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A fjord in the Utria National Natural Park on the Pacific Coast of Colombia.
Courtesy of Cosmos Factory
A fjord in the Utria National Natural Park on the Pacific Coast of Colombia.

Saturdays, Aug. 12 and Aug. 19, 2023 at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on KPBS 2 / Stream now with KPBS Passport! + Encore Thursdays, Aug. 17 and 24 at 8 a.m. on KPBS 2

COLOMBIA – WILD AND FREE features spectacular photography of wildlife and magnificent landscapes. This two-part series visits Colombia, a land of breathtaking beauty and mysterious legends like El Dorado, a lost city of gold that adventurous explorers searched to find for centuries. Some of Colombia’s real treasures are the rainforests along the Amazon River, the vast plains in the East, the majestic mountains of the Andes and the wild coasts of the Pacific Ocean.


For decades, many of Colombia’s wild places remained hidden as fighting between separatist militias and the national army made them unsafe to visit. Now safety has returned, and Colombia’s stunning array of natural wonders can be explored.

A Mother Brown-Throated Sloth and Her Baby


Episode 1: “Two Rivers,” Saturday, Aug. 12 at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on KPBS 2 + encore Thursday, Aug. 17 at 8 a.m. on KPBS 2 - It explores Eastern Colombia, a region defined by two mighty rivers — the Amazon and the Orinoco. The Amazon River flows through lush, dense rainforests, while the Orinoco carves its way across a landscape of grassy plains, lakes and floodplain forests.

Fun with the Burrowing Owls

A dizzying variety of birds live in Eastern Colombia, including roseate spoonbills, black skimmers, jabiru storks and scarlet ibises. A trio of burrowing owlets provides comic relief as they play with twigs and a male wire-tailed manakin shows off his elaborate courtship dancing skills. A female jaguar watches over her baby cub, only two months old but already a predator in training. And the forest canopy is populated by close-knit, multigenerational families of squirrel monkeys and tiny Pygmy marmosets, the world’s smallest monkeys.

Episode 2: “From the Pacific to the Andes,” Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on KPBS 2 + encore Thursday, Aug. 24 at 8 a.m. on KPBS 2 - It takes viewers to Western Colombia, from the largely uninhabited and wild coasts of the Pacific to the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world. Hidden natural wonders lie off the rugged shoreline, in the rocky inlets and mysterious depths of distant islands. Thousands of humpback whales gather to give birth in the summer, while fish hunt crabs in the roots of the mangrove trees, endangered poison dart frogs creep along the forest floor, and a mother and baby sloth hang out in the treetops.

Inside the Humpback Whale Nursery

The ascent into the Andes is like a journey to a different planet. Snow-capped volcanoes known as the Los Nevados — two of which are still active — have delivered both deadly destruction and nutrient-rich volcanic ash soil for growing crops. The volcanos are surrounded by the Paramó, a magical and mysterious landscape of giant flowers. The mountain forests of the Andes begin just below 12,000-feet and are home to the legendary Andean condor, solitary spectacled bears and stunning hummingbirds.


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COLOMBIA – WILD AND FREE is available on demand with KPBS Passport, a benefit for members at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

Capybaras in the Wetlands


Written and directed by Harald Pokieser. The Directors of Photography are Ivo Nörenberg and Christian Stolz. Original music is by David Mitcham. The narrator is Natalia Reyes. Executive producers are Harald Pokieser and Manfred Christ. The commissioning editors for Arte G.E.I.E. are Jörg Krause and Sabine Joertz. Executive Producer for NDR/Naturfilm is Britta Kiesewetter. Executive in Charge for PBS is Bill Gardner and Assistant Director for PBS is Annie Curran. The Commissioning Editor for Orf is Gernot Lercher. A production of Cosmos Factory, Orf, PBS, ARTE GEIE, NDR/Naturfilm and DocLights.