Cuba’s political and economic isolation has provided the outside world little opportunity to see its wildlife … until now. It may be renowned for its politics and its cigars, but Cuba is home to some of the most unusual creatures on earth, including the feisty Cuban crocodile, the world’s smallest bird and frog, and migrating land crabs.
Cuba’s diverse wildlife stems from its unique natural history. Cuba was not originally in the Caribbean Sea but in the Pacific Ocean, where the island was situated 100 million years ago, before the forces of continental drift slowly brought it into the Caribbean. As the island migrated over the ages, an astonishing variety of life arrived by air, sea, and possibly by land bridges that may have once existed. Over time, these animals adapted to their new environment. Today, more than half of Cuba’s plants and animals, including more than 80 percent of its reptiles and amphibians, are found nowhere else on the planet.
Protected by its isolation, the wildlife of Cuba has remained naturally preserved, untouched, and unexplored. Through a special arrangement with the Cuban government, unprecedented access was granted to film the island’s natural riches.
Join NATURE in exploring Cuba’s coral reefs, swamps, forests, and caves to uncover the astonishing diversity of life on the island.
Written and Produced by
JUAN CARLOS OCAÑA MARTÍNEZ
The Producer Wishes to Thank:
EDUARDO RODRÍGUEZ DE LA VEGA
GONZALO RÍOS ANDRÉS
MINISTERIO DE TURISMO
JOSÉ ENRIQUE OCAÑA MARTÍNEZ
CELIA GARCÍA CANTILLO
GILBERTO SILVA TABOADA
JORGE LUÍS FONTELA RIZO
MUSEO NACIONAL DE HISTORIA NATURAL
JORGE LUÍS CLINCHE CREGO
ADRIÁN DE LA PAZ
SECCIÓN NACIONAL DE ESPELEOBUCEO
SOCIEDAD ESPELEOLÓGICA DE CUBA
SCUBA EN CUBA
CENTRO DE INVESTIGACIONES MARINAS
UNIVERSIDAD DE HABANA
GREG DIEFENBACH, DDE
JÖRN RÖVER, NDR
© ORF 2004 all rights reserved
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
Executive In Charge
An ORF Universum, Thirteen/WNET New York and Devillier Donegan Enterprises Co-production. This program was produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, which is solely responsible for its content.
© 2005 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
About the Writer
David Malakoff is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com.
Photos for “Overview,” “Explore Cuba,” “Wildlife Guide,” “Cuban Crab Invasion,” and “Resources” © 2002 Michael Potts. Other photos from “Cuba: Wild Island of the Caribbean.”
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.