It was hard to accept for a lot of people – knowing that this was the final Sunday night we’d be able to relax in front of Planet Earth 2 – but the fact that we’d be getting an insight into how animals have adapted to life in cities made it slightly easier to stomach.
Of course, not all animals are able to adapt to life in cities, and there were some particularly harrowing scenes showing baby turtles unable to find their way to the sea.
The turtles usually use the moon’s reflection on the sea as a guide, but things are more complicated now given how well lit most places are. Sir David Attenborough informed us that 80% born on this particular beach, in Barbados, become disorientated, and many won’t make it through their first night.
Thankfully, every turtle spotted by the film crew was returned to the sea.
Every turtle that was seen or filmed by the #PlanetEarth2 crew was collected and put back into the sea.— BBC Earth (@BBCEarth) December 11, 2016
Their plight really affected people, especially because you know humans are the sole reason for it.
JESUS CHRIST THE TURTLES. HUMANITY MUST BE DESTROYED TO SAVE THE BABY TURTLES. #planetearth2— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) December 11, 2016
Was so sad watching the baby turtles going to land rather than the sea— Howard Donald (@HowardDonald) December 11, 2016
How has no one built a mega super lamp out at sea to attract the turtles, I'm working on it turtles, I'M ON IT!! 💡#PlanetEarth2— Mat Riley (@thelifeofriley) December 11, 2016
I think I might want to be a turtle warden, or a turtle shepherd. Just a general protector of turtles #planetearth2— Rick Bebbington (@rickbebbington) December 11, 2016
Ok I need a number to call for people who have been affected by scenes in #PlanetEarth2. Those turtles 😥— 𝙁𝙧𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙧 𝙎𝙩𝙚𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙩 🌻 (@fraserjfstewart) December 11, 2016
I personally volunteer to be the person who puts all of those baby turtles back in the sea. #PlanetEarth2— Hannah Billie Perry (@herguidetolife) December 11, 2016
Turtles aside, most of what we saw was pretty inspiring.
Take the langur monkeys in India that are truly loved by the humans around them, and are given plenty of food.
Fab to see that in India, these animals and people live in harmony. We aren't as good at doing that in the UK #PlanetEarth2— Georgia Threadgold (@g_threadgold) December 11, 2016
Some people associate langurs with the Hindu God Lord Hanuman, so are revered. As a result, langurs in the city are able to have a lot more babies than forest-dwellers.
They’re really looked after.
Elsewhere in India though the scenes weren’t so cute. We were shown a majestic leopard strolling through the streets of Mumbai at night, looking for a meal.
While leopards have attacked almost 200 people in Mumbai over the past 25 years, humans are not their prey.
I'm deeply upset watching that piglet get eaten by that leopard as I eat a bacon sandwich 😔#planetearth2— Nathan O’Reilly (@Nathan_TallMan) December 11, 2016
I was not emotionally prepared to see the leopard take that piglet #PlanetEarth2— Anthea Harris (@Anthea_Harris) December 11, 2016
What made it harder to watch, other than the squeals, was the fact the older pigs all gave chase.
The leopard killing the piglet and the mum pig running after trying to save it has torn my heart in two 💔 #PlanetEarth2— Lorna (@LornaColdwell) December 11, 2016
Although to be fair, there were people walking by who didn’t seem fazed at all. Not even a little bit.
Could you imagine walking home from the pub and seeing a leopard chasing pigs outside your house #PlanetEarth2— Mick (@mickshone) December 11, 2016
And it certainly makes that old nursery rhyme a little more interesting.
"This little piggy went to market, this little piggy WAS EATEN BY A LEOPARD". #planetearth2— Bertie Allison (@bertieallison) December 11, 2016
Mumbai, probably not where you’d consider a leopard’s natural environment, actually has the highest concentration of leopards in the world.
Other stunning scenes included starlings in Rome, where the birds take advantage of the slightly warmer temperatures as compared to surrounding countryside.
Just don’t ever park your car in Rome in December.
Meanwhile across the planet in Australia, great bower birds spend most of their time collecting man-made objects to impress females.
And if you’ve been keeping up with this series, it’s definitely not the first time we’ve seen some odd behaviour from a bird trying to impress.
Although we do not recommend borrowing the bower’s methods.
When bower birds collect abandoned tat off the streets it impresses the women, but when I do it it's "weird" and "disgusting". #planetearth2— Tom Freeman (@SnoozeInBrief) December 11, 2016
Raccoons, who swap treetops for rooftops in Toronto at winter and keep their offspring warm in chimneys, were another star of the show.
They’re also very intelligent. The urban raccoons have been shown to be better at problem solving than their country-dwelling cousins.
But mostly they’re really cute.
Baby raccoons make my heart melt #PlanetEarth2— MissSarah_xx (@xx_Sarah__xx) December 11, 2016
Me "Hi it's me, cancel those snow leopards and get me like a bunch of raccoons"
Pets at Home "STOP CALLING THIS NUMBER" #PlanetEarth2— christianburtonsavidge (@ohchrissavidge) December 11, 2016
Another city-dweller shown as highly intelligent was the rhesus macaque monkeys in Jaipur, who commute every morning to get fruit – and other necessities.
All other monkeys: Stealing food.December 11, 2016
They’d literally just drop down from rooftops, steal a bunch of stuff, and disappear again.
Imagine reporting these thefts to your boss:
'Keith, where's all the fruit gone?
'Um, the monkeys got it'
'Get out Keith'#planetearth2— Darren Moss (@darren_moss) December 11, 2016
love the idea of monkeys commuting for food in India #PlanetEarth2
*Monkey arrives home from work*
"What a day! The traffic was bananas!"— Adam Brabbin (@adambrabbin) December 11, 2016
It certainly put things in perspective for some people.
I wonder if those who moan about foxes in London would rather trade for leopards, hyenas or monkeys! Adapt instead. #PlanetEarth2— Matthew Carter (@MatthewCarterIO) December 11, 2016
Spotted hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia, one of the planet’s most vilified species, were shown to have a different side.
Two packs fought over access to the city where they headed straight for the ancient meat market. And while for a moment, upon their arrival, things didn’t look good for the butchers, it turns out they’re well acquainted.
The butchers put out bones they don’t need and hyenas eat them.
People even use special calls to lure the hyenas towards them, before feeding them by hand. There’s a belief that the hyenas also eat the bad spirits that roam the streets.
But these are just the tiny few species that have adapted well to cities. The majority have not.
There was hope though, and Singapore was shown as a symbol of it.
For real, they actually built that. And now Singapore is richer in species than any other city in the world, after planting two million trees in 45 years.
Sir David left us this message before saying goodbye.
Let’s do what the man says…