Nature's Wonderland | India


Living Root Bridge, Meghalaya, photo by Ben Southwell.

Nature’s Wonderland | India airs on WSKG-TV on September 28, 2016 at 10 p.m.

How does a country with a population of more than a billion people still have room for such a huge range of wildlife?

Wildlife expert Liz Bonnin has had a passion for India from the moment she first set foot there. Actor Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”) grew up there, and she understands the deep bond between Indians and their natural world. Mountaineer Jon Gupta has climbed throughout the Himalayas, and he’s summitted Everest, but he’s never climbed in India. All three share a common bond: Their families come from India. This land is in their blood.

Now they want to share India’s natural wonders.

This is India as you’ve never seen it before. These are wildlife encounters with a surprisingly wide diversity of animals. Liz witnesses the noisiest wildlife gathering she’s ever seen as tens of thousands of demoiselle cranes descend on the desert village of Khichan. Freida has a close encounter with a baby elephant that is just a few weeks old, and Jon meets one of the smallest animals in the mountains, but also one of the most important.

India is a land full of spectacle. Every morning in winter the desert town of Khichan is invaded by thousands of demoiselle cranes. They are drawn here by the food the villagers provide. Liz can hardly believe the number of birds involved and the order with which they set about feeding. As a wildlife spectacle it’s hard to beat. As a performer Freida can’t resist visiting the mask makers who make colorful animal masks to bring ancient tales to life. Mountaineer Jon is impressed at the sure-footedness of tahr; these goats are the ultimate mountain dwellers able to deal with even the most precipitous slopes in their search for food.