The BBC often runs a helpline after airing disturbing programmes, but no such service was available following the first episode of ‘Life Story’.
I felt like I needed counselling after witnessing the extreme rite of passage of barnacle goslings as they plummeted over 120 metres down a cliff face in eastern Greenland!
Forced to nest way up on the cliff tops to avoid predators like Arctic foxes, the Barnacle geese don’t feed their young. The chicks can only survive by launching themselves off the cliff in a daredevil descent during which their survival is little more than a lottery. If they bounce on their fluffy bellies on the way down, they stand a chance of withstanding the ordeal; otherwise, they end up battered and broken amongst the rocks.
Even when they are reunited with their parents on the slope below the cliffs, they face the prospect of encountering a hungry fox.