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Wonders of Mexico Previous Broadcasts

Burning North (Episode #103)

KQED Plus: Tue, Jul 9, 2019 -- 4:00 PM

Northern Mexico is dominated by two great deserts; the Sonoran and Chihuahuan. In this film, we'll unravel the forces that have created this arid world, and discover that for the animals living here, overcoming the conditions can bring rich rewards. In Central Northern Mexico are vast prairies that gave rise to the cowboy culture, and still provide a refuge for extensive colonies for charming black tailed prairie dogs and one of Mexico's rarest animals, the aplomado falcon. Beyond the prairies is the Chihuahuan desert. Bigger than Montana it hides one of Mexico's greatest natural wonders. The valley of Cuatrocienegas is full of natural springs that are home to many species of fish found nowhere else on earth. West of the Chihuahuan desert, the forests covering the Sierra Madre Occidentalis are a refuge for wild chillies called Chiltepin. First cultivated in Mexico over 6000 years ago, it gave rise to thousands of varieties we eat today. In the foothills to the west, the Sonoran Desert is home to forests of iconic saguaro cactus that support a rich community of animals, In the day, ferruginous pygmy owls find refuge in old woodpecker nests and at night pallid bats emerge to hunt their favourite prey; scorpions. The Sonoran Desert stretches into the Gulf of California, where the desert island of Isla San Pedro Martir is home to side blotched lizards who survive against the odds by eating the scraps left by nesting seabirds.

Mountain Worlds (Episode #102)

KQED Plus: Tue, Jul 2, 2019 -- 4:00 PM

Mexico is a vast country, dominated by a great chain of mountains, the Sierra Madre. Journey down this rocky spine and you'll discover an amazing diversity of life and culture. In the far north, secret mountains worlds provide a stronghold for Mexico's black bears, while a violent tectonic past has created the grandest canyon of them all -- the Copper Canyon. These spectacular vistas have been home to the Raramuri for over two thousand years, shaping their life in this precipitous landscape. Travel south and the temperate and tropics collide. Magical oak forests thrive alongside orchids, creating a paradise for orchid bees. Mexico's volcanic heartland is home to restless giants. Their ash helps fertilize the soils, making this one of the most productive and inhabited regions of the country. Mexico's famous export, Tequila, is produced in the shadow of these ancient volcanoes. Great civilizations rose and fell here too, leaving behind abandoned temples for a band of coatis to make their home. In the far south, the Sierra Madre catches moisture coming in from the Pacific Ocean. Rich cloud forests host some rare creatures, including one worshipped by the Aztecs -- the resplendent quetzal. Some of Mexico's mountain worlds are so inviting they compel creatures to journey thousands of miles to reach them. Every year millions of monarch butterflies overwinter in the fir forests of central Mexico. Their arrival coincides with Mexico's most spectacular festival -- the Day of the Dead.

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