Planet Earth III: Green turtle's tough journey back to sea leaves viewers in tears

A turtle captured audiences attention on the opening episode of Planet Earth III. (BBC)
A turtle captured audiences attention on the opening episode of Planet Earth III. (BBC)

What did you miss?

David Attenborough brings attention to green turtles facing the tough journey to nesting on Raine Island, which is a coral reef off the coast of Australia, in Planet Earth III.

Raine Island is most notable for being the place where half of all turtles in the Pacific Ocean come to hatch their eggs but if sea levels continue to rise as predicted then the tiny island will be completely underwater by 2050.

To bring this home to viewers, Attenborough narrated the story of one green turtle escaping from the heat of the sand dunes back to her home in the sea.

What, how, and why?

Emotions are running high as the green turtle struggles as she faces the long journey back to the sea while battling the unbearable heat of the sand dunes.

Narrating the emotional sequence, he said: "This exhausted female has nested and faces a long journey through the dunes to the sea. As the sun rises, she's at risk of being baked alive. Every inch she travels is gruelling.

"And the ebbing tide has exposed a rocky relief."

Planet Earth III,Sir David Attenborough,BBC,Mark Harrison
Planet Earth III presented by David Attenborough. (BBC) (BBC/Mark Harrison)

It is at this point that Attenborough revealed many lives had been claimed.

He added: "Her temperature is rising, she has to keep going. As many as 2,000 female turtles die here each year but the coast is always changing. And the turning tide may save her yet."

Social media was awash with viewers at home sharing their relief the turtle had made the difficult journey back home - with some saying the scene had left them in tears.

"Sorry for watching Planet Earth III and crying as I watch the tides rise in time to save the female turtle," one person wrote, among the sea of comments.

"I didn't breathe through that entire turtle scene," another added.

Others added: "Oh god and now the turtles. What are you doing to me David Attenborough?"

"Catching the end of Planet Earth while waiting for Strictly and I'm bawling my eyes out... wasn't prepared for that on a Sunday evening. Those poor turtles don't half put a shift in."

"I am so glad that damn turtle got in the sea I was about to have a heart attack."

What else happened on Planet Earth III?

The show has been five years in the making and much of the world has changed since the release of Planet Earth II.

The series – moreso than it's predecessors – is occupied by thoughts of the climate crisis and the impact it is having on wildlife and the environment.

Attenborough uses several examples to make his point and suggests that adaptation is running out of time.

The episode also features flamingos who have had an entire generation of babies wiped out by a storm surge that is happening earlier and more ferociously every year due to rising global temperatures.

Planet Earth III ,Coasts,1,A storm batters a colony of nesting Caribbean flamingos on the coast of Mexico.,©BBC Studios,BBC Studios
Flamingos on Planet Earth III. (BBC) (BBC Studios)

In South Africa, seals improbably ward off sharks and state of the art cameras capture desert lions in Namibia hunting seabirds.

Attenborough also treats the viewer to several little known species from across the globe such as sea angels in the Arctic.

Will we be back for more Planet Earth III?

Attenborough has long established himself at the forefront of documentary making and though he is now 97, his work is as vital and inspired as ever, particularly as he charts and channels the climate crisis.

His shows have always garnered much wider audiences than expected because of his way of making the unknown relatable and viewers are likely to be gripped for the full eight episodes of Planet Earth III.

Planet Earth III is available on BBC iPlayer and airs every Sunday on BBC One.

Read more: David Attenborough

This article originally appeared on Yahoo TV UK at