Densely pop­u­lated and with lit­tle true wilder­ness, Europe chal­lenges wildlife to find a space along­side hu­mans.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - SEVEN WORLDS | ONE PALNET -

Europe is a crowded place. It is the sec­ond-smallest con­ti­nent, cov­er­ing about 6.8 per cent of the Earth’s land sur­face, but has the third largest hu­man pop­u­la­tion after Asia and Africa, the two largest con­ti­nents. Hu­mans ar­rived in south­ern Europe from Africa at least 210,000 years ago, if re­cent re­search is cor­rect, but peo­ple did not be­gin to have a pro­found ef­fect on the land un­til after the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. Rivers would have been one rea­son. As the ice sheets re­treated, an­cient peo­ples mi­grated, set­tled and farmed along Europe’s many rivers, which meant the con­ti­nent filled up with peo­ple and it was changed rad­i­cally, leav­ing less space for the wildlife that was mi­grat­ing north­wards too.

Call of the mild

Today, the close prox­im­ity of the At­lantic Ocean dom­i­nates Europe’s cli­mate. The warm wa­ters of the Gulf Stream and as­so­ci­ated cur­rents mean that the cli­mate is not ex­treme, es­pe­cially in Western

Europe, but mild and gen­er­ally wet, with ice-free coasts even to the north of the Arc­tic Cir­cle.

It was in the north that the Europe team was able to cap­ture one of its most ex­cit­ing se­quences – the head­bang­ing fights of male musk oxen. At first, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Jonny Keel­ing was not con­vinced.

“I went to film musk ox for Planet Earth, but never got the fight, so when the Europe team said they wanted to film musk oxen fight­ing, I was slightly wary. But they filmed a fan­tas­tic bat­tle in the end.”

Ibe­rian lynx once roamed through­out Spain, Por­tu­gal and parts of south­ern France. There are now hope­ful signs of its recovery.

Gyro-sta­bilised gim­bals en­abled the crew to bring the mayfly emer­gence on Hun­gary’s Tisza River to life.

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