute legend)! It reports on the capture and training methods used to take orcas from the wild and create a “routine” to entertain the public.

The park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet, and is home to the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas. The rangers are fighting to protect the park from war, poaching, and the threat of oil exploration.

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Tagline : A world without the ocean, is a world without us Released : 2014 Synopsis : Mission Blue is about legendary oceanographer, marine biologist, environmentalist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle, and her campaign to create a global network of protected marine sanctuaries. With oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Sylvia and an environmental dream team race around the world trying to defend her 'Hope Spots'.

Its first episode received over 12 million viewers in the UK (the highest viewing figures on record for a nature documentary at the time). The series explored varying habitats and the wildlife that call it home from mountains to islands, jungles to deserts, and grasslands to cities.

Quote : It's surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth Sir David Attenborough, Presenter, Naturalist (and absolute legend)! This industry is a huge problem and last year alone over 800 captive lions were shot in South Africa.

You can read about why Pod Volunteer do not offer projects with lion cubs here. For the chick to survive, both parents must make multiple grueling journeys between the ocean and the breeding grounds over the ensuing months.

It highlights the shocking truth of dolphin hunting and how dolphins are caught for aquariums and marine parks around the world and how those which aren’t the right size or gender to perform for entertainment are slaughtered and sold for meat, even though they contain dangerous levels of mercury which could cause poisoning. Focussing on the two main global drives towards extinction, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species; international wildlife trade and oil and gas.

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Quote : “T he whole world is singing, clicking, grinding, whistling, and thumping... but we've stopped listening.” Christopher W. Clark, Senior Scientist Awards include : Nominated for Best Documentary at the Sun dance Film Festival. Tagline : Make the connection Released : 2005 Synopsis : Earthlings examines humanity’s total dependence on, and abuse of, animals for economic purposes.

Using undercover filming techniques, it exposes the practices of some of the largest industries in the world. By analogy with racism and sexism, species ism is a prejudice or attitude or bias in favor of the interests of the members of one's own species and against those of members of other species.” Joaquin Phoenix, Narrator Awards include : Won Best Documentary Feature at the Activist Film Festival.

We're all on thin ice Released : 2006 Synopsis : An Inconvenient Truth sees Al Gore giving a lecture, which he has in his own words, given a thousand times before. It accomplishes what all great films should; leaving the viewer shaken, involved and inspired.

If these have inspired you to get involved, and you’d like to volunteer to support animal welfare and conservation initiatives, you can learn more about the projects we offer here: There’s plenty magnificence and tragedy to marvel at on our planet, without the need to invent fantasy worlds.

The first consists of breathtakingly beautiful footage, which celebrates the wonder of life, nature and animal behavior. This French documentary, made by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennial, is an intimate look at the lives of insects and other small invertebrates. The original title was Microcosms: Le people DE l’here (Microcosms: The grass people) and it’s an 80-minute journey through this miniature world.

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The exquisite photography and dramatic score puts these often overlooked creatures at center stage. This hard-hitting reportage reveals a grim world of exhaustive fishing, local poverty and the arms trade.

It follows a group of emperor penguins on their Antarctic journey, across frozen tundra, to traditional breeding grounds. Samsara is a Sanskrit word meaning “the ever turning wheel of life”, a concept which forms the basis of this spectacular documentary by Ron Cricket and Mark Madison.

Samsara dispenses with dialogue and narration, but combines images and music, giving the film a uniquely meditative quality. It transports the viewer across borders, exploring the sacred temples, industrialized areas and natural wonders of 25 different countries.

“In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Vicuna National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas.” In this inspirational true story, we follow a small team of park rangers and witness their efforts to protect the home of the last mountain gorillas from armed militias poachers.

Now, the list wouldn’t be complete without some mention of a BBC Natural History Unit production. Along with broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough, they have led the way in nature documentaries for the past few decades.

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Attenborough’s latest series Blue Planet II came out last year and was a huge success. SHOPCUSHIONS / £28.00–£33.00 Size: 45 cm x 45 cm Bring a taste of the wild home with you, as each animal presents their own unique character in this rather amusing collection of Zoo Portrait cushions.

As part of a worldwide conservation effort, scientists at the National Zoo breed endangered species for the purpose of re-introducing them to nature. The National Zoo is truly a park full of wild animals, but it is also a reminder that humans don’t rule the earth; we share it.

But if you can't make it to the woods or your nearby parks, or if you'd prefer to shelter in place a little while longer to protect yourself and your family, you can still celebrate our beautiful planet from the comfort of your own home thanks to a growing selection of nature-themed programming, some of which focuses on protecting the planet from humanity's harmful influence on the natural world. These are not the boring nature documentaries of middle school either; many are educational, yes, but through groundbreaking advances in technology, many more are also breathtaking works of art that take you to far-flung locales to experience the area's flora and wildlife.

So check out the documentaries and series below and remember to keep doing your part to protect and care for yourselves but also this strange planet we call home. The Emmy-winning series, the first of the BBC docs to be filmed in high-definition, celebrates the variety of life on Earth by taking viewers around the world to visit different habitats and the creatures who call them home.

The series left Netflix at the end of last year ahead of the launch of Discovery's upcoming SOD service, but you can rent or purchase episodes through Amazon Prime. BBC America is also airing a marathon of Planet Earth II beginning Wednesday, April 22 at 3 p.m.

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The programs go beneath the rippling surface of Earth's oceans to explore, in high-definition, the mysteries of the deep and the creatures who call these waters home. But it's not all fun and weird fish: Blue Planet II also carefully highlights the harmful effects humans have on Earth's waters.

The Emmy-winning documentary, written by Brett Morgan, features more than 100 hours of never-before-seen footage originally shot by Goodall's late ex-husband, the famed wildlife photographer Hugo van La wick, which was thought to have been lost until a few years ago, and focuses on the very beginnings of Goodall's research, which has allowed her to become one of the world's most admired conservationists. The two-hour special picks up where Jane left off and follows Goodall through her travels and chronicles her determination to spread a message of hope.

Depicting her transformation from scientist to inspirational activist, the film also features an extensive collection of footage and photographs that span more than seven decades. Bhutto spent almost two years with wild turkey chicks after the birds imprinted on him and believed he was their mother, and the journey he goes on involves more than learning about their behavior.

The craziest part of all this is that his experiment is re-created for the documentary, which provides darling visuals as Bhutto recounts what happened. Disney+ is home to a lot of great nature programming thanks to National Geographic, and if you're looking for something that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face, the rockeries Unlikely Animal Friends is exactly what you're looking for.

But in the documentary The Biggest Little Farm, self-righteousness and hipster woke culture isn't the star; nature in all her splendid beauty is. This stunning documentary manages to capture the power of life with incredible footage of flora and fauna, and the positive impact that humans can have, for a change, as the duo transforms neglected acreage into a thriving ecosystem where every animal big and small plays a part.

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Featuring insightful but pointed commentary about why these environments are all worth saving, the series is aided by an unflinching look at the ways in which Earth has been damaged by our own hands. Netflix's Absurd Planet is not one of those boring series with monotonous voice over that puts you to sleep, nor is it a calming doc with an Kenya soundtrack that will make you dream of taking exotic vacations.

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1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metta_World_Peace