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Wild Burma: Nature’s Lost Kingdom

Fri Nov 29, 9-10pm, BBC2

Episode one
Ninety-five per cent of south-east Asian forests have already been destroyed, which is why saving this stretch in western Burma is vital. Wildlife filmmakers Gordon Buchanan and Justine Evans, joined by biologist Ross Piper, have two months to prove to the Burmese government that a diverse variety of species live and thrive within the land and need to be protected.

In this first episode of a three-part series, they’re looking for the Asian elephant. They’re apparently ‘notoriously grumpy’, although the footage captured by the trio shows the lumbering mammals to be curious and mischievous. It’s heartening to see them sniffing the cameras and playing in mud, but don’t settle in for an hour of sweetness, because there’s also disturbing footage of animal cruelty. One quarter of the entire elephant population in Burma is kept in captivity and treated in ways that’ll turn your stomach.

‘Wild Burma’ may not be easy-going throughout, but it’s an illuminating watch that’ll open minds to a part of the world’s wildlife that until now has rarely been seen, let alone considered.