Originally published February 10, 2011 at 12:49 p.m., updated May 23, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.
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.