The animals of the world may increasingly need our help with big issues like preserving habitat or species conservation. But sometimes individual animals need our help as well. Left disabled without fins, flippers, beaks or tails because of disease, accidents or even human cruelty, these unfortunate creatures need what amounts to a miracle if they are to survive. Amazing prosthetics made possible by the latest engineering and technology can provide just what they need, and scientists are finding that innovations created in the process are benefitting both animals and humans. Meet these inspiring animals and the remarkable individuals whose work has helped them live their lives again.
Joe Hutto has dedicated seven years of his life to becoming a wild mule deer. Ordinarily, the deer herd would run from any human, but these keenly intelligent animals come to regard this stranger as one of their own. As he crosses the species divide, Hutto taps into a new understanding of these elusive animals. His joy in his new family is infectious, but this human predator also learns to see the world from the point of view of prey — and it’s an experience that will rock him to his core; sharing their world so personally takes a toll that sends him back to his own kind.
In the frigid valleys of Japan’s Shiga Highlands, a troop of snow monkeys functions in a complex society of rank and privilege where each knows his and her place. Their leader is still new to the job and something of a solitary grouch. One innocent little monkey, unaware of his own low status, reaches out to this lonely leader and they form a rare and remarkable bond that alters both their lives. Changing seasons bring new babies, family disagreements and tragedies. Mating season brings competition for females as the days grow shorter and colder in the rush to winter. With their now confident leader to guide them and their families to shelter and care for them, these snow monkeys are ready to face the world.