Sean Lee-Davies



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Episode 1: Dolphins

Lee-Davies returns to the waters of his native Hong Kong to learn more about the threats posed to the local population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. Their numbers are declining as climate change, water pollution and the large-scale engineering works in the Pearl River delta all contribute to the destruction of the dolphins’ habitat. But Hong Kong’s fabled pink cetaceans are not the only population of dolphins under threat, as Lee-Davies finds out when he visits Sri Lanka and discovers a related population of humpbacks on the brink of extinction.

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Episode 2: Diving with Whales

Embarking on his biggest adventure to date, Lee-Davies travels to the southernmost tip of Sri Lanka to free dive with the largest living organism on the planet, the blue whale. Despite restrictions on hunting, blue whales remain on the IUCN’s endangered list. Whales are highly susceptible to sonar and ocean pollution, and are now falling victim to ship strikes as increases in global maritime trade puts the giants of the deep on a collision course with merchant shipping. Blue whales are also at risk due to climate change: as the oceans warm, stocks of krill, the main food source of the whales, are being depleted. Find out if Lee-Davies can get close enough to these leviathans of the deep.

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Episode 3: Sumatra

Lee-Davies travels to the Leuser ecosystem, one of the last untouched wildernesses on the planet and the only place where tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans co-exist. This pristine biodiversity hotspot is under threat from illegal logging and the palm oil industry. Two-thirds of Indonesia’s rainforests have been burnt down to make way for this ‘liquid gold, which is found in up to 50% of supermarket pre-packaged goods. Lee-Davies investigates how we can stop the destruction of the last rainforests and also protect their endearing residents – the orangutans – who are not critically endangered and face extinction if the world doesn’t act.

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Episode 4: Big Cat Safari

Lee-Davies hits the safari trail in Africa and in Asia. In Kenya, he documents how the fastest land animal on the planet, the cheetah, could also be racing to extinction as its habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict take their toll on this beautiful but fragile big cat. He then visits Sri Lanka to find the elusive cousin of the cheetah, the Sri Lankan leopard. Classified as endangered by IUCN, the population is believed to be declining due to numerous threats, including poaching for the illegal wildlife trade and human-leopard conflicts. No sub-population of the Sri Lankan leopard is larger than 250 individuals. Lee-Davies will meet conservationists from the Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT), the main organisation helping to protect the leopard in Sri Lanka and see if he can photograph the stealthiest cat of them all in the wild.

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Episode 5: Turtles

Amongst the azure blue waters of the Solomon Islands are the Arnavon Islands, where a special conservation scheme is being run to protect the nesting sites of the critically endangered hawksbill turtle. Lee-Davies accompanies wildlife rangers as they patrol the islands for the arrival of female turtles looking to lay their eggs on the beaches. Lee-Davies assists the conservation effort by helping to catch and tag juvenile turtles in the wild, before documenting one of the most magical events of the natural world, the hatching of baby turtles!

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Episode 6: Climate Change

The Solomon Islands lies in the heart of the Coral Triangle in the western Pacific, dubbed the Amazon of the underwater world. And yet whole islands within the archipelago are disappearing due to rising sea levels as a result of global warming, causing entire villages to abandon the lands they have lived on for generations. Lee-Davies dives deep underwater to see for himself how rising sea temperatures and the increasing acidification of the oceans are affecting coral reefs, which in turn threatens the very existence of the dazzling variety of marine life on show in the waters here.