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).
Production Credits Print
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM
Written and Produced by
Director Of Photography
TAMER EL DEMERDASH
JOSÉ JOAQUIN PACHÓN
YAN BO WU
JIAXI CHEN, CHINA
NOVI JENKINS, INDONESIA
MICHAEL MOFFET, CAMINO MEDIA, SPAIN
PAOLA TOAPANTA, URBANO FILMS, ECUADOR
TERRI THRUSH, BLUE MORPHO MEDIA, PANAMA
FRANKLIN, WEINRIB, RUDELL & VASSALO P.C.
ABSOLUTELY WILD VISUALS
BBC MOTION GALLERY
CINCINNATI ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDENS
CORBIS MOTION GALLERY
DGT FILMES, BRAZIL
DAVID HARING, DUKE LEMUR CENTER
IBERIAN LYNX CAPTIVE BREEDING CENTER
LIVING PLANET PRODUCTIONS
METRO TV NEWS, INDONESIA
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DIGITAL MOTION
AL WABRA WILDLIFE PRESERVE, QATAR
DUKE LEMUR CENTER
DR. SUSIE ELLIS,
INTERNATIONAL RHINO FOUNDATION
EL VALLE AMPHIBIAN CONSERVATION CENTER
DR. JoGAYLE HOWARD,
CONSERVATION & RESEARCH CENTER,
RICK HUDSON, TURTLE SURVIVAL ALLIANCE
INDONESIAN CONSULATE GENERAL, NEW YORK
JAVAN GIBBON REHABILITATION CENTER
THE MARYLAND ZOO IN BALTIMORE
DR. TERRI ROTH,
CINCINNATI ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDENS
GUNUNG GEDE PANGRANGO NATIONAL PARK,
SUMATRAN RHINO SANCTUARY
DR. JATNA SUPRIATNA,
CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL, INDONESIA
U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
HD Online Editor
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY
Executive In Charge
A Production of Partisan Pictures and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG and National Geographic Channel International.
This program was produced by THIRTEEN, which is solely responsible for its content.
© 2009 WNET.ORG
All rights reserved
"Introduction" and "Interactive Map: Endangered Species Hot Spots" by ELIZABETH McGOVERN
"Captive Breeding Success Stories" and "Meet the Experts" by ANGELA SAKRISON
Interactive Map: Sunda clouded leopard photo by Nancy Vandermey, licensed under GNU Free Documentation License. Asian elephant photo by Dick Mudde. Rio Carauta stubfoot toad by Grufnik, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.0. Axolotl photo by , licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.
Other images from The Loneliest Animals © 2009 WNET.ORG
Director of Digital Strategy
Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
© 2009 WNET.ORG.
Thirteen Online is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York’s Kravis Multimedia Education Center in New York City. Dan Goldman, Executive Director, thirteen.org. Bob Adleman, Business Manager.