Population Census in the Antarctic

30-minute documentary for Thüringen Exklusiv – The Report and 3sat
theme day „Our Planet Earth“

In December 2007 Dr Hans-Ulrich Peter, an award-winning ornithologist and one of the most famous experts of the Antarctic, leaves for his 20th expedition in the Antarctic. On the occasion of the International Polar Year he has assembled a multi-cultural group of researchers and students from Germany, Luxemburg, Argentina and Russia. Their goal: the Russian research station Bellingshausen on King George Island. Their task: to conduct a research on the population of penguins, seals, Antarctic hair grass and skuas – observe, count, map. Their numbers are important for the scientist when it comes to questions of global warming. And Dr. Peter’s numbers show: there are less penguins.
The Antarctic is the roughest and coldest region of the earth. The conditions were a real challenge for our film crew: permanent wind and difficult lighting conditions. They walk 15 to 20 km per day on the muddy perma-frost soil of the Antarctic summer, with the entire equipment. But they are compensated for their stresses and strains by the extraordinary hospitality of the Russian research station Bellingshausen.

Written by: Dirk Schneider/ Anna Schmidt
Director or Photography: Jörg Junge
Editor: Mario Biehl
Air Date: February and May 2008