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.
Talking Rhinos with Award-winning Journalist Rachel Nuwer
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.
"The Last Rhino" film
Rachel's article "Do the World’s Three Remaining Northern White Rhinos Have a Future?"
Wildlife Filmmaker Gordon Buchanan On "Animals with Cameras"
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
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
Previous podcast interview with Barbara Taylor
Author Helen Macdonald on "H is for Hawk: A New Chapter"
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:
Africa's Savanna Elephants in Trouble
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:
Why Are Sloths Wearing Tiny Backpacks?
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.