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NATURE: White Falcon, White Wolf

Airs Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

This film follows the perilous parenthood of two species — white gyrfalcons a...

Credit: ©Mark Smith

Above: This film follows the perilous parenthood of two species — white gyrfalcons and Arctic wolves — on Canada’s remote Ellesmere Island, where winter lasts nine months and raising young in such a hostile environment is a daily struggle. Pictured: A white wolf.

On Canada’s remote Ellesmere Island, where June is spring, July is summer and August is already autumn, the race is on for two remarkable species to raise their families.

The white gyrfalcon is enormous, the largest and most powerful falcon in the world. Yet last summer, the nesting falcon pair on the island failed to raise any young. The rare Arctic wolves rely on every member of the pack to chase and bring down the prey that keep them alive. Last year was good for them and they raised three cubs.

But for the wolves and the falcons, as well for as the snowy owls, musk oxen, lemmings, Arctic foxes and hares who share this fragile ecosystem with them, fortunes are always precarious. What will happen this year? Read entries from the field diary of professional explorer Jim McNeill, written during the expedition on Ellesmere Island in preparation for the filming of "White Falcon, White Wolf."

The film premiered October 26, 2008.

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Video Excerpt: Nature: White Falcon, White Wolf

Watch a video clip from "Nature: White Falcon, White Wolf." Gyrfalcons are the worlds largest and most powerful falcons. Yet even for them, the pressure is on. Last summer this pair's two chicks died of starvation. The father gyrfalcon hasn't brought home enough food, and the mother is getting worried. Taking matters into her own talons, the mother falcon decides to leave the cliffs and go on the hunt. For more information about this program, visit the website.

Preview: Nature: White Falcon, White Wolf

Extending above the Arctic Circle in the far north of Canada, Ellesmere Island is one of largest untouched wildernesses on the planet. Here, the animals have only three short months to raise offspring and prepare for the winter. To succeed, their timing must be just right. "White Falcon, White Wolf" follows two families, a breeding pair of gyrfalcons and a pack of Arctic wolves. As nine months of snow and ice melt away, flowers bloom, young are born, and the struggle begins.

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