The Loneliest Animals
Introduction

Around the globe, unique and fascinating species face extinction from hunting and habitat destruction, which affects vulnerable animals in every kind of environment.  Biologists, conservationists, wildlife preservation centers and zoological parks work to breed and shelter rare and critically endangered animals when and where they can, but many species are down to the last few individuals and face an increasingly uncertain future.  For some, however, the future is all too clear.  Lonesome George, a Pinta Island tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, is the very last of his kind.  For centuries, until they were believed to be extinct, his species kept sailors and pirates well-fed on the high seas.  George alone survived.  But when George dies, millions of years of evolution will come to an end.  Other species, like Spix’s macaws, lemurs, Iberian lynxes, rhinos, black-footed ferrets and Chinese rafetus turtles, were well on their way to joining George as the loneliest animals in the world until help arrived, providing hope for a better outcome.

Each species in trouble presents unique challenges, including inbreeding and lack of genetic diversity, sibling rivalry on an extreme scale, and individuals who may never have seen another of their kind.  There are some successes with captive breeding.  For example, the black-footed ferret, once thought to be entirely extinct, is now being reintroduced to its natural home on the American plains after an incredible intervention by scientists.  But rebounding in artificial settings doesn’t put endangered animals in the clear – populations may grow, but without successful action to preserve and maintain their wild habitats, they may be confined to laboratories and sanctuaries forever.

The Loneliest Animals follows the plight of these incredible, charismatic creatures and the struggles of the dedicated conservationists who fight for them.

The Loneliest Animals premiered April 19, 2008 on PBS (check local listings).

  • Mauricio Mendonça Falcão

    Congratulations…it’s a shame that we won’t be able to watch it….anyway we are looking forward to see.

  • Glen O’Hara

    We’ll be watching – looking forward to hearing Gary’s score underneath what looks to be a fabulous episode. Thanks Artisan Pictures for doing work the other networks would pass. We loved the “honeybees” last year.

  • Julian

    GEORGE!!!! WHYYYYY!!

  • Sharon

    This show made me cry, and I wish it were on more often and earlier, for the grandkids. According to http://www.turtlesurvival.org/grants/fund-raising-for-rafetus-in-china/ egg-laying should begin in mid-June.

  • Chet

    It’s the human population, along with cultural changes, that must be stablilized and reduced, w/o violence, to save Spaceship Earth’s ecologies.

  • david blankenship

    I would like to see this program made avaliable on sreamline for the classroom. The program fits SC state standards 7-4.1, 7-4.3.

  • jose peres

    the sad thing is that every day this extinction are happening too bad

  • azim

    i just watched it and it made me cry… i felt so bad… where can I make a donation for this?

  • firefly

    Beautiful, beautiful, and so informative. Thanks for a presentation worthy of worldwide exposure. You GO George, you lonely rocking beast!

  • Biomiu

    I loved this show. Thank you for bringing this to the public! I would love to see a special on conservation of the taxonomic families of our domesticated animals and all of their stocks, breeds, and species that are in trouble (e.g. 50% of all pig races, breeds, and species are in trouble.). It would make the biodiversity crisis much closer to home by sending out this message: this not just about exotic places or just about the wild animals that have no connections (genetic or otherwise) with our domesticated animals.

  • Kathryn Ricci

    Please let me know how i can purchase a complete video of the program The Loneliest Animals. Thank you.

  • megan

    it is so sad for the animals my kids at the school would love it

  • Julie

    This was so absolutely touching. I cried so much! These episodes are just spectacular and everyone should view them!

  • Ted Semmel

    Nature: Loneliest Animals

    I missed the broadcast, but was fortunate to watch it today online.
    It was truly an exceptional production and, very importantly, so effectively brought to our attention the need to do our best to assure that all species are allowed to flourish for the good of the eco-system and mankind.
    This is a very timely message. I believe shows of this kind will be welcomed along with the other initiatives for improving the habitability of our planet.
    PBS is uniquely able to do this.
    I look forward to it. The music was great – subtle but with affect. I was especially taken by the music accompanying the intro of the American black footed ferret.

    TED

  • Luetta Moore

    This is perfect for teaching about loss of biodiversity and human caused extinctions. I want to know how to order this video

  • Jason Paul

    I watch this show and many others like it more often than not. As I sit through the beauty and sadness I cannot keep myself from hating my species for its selfishness, greed, ignorance and arrogance of itself and everything around it. At times I wonder if we as a whole will ever stop the distruction of our planet, not because we have to or for our own hidden agendas but because we genuinally want to. I am torn between giving the human race too much credit or just not enough of it. Shows like yours are one of the few reasons why I stay torn. You help to give me hope and show me that I am not alone and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep up the great work.

  • Redd Alexander

    no one cares animals live and dies if its extinct its extinct

  • JC

    george……… Cmon
    you can do it
    hey can’t we clone george

  • KH

    I find it funny (not haha funny, more like sad) that this show holds fast to evolution, but also focuses on saving the animals that evolution supposedly is weeding out naturally, remember? Survival of the fitest. WHATEVER! Just give it up and admit that these created animals are being driven to extinsion by humans. The real comfort we have is at Revelation 11:18. God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” That will pave the way for the time that “the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11) Just as is prayed for in the Lord’s Prayer.

  • kay bannon

    I saw a portion of a show that was wonderful. It included the gopher tortoise and the gopher frog, and I think a conservationist named Jennings. I have written a children’s book called “How Gimble Gopher Tortoise Found a New Home” and it features a special gopher tortoise and several of his commensals who have also lost their burrows to development. Gopher frog is one of the commensals, along with Indigo Snake, Florida Mouse, and Burrowing Owl. I storytell their tale in schools, parks, libaries, etc. My website with book info is: http://www.gimblegophertortoise.com I’d appreciate information about your gopher tortoise programs. Thanks, Kay T. Bannon

  • MB

    Dear KH. There is a huge difference between natural extinctions that go on at a natural pace (as a result of evolution by natural selection or other forces) and extinctions caused by rapid, human-induced modification of habitats and overexploitation. The current mass extinction is going on at a rate 2500 to 10,000 times faster than the natural background extinction rate (caused by natural forces).

    It gives me comfort to know that people are working to prevent the current mass extinction. It does not give me comfort to think that someday people will be punished for ruining the earth by an angry god. That is kind of a cop-out. Instead of just giving up and saying God will take care of it by punishing bad people, why don’t you get out there and do something about it?

  • Daniyal

    Can anyone tell me that Which is the loneliest animal in our planet?

  • dhanx

    how is it important in the maintenance or balance in the living world?

  • lander x game

    Nature: Loneliest Animals

    I missed the broadcast, but was fortunate to watch it today online.
    It was truly an exceptional production and, very importantly, so effectively brought to our attention the need to do our best to assure that all species are allowed to flourish for the good of the eco-system and mankind.
    This is a very timely message. I believe shows of this kind will be welcomed along with the other initiatives for improving the habitability of our planet.
    PBS is uniquely able to do this.
    I look forward to it. The music was great – subtle but with affect. I was especially taken by the music accompanying the intro of the American black footed ferret.

    TED

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    bollywood11 saying its great to be alive this fine sunday morning!

  • Watch NHL

    I have written a children’s book called “How Gimble Gopher Tortoise Found a New Home” and it features a special gopher tortoise and several of his commensals who have also lost their burrows to development. Gopher frog is one of the commensals, along with Indigo Snake, Florida Mouse, and Burrowing Owl.

  • http://social.directoryurlsubmission.com/story/116089/ Darrell Conrad

    Great information. I’ll be likely to return often.

  • banking online a

    MORE CHLORINE!! Are you out of your mind???? Chlorine is poisonous to the human body!!!! We need clean water but NOT MORE CHLORINE!!

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    Will you get mad if I quote your article in my monthly newsletter? I think your topic suits my audience perfectly. Well ya, thanks for posting this article.

  • http://tututugrey.webs.com/ Rene Alcantas

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  • http://tututugrey.webs.com/ Nelida Obermier

    Then again, the opposite could be true. I paid too much for it, but it’s worth it. Samuel Goldwyn 1882 1974

  • T Porter

    Hi hope this program has an impact on viewers from the state of Kansas. Currently, black-footed ferrets are under political threat from Kansas Farm Bureau, the Logan County Commissioners and a handful of extremists who are pushing for the removal of black footed ferrets despite the Black-Footed Recovery Project.

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