Sun-Seeking Creatures – A Mediterranean World

ORF-E | 2013
1 x 45 min -or- 1 x 52 min

The Danube, one of the most remarkable rivers in Europe, contains many secrets. Not just underwater, but also along its course through Austria. In one small section of in Lower Austria the body of water has an influence on the surrounding landscape, which has even formed its own microclimate. One speaks of so-called “heat islands” with temperatures that reach nearly Mediterranean levels. Human beings have created a cultural landscape oriented to viticulture over a period of millennia. This is because the warm loess and clay soil promotes the flourishing of grapevines. However, not only crop plants grow there: since primeval times, flora and fauna have settled here that have no rival in Europe. They are all species that live on the slopes of the Danube mainly due to the mild temperatures, and which are often found nowhere else. This documentary follows in the tracks of the widest variety of creatures in the Mediterranean section of the Danube. Among others, the largest lizar, the largest snake in Central Europe, the western green lizard and the Aesculapian snake will be encountered; the audience is invited to take part in the family life of ground squirrels, learn that the heat islands even have their own local species of scorpion, and encounter the praying mantis, the saga pedo or the wasp spider. However, not only the animal kingdom is fascinating. Many fi eld orchids, which are threatened with extinction almost everywhere else, find a final refuge on the slopes of the Wachau Valley. The most colourful European bird, the bee-eater, still broods here in the last remaining colonies. The entire region was named a World Natural and Cultural Heritage Site in 2000.

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