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Author: NATURE on PBS

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As one of the most watched documentary film series on public television, NATURE delivers the best in original natural history films to audiences nationwide. The InsideNATURE podcast picks up where the film series leaves off. We speak to filmmakers behind some of NATURE’s greatest films, track down updates on animal characters from past episodes, and go beyond the headlines to talk with experts on the frontline of wildlife research and conservation.
14 Episodes
This February, we aired “The Last Rhino”, a film about the three remaining Northern White Rhinos; Sudan, an elderly male, his daughter Fatu, and his granddaughter Najin. Together, they are last living representatives of their kind. However, this dire situation hasn’t deterred a group of scientists from trying to rescue the Northern White. Using tissue collected from Sudan and his family, as well as frozen tissue from deceased rhinos, they hope to rebuild the population from the ground up. Award-winning journalist Rachel Nuwer wrote an in-depth article about Sudan and his family for NATURE in 2016. Her article lays out Sudan’s entire backstory, how he ended up in a Czech zoo and eventually at the Ol Pejeta reserve in Kenya. We caught up with Rachel to ask if she had any updates on Sudan or the plan to save the Northern White Rhino. We also hoped to find out why this subspecies has fared so poorly compared the closely-related Black Rhino and Southern White Rhino. Links: "The Last Rhino" film's article "Do the World’s Three Remaining Northern White Rhinos Have a Future?"
In our latest episode, NATURE executive producer Fred Kaufman speaks with BBC cameraman and presenter Gordon Buchanan. Gordon hosts the upcoming NATURE mini-series “Animals with Cameras”, which premieres on PBS three consecutive Wednesdays, starting on January 31st. If the name doesn’t give it away, “Animals with Cameras” employs state-of-the-art cameras worn by animals themselves. These animal cinematographers have an important mission: to help expand human understanding of their habitats and solve mysteries that have, until now, eluded scientists.Watch the series trailers:
Rescuing the Elusive Vaquita

Rescuing the Elusive Vaquita


This October, an international team of scientists set out to save the vaquita, the most endangered whale in the world. This October, an international team of scientists set out to save the vaquita, the most endangered whale in the world. Recent estimates suggest that as few as 30 individuals remain in the Gulf of California, the slim body of water that separates mainland Mexico from the Baja peninsula. These numbers are considered unsustainable given that every year many vaquitas are found drowned in gill nets, the main culprit in their dwindling numbers.The ambitious, last-ditch effort, now dubbed VaquitaCPR, was designed hoped to round up the remaining vaquitas and move them into holding pens. For an intimate look at how the VaquitaCPR operation fared, we talked to one of its lead scientists, Barbara Taylor, a marine biologist with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and Frances Gulland, the veterinarian responsible for the care of captured vaquitas. More resources on the vaquita from NATURE on PBS: Featured Creature: The Vaquita podcast interview with Barbara Taylor
In 2007, writer and falconer Helen Macdonald lost her father tragically to a heart attack. The two were close, and in order to find a way through her grief, she retreated to a childhood passion for falconry. Helen adopted goshawk, a notoriously difficult bird to tame, and over the course of many months, trained her to become an obedient hunter. She wrote about the experience in her best-selling 2014 book H is for Hawk. Now, ten years later, Helen’s experience training a new goshawk is the subject of the NATURE episode H is for Hawk: A New Chapter, which premieres Nov 1 at 8pm ET on PBS. Fred Kaufman, NATURE’s executive producer, interviewed Helen about the film at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles early this summer.Learn more about "H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter" on the NATURE website:
Today (August 12th) is World Elephant Day and we thought there was no better time to take a look at the state of Africa’s elephants. To find out how they are doing we spoke with Mike Chase, conversation biologist and founder of the non-profit organization Elephants Without Borders. Starting in 2014, Mike lead the Great Elephant Census, a groundbreaking two-year study that attempted to count, with great accuracy, all of Africa’s savanna elephants. What he found was startling. Over the previous seven years, elephant populations had declined by an astonishing 30 percent, mostly due to poaching. Mike spoke to us about the study from a remote research station in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.You can read a transcript of the podcast on the NATURE website:
This episode of the InsideNATURE podcast is all about sloths; perhaps the strangest group of creatures evolution has ever produced. While other species get ahead by being the fastest, the biggest or the strongest, sloths do everything as slowly as possible, using the least amount of energy and remaining largely unnoticed. But don’t be deceived by their low-key lifestyle. Sloths have been around millions of years, much longer than humankind, so they must be doing something right! To guide us through the weird and woolly world of sloths, we got in touch with biologist Rebecca Cliffe. Rebecca’s research focuses on sloth conservation and she has taken an innovative approach--utilizing tiny sloth "backpacks"--to study the ins and outs of their daily life.
The vaquita is the smallest porpoise in the world and also the most endangered. Last year, a scientific survey determined there were about 30 vaquitas left in wild, down from the 60 or so found the previous year. With such low numbers, the species appears to be teetering on the edge of extinction, and scientists are now are developing a daring rescue plan to remove the vaquita from its home in the Gulf of California.To get some background on the situation and more details on the rescue, we spoke to conservation biologist Barbara Taylor. Taylor is a scientist with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California who has been studying the vaquita for more than 20 years. She is also a lead member of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita, which is working on the plan remove the species from the wild in order to save it.
In this episode, we speak with filmmaker Joe Pontecorvo, producer of the recent NATURE film “Yosemite”. As the name suggests, Joe’s film is about Yosemite National Park, one of America’s oldest parks nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California. The film features a diverse cast of animal characters including rabbit-like pikas, big horn sheep and peregrine falcons as well as giant sequoias, the largest trees in the world. Filmed during the end of a historic drought which killed 100 million trees across California, "Yosemite" looks at how global climate change might affect the many species that call the park home.
In this episode, we speak with David Biello, environmental journalist and author of the book “The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth’s Newest Age”. The book details the many ways human activity has altered our planet, often for the worse, and examines efforts to rollback those alterations, or at least lessen their impact. Read an excerpt from David's book on the NATURE website:
What does it takes to make a 'spy creature' come alive? In this episode of the InsideNATURE podcast, we speak with animatronic designer John Nolan, who, along with his hardworking team, created the 30 plus robot spy creatures featured in upcoming NATURE mini-series Spy in the Wild (airing Feb 1st thru March 1st on PBS). The creatures range in size from a small worm-like grub to a full-size, fully-expressive orangutan. And while they all look very different from each other, they have two things common: their movements are believable enough to fool the real thing and hidden inside each one is a camera designed to capture intimate, close-up shots of animal behavior in the wild. Listen to the full episode above, recorded in WNET's studio in New York.
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