Amur- Asia’s Amazon
This is a visual and dramatic journey of discovery along the mighty Amur River, an expedition into a lost and exotic world. The journey is divided into three episodes, each reflecting the changing face of the landscape and its wildlife. Every episode captures the character of a particular territory, with self-contained stories of the natural world and its exotic diversity. The series also gives context by its insights into the traditional communities of humans who have learned to survive in such a remote and harsh environment.
Part 1: Into The Shadowlands
The Amur’s coastal delta is one of the richest ecosystems on earth. Nourished by the mighty river’s enormous sediment load, the Sea of Okhotsk is a marine hotspot of biodiversity with arctic and subtropical species living side by side. Likewise, the land of Russia’s Far East is a unique meeting place of northern and southern plants and animals, boasting the planet’s most diverse woodlands. These wildwoods are still inhabited by Amur tigers, Asian black bears, brown bears, Siberian and Sika deer, sables and otters and countless species of wetland birds. And they are home to traditional forest and river cultures like the Udeghe and Nanai. The Pacific rim is both the end and the beginning of the Amur River system: It’s the massive monsoon clouds the Pacific sends inland which keep the thousand tributaries of the Amur flowing.
Part 2: The Black Dragon
The middle course of the Amur which is called Heilong-jian or Black Dragon River in China, runs through ancient Manchuria and forms a natural border between China and Russia. Until recently, this was a restricted military zone – restricted for humans but a blessing to wildwoods, wetlands and wildlife. The border between the super-powers is also the reason why the river’s flow remains uninterrupted by dams – an exceptional situation on this planet. Primeval forests and sprawling wetlands offer habitats to rare species like the Manchurian crane and several of its relatives, white-tailed eagles, soft-shelled Chinese turtles, giant sturgeon and Siberian taimen, Amur leopards and tigers. The Amur’s wetlands are among the world’s major habitats of migrant birds, with hundreds of thousands of white-breasted geese, bean and swan geese and a hundred other species resting and nesting in inland deltas that rival Florida’s Everglades and the Amazon
Part 3: Khans Kingdom
Moving upstream into Mongolia, the itinerary of the series leaves behind the boreal woodland wilderness of China’s extreme North and Siberia’s south to follow the Amur’s two westernmost tributaries across the planet’s vastest wild grasslands. These twin rivers are the Amur’s headwaters. Although they spring from the same mountain – the birthplace and burial ground of Genghis Khan – and then join to form the Amur River, they are an unequal pair, reacting differently to long-term climatic cycles – the rhythmic expansion and contraction of the Gobi desert.