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NATURE: The Himalayas

Airs Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Himalayas in Nepal

Karakoram mountain range featured in "The Himalayas."
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Above: Karakoram mountain range featured in "The Himalayas."

Snow leopard featured in "The Himalayas."
Enlarge this image

Above: Snow leopard featured in "The Himalayas."

The highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayan range is far-reaching, spanning thousands of miles, and holds within it an exceptionally diverse ecology. Coniferous and subtropical forests, wetlands, and montane grasslands are as much a part of this world as the inhospitable, frozen mountaintops that tower above.

The word Himalaya is Sanskrit for “abode of snow” – fitting for a stretch of land that houses the world’s largest non-polar ice masses. Extensive glacial networks feed Asia’s major rivers including the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra.

More than a billion people rely on these glacier-fed water sources for drinking water and agriculture. The Himalayas are not only a remarkable expanse of natural beauty. They’re also crucial for our survival.

In "The Himalayas," NATURE explores the diversity of wildlife and habitats of this mountain chain starring the mysterious snow leopard. From Everest to the Tibetan Plateau, from the Gaumukh to the Ganges, this episode introduces us to a complex, interconnected natural world that continues to inspire, challenge and amaze the human race.

This program originally aired in 2011.

Past episodes of NATURE are available for online viewing. NATURE is on Facebook, and you can follow @PBSNature on Twitter.


The Himalayas: The Himalayan Bear and the Tibetan Fox

Above: The Himalayan Brown Bear and Tibetan Fox go around hunting as a team. High-altitude cooperation or is the wiley fox just trying to steal a pika from under the bear’s nose?


The Himalayas: The Himalayan Jumping Spider

Above: In this harsh world of ice and rock lives a little spider. It one of the highest living animals in the world — having been found at 22,000 ft.


NATURE: The Himalayas Preview