Wednesday, October 5 & 12 at 8:00 p.m.
Dogs that Changed the World (Parts 1 & 2)
This is the epic story of one of the most amazing evolutionary journeys ever taken by a species. Thousands of years ago, as humans began to settle in villages, the wolf emerged from the wild and made the startling leap to “man’s best friend.” Once domesticated, dogs would accompany human cultures down through the centuries and to the far corners of the world. Much more recently, the Victorian Age transformed them into the most varied species, and one of the most common pets, on the planet. In the 21st century, dogs are once more changing our world by their use in cutting-edge scientific research and lifesaving medical care.
Wednesday, October 19 at 8:00 p.m.
What happens to nature after a nuclear accident, and how does wildlife cope with the world it inherits after the human inhabitants have fled? The season opener will examine the health of wildlife populations in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone, the area around the reactor that remains too dangerously radioactive for human habitation 25 years after the meltdown of the nuclear power plant on April 26th, 1986. Focusing on the status of the native wolf population as an indicator of the effects of radioactivity across all of the contaminated countryside, scientists are piecing together a picture of the entire surviving ecosystem. This portrait of wildlife in the so-called “dead zone” provides a surprising “what if?” window into an apocalyptic future that exists today.
Wednesday, October 26 at 8:00 p.m.
Invasion of the Giant Pythons
Florida’s Everglades National Park is one of the last great wildlife refuges in the United States, home to numerous unique and endangered mammals, trees, plants, birds and turtles, as well as half a million alligators. However, the Everglades is also the dumping ground for many animal invaders. All of the intruders found their way into the park either by accidental escape from pet owners or intentional release by people no longer wishing to care for an exotic species. Also, tens of thousands of giant pythons, snakes that can grow to 20 feet and weigh nearly 300 pounds, some released into the wild by irresponsible pet owners, some escapees from almost 200 wildlife facilities destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The predatory pythons slithered into this protected wilderness and thrived, and the refuge has consequently become less a haven than a killing ground every day since then.
Visit the website at www.pbs.org/wgbh/nature