Saturday, August 17, 2013

ABC's Weekend Explorer covers rescued pilot whales, reclusive sea turtles, child nature education in Africa

Saturday morning, ABC’s “Weekend Explorer” from Litton featured an episode on “Sea Rescues” where pilot whales are rescued (sometimes after beaching) and nursed back to health at Sea World in Orlando.  Biologists conclude that some of the cetaceans are not skilled enough to survive again in the wild.  Compare this account to the movie review of “Blackfish” about the orca, on July 29, 2013 on the Movies blog. 

That episode was preceded by a session of “Born to Explore” (site) by Richard Wiese, where children in Africa were being taught nature, although it seems like they live into daily contact with it anyway because of their low standard of living.  Volunteering or going on missions there could be a serious challenge for many young adults or church groups that sponsor them because of political instability and human rights issues.   Yet the need is great.  The episode went on to cover the life cycle of a sea turtle that lays eggs on the Indian Ocean side of the South African coast, and hides the eggs deeply in sand from predators.

An earlier episode by Wiese had explored the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  Cheetahs are threatened with extinction, but are sometimes kept as pets in South Africa.  That’s illegal in the US and most countries, but cheetahs sometimes do bond to humans and behave in a rural or ranch household much like big dogs, and seem to learn very quickly, as in the 2005 film “Duma” (Carol Ballard, WB), where a cheetah learned to operate a remote TV and ate at the family dinner table.  Servals also bond to humans but require enormous commitment when kept.  

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