Man and nature, an impossible mix? Worldwide wildlife preservation projects are finally taking into account the local human population, offering alternative livelihoods that ultimately benefit the surrounding wildlife.
S01:E01 - Horses on the Run
In America, even icons aren't immune when millions of Dollars are at stake. The Mustang is symbolic of the far-west conquest. In the magnificent wide open country of Wyoming and Colorado, ranchers slaughtered herds of wild horses. They killed them rather than see them ransack meadows on which their cattle grazed. However, millions of Americans were nostalgic of the good old days in their country history when wild horses rode proud and free - they didn't want to see the Mustang vanish from the landscape. After much pressure, the local government came up with a very original idea. Public's support was crucial. Local inhabitants were asked to adopt hundreds of Mustangs, which had been previously bred and raised by prisoners.
S01:E02 - Frogs of Gold
Peru holds a rare and unique specie of frog, which is collected and sold across the world providing income to the local populations. These spectacularly coloured frogs are highly prized by collectors and they are also valuable for a chemical that they hold. Once isolated from the poisonous skin, this chemical appears to be six times more potent than a pain killer like morphine and is not addictive. There are probably many more useful compounds to be discovered from the skins of these frogs. A system for the sustainable production and exportation of poison dart frogs is being set up to stop illegal collection.
S01:E03 - Wolves and Bears
The wolf (canis lupus) never had good press in Europe . After being hunted for several centuries, it is now protected in the name of biodiversity conservation and 500 of them now live in Italy. The Abruzzo Park is home to around 50 of them and the Park's challenge is to study their behaviour and diet, which has not been well documented in Europe (as opposed to northern America) and to manage the potential conflicts that could arise between wolves and bears and the shepherds, who are the base of the traditional economy there. A tool for that is what they call the " white weapon " : a powerful white dog that is raised with the sheep herds to learn to protect them from possible attacks. The Abruzzo mastiff is so renowned that it is even exported to other Italian regions and even Norway. The Park also created a special label for the local products in order to promote an environmental friendly local economy.
S01:E04 - Chimps: Brothers of the Forest
The wild chimpanzee is a very rare and endangered species and on the brink of extinction.The biggest population lives in Guinea and was under serious threat. For several years a biologist and her team helped the local villages find new markets for their agricultural product, to make them financially independent. In return she has used the local hunters' expertise to locate and study the primates. Today the local wild chimpanzee is no longer endangered and this has proven one of the most successful campaigns of promoting coexistence.
S01:E05 - Argentina Caymans: Crocodile Cowboys
Caimans have become a very useful source of revenue in this poor region of Argentina called Chaco. The gauchos and local farmers of this wetland region are paid to provide useful information about the caiman nests located on their land. The egg harvest happens in January-February with the help of the local people, often on horse. The eggs are then put in the incubator near the breeding centre and the hatchlings bred for one year. Part of the hatchlings are released back in the wild, for repopulation, part of them sold for their skin. This system promotes directly caiman conservation and provides an alternative source of revenue for the local people.
S01:E06 - Rhino Warriors
This EP0focuses on a sustainable development program which will involve the Massa warriors in the management of the world famous Massai Mara game reserve which is in a pitiful condition. Half of the park revenues will pay for road building, anti-poaching patrols and administrative costs, while the other half will go to the local council.
S01:E07 - Tigers at War
Tigers are the most majestic animals that inhabit Asian jungles. No one had dared imagine that the tiger could ever be extinct from this planet. Yet this is what had almost happened. Man has become aware of this reality just before it was too late. Forests, the tiger's natural habitat, were gradually disappearing too and poaching was rampant. Today a new way of thinking has arisen Tiger Rescue Operation. Instead of concentrating all efforts on the animal, the focus has shifted to man who was responsible for the Tiger's extinction in India. This helped create many new projects and find new alternatives to poaching and the cutting of wood. This project is profit-generating for the local people. Moreover such sustainable development program is much less costly than the first rescue operations. Last but not least, it helped save the tiger! This film follows the tigers' footsteps across the Indian jungle. It shows the viewer how, thanks to this unique rescue, the tiger now lives and dwells in perfect harmony and s
S01:E08 - Russia Velvet
Right on the border between China and Mongolia stands an isolated mountainous region where the majestic Maral Stag of the Atlas reigns. Local inhabitants breed entire herds of them. They'd found this to be the surest method of saving this animal from extinction. The Stag's antlers are in fact very prized in traditional Asian medicine. Rigorous Soviet laws that forbade Stags' breeding did not deter people from poaching. Ironically enough, it is believed that it is today's free-market that has saved the animal from extinction.Those who were poachers in the past, are now breeding the most beautiful species of Stags.
S01:E09 - Bear Protectors
The Maquepacuno forest stretches over 4000 square kilometres of the Equatorial Andes Mountains. Biologists consider this regions to be one of the world's richest in biodiversity and with 1600 species of birds, frogs, pumas, spectacle bears and cervids, it contains more than double the amount of species in the Amazonian forest. Today the awareness is unanimous. Alvaro has learned to convince even the most reluctant farmers that they need to save the forest. From the mountain tops, the scars of an irrational agriculture are still visible, but today the deforestation fires have disappeared.
S01:E10 - Jaguar: Spirit of the Forest
The Jaguar has suffered severely from poaching and illegal hunting by cattle breeders attempting to protect their herds. Today a programme has been established to protect the jaguar and improve co-habitation with the local population.
S01:E11 - Shark Attack
The Galapagos Islands are the world's largest ecological reserve. Unfortunately, due to excessive poaching, illegal fishing and immigration, we are in the process of losing this garden of Eden. In this EP0we will see how sustainable development programs are fighting to reverse the process by involving the local communities in the protection of marine fauna and the Comodo Varan lizards.
S01:E12 - Guyana: Turning Up the Heat
French Guiana had been destroyed by deforestation, poaching and gold diggers. We follow the opening of a new natural park in French Guiana, which aims to preserve both the environment and the local populations. We follow the trap-door spider, a typical animal of the tropical forest that can survive thanks to this program.
S01:E13 - Panda Bear Ambassadors
In the heart of a jagged mountain region in the county of Pingwu in North-west China, the Panda struggles to survive. No government effort to save this rare and secretive animal has yet succeeded. Despite the four reserves created to protect the species, the number of Pandas has fallen drastically, mainly through the appalling deforestation, which deprives the Panda of its prime food source: Bamboo! In a last attempt, Pingwu's local authority realized it needed a new strategy - change man's habits, as this is at the heart of the Panda's extinction. Dozens of initiatives followed to help local inhabitants earn a living other than from cutting wood. After initial resistance, the peasants agreed to try a new way of life, for the sake of an animal that is beloved throughout the world.
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