Yes, that is rock legend and former lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May and yes, he is cradling a curled-up hedgehog. Featured in a new documentary hosted by British naturalist Steven Backshall (pictured at right), Meet the Hedgehogs uncovers the secretive life of the world’s most popular spiny mammal and reveals current efforts to protect them. Meet the Hedgehogs premieres on WPT Sunday, April 7 at 6 p.m.
If you’ve been watching Tiger — Spy in the Jungle, you’ve enjoyed the most intimate glimpse at the lives of tigers ever filmed, from birth to playful adolescence and beyond. If you haven’t been watching, here’s your chance.
When you think of a stealthy spy, an elephant is probably the last living creature that comes to mind. Large, lumbering and slow, their prowess is doubtful. Yet, when it comes to documenting the lives tigers in the jungle, elephants are the perfect infiltrators.
The creators of Tiger — Spy in the Jungle, recognizing elephants’ remarkable intelligence and sensitivity, trained the giants to carry cameras on their tusks and trunks to collect footage, providing a glimpse into a striped world that would otherwise remain a mystery.
The trained elephant detectives used their Tuskcams and Trunkcams to shadow a group of tigers wherever they went, collecting film that shows the different stages of the tigers’ lives. Tiger — Spy in the Jungle also shows how the tigers interact with the other jungle animals, and how those interactions mature as the tigers age.
It’s sad to think that we’ve done so much damage to the planet and grown to such a large population that we’re pushing so many different species towards extinction. What’s worse is there’s no way to really know how much damage we’re doing. Sure there are a lot of protected species and some are actively being helped, but what about all the ones we’re not even aware of? Or the species that have already been wiped out without us even knowing it?
I’ve always found the concept of losing something we need before we even know it’s there to be quite interesting. I’m not sure exactly when I first heard the idea, but it was something along the lines of there possibly being a plant in the rainforest that could help cure cancer. Of course then there’s the struggle of finding such a plant before we inevitably destroy the rainforest and miss our chance. Now obviously it’s a little far-fetched to assume there’s a magical flower somewhere out there that will solve all of our problems, but you can’t deny that the possibility exists. Because the truth is, we simply don’t know everything yet. We’re still discovering new plants and animals every day and it sure would be a shame to lose something great that we didn’t even know we had.
It’s sad to think of all the animals that really only exist in wildlife preserves and other protected areas. Years ago these animals were all over their respective regions in healthy numbers, and now the majority of the population that remains is essentially captive.
While I’m glad to see how much effort has been put into saving these animals, I’m also quite disappointed in us as humans. We have done nothing but grow and take up more and more space vital to the other inhabitants of earth. On top of that, we have killed a countless number of animals for food, sport and decoration without giving their population a chance to recover.
It seems like humanity is at a major crossroad in time right now. We can keep going down the same path of using whatever we need and wasting our resources, or we can try to change. Climate change and animal extinctions aside, we won’t be able to support a population this large forever if we keep on this path.
Watch Nature: Born Wild, the First Days of Life at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30 on Wisconsin Public Television.
We can all admit that few things are as adorable as baby animals. They’re cute and they’re cuddly. But in the wild, they can also face a treacherous existence in their earliest days. This episode of Nature explores the earliest interactions of baby animals in their native environments. While the program includes plenty of adorable baby animal footage, it also covers some very serious moments in a young animal’s first days.
The sneak-preview segment below outlines one such moment when a group of new lion cubs faces the prospect of not gaining acceptance into their pride.