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S38 Ep13

Cuba's Wild Revolution

Premiere: 4/1/2020 | 00:00:35 |

In the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, Cuba is an island teeming with exotic biodiversity: from coral reefs pulsating with life to five-foot-long Cuban rock iguanas. As international relations ease, what will become of this wildlife sanctuary?

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About the Episode

As the largest island in the Caribbean, Cuba is host to spectacular wildlife found nowhere else on the planet: from the jumping crocodiles of the Zapata swamp to the world’s tiniest hummingbird, from thousands of migrating crabs to giant, bat-eating boas that lie in wait for easy prey. Decades of a socialist, conservation-minded government, American embargoes and minimal development have left the island virtually unchanged for 50 years and teeming with exotic biodiversity. As international relations ease, what will become of this wildlife sanctuary?

Noteworthy Facts:

  • Nesting for a female Green turtle is dangerous and exhausting as they aren’t equipped for land. After two hours of digging on the shore she will lay 80-200 eggs and then leave them behind.
  • Zapata, the largest protected area in the Caribbean, is home to the Bee hummingbird, which is the smallest bird on earth. This hummingbird can beat its tiny wings 80 times per second.
  • Woodpeckers are known to kill the chicks of other woodpeckers and take over their nest.
  • Cuba has its own species of crocodile, the Cuban crocodile, which is extremely agile and can sprint almost 10 miles an hour.
  • The Monte Iberia eleuth is one of the smallest frogs in the world. A half-inch long when fully grown, this pint-size frog survives the rainforest by discouraging predators with its poisonous and foul-tasting skin.

Buzzworthy Moments:

  • Breeding season is chaotic for the male Cuban Rock iguanas. The male iguanas fight each other over who gets to mate with the females. The fight is a test of strength and endurance that ends with the dominant male iguana winning the lady.
  • An army of Red land crabs are on the move towards the ocean, many carrying up to 80,000 eggs apiece that need salt water to survive. The journey is perilous; as the crabs make their way to the ocean, many of them are run over in oncoming traffic.
  • A Cuban boa enters a cave full of bats in pursuit of its next meal. In the pitch-dark cave, the snake uses its heat receptors to detect the bats, while the bats use echolocation to detect the boa. As the bats make a dash for the exit, the snake lunges to catch one and eventually succeeds. The snake then finishes off the bat with its powerful embrace, killing it in seconds.
  • Two months have passed since the mother Green turtle laid her eggs. The baby turtles have begun to hatch, and with no mother around and limited vision the hatchlings must use their sense of smell and sound to guide them to the sea. They must avoid predators, such as hawks, on the journey. On average, only one in a thousand hatchlings will make it to adulthood.
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NARRATED BY
OLGA MEREDIZ

DIRECTOR
JOHN MURRAY

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY
DOMENICO PONTILLO

EDITOR
JAMIE FITZPATRICK

MUSIC
BADHANDS

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR – CUBA
ESTEBAN RÍOS RIVERA

RESEARCH
DARÍO FERNÁNDEZ BELLON
JOHN LUSBY
CEPA GIBLIN

LOGISTICS & SUPPORT – CUBA
MUNDO LATINO
MARTA CARVAJAL TORRES
ARMANDO OLIVERAS
OMELIO BORROTO LEISECA
PEDRO PEREZ RIVERA
JOSE RIVERA
NOEL LOPEZ

PERMITS PROVIDED BY
MINISTRY OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT OF CUBA (CITMA)
NATIONAL SYSTEM OF PROTECTED AREAS OF CUBA (SNAP)
FLORA & FAUNA
MINISTRY OF TOURISM OF CUBA (MINTUR)
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF CUBA (MINREX)

SOUND DESIGN & MIX
PAUL FINAN

ONLINE EDITOR
SÉAMUS CONNOLLY

COLORIST
GARY CURRAN

GRAPHICS
IAN BENJAMIN KENNY
ENDA O’CONNOR

ASSISTANT EDITOR
AOIFE CAREY

ARCHIVE
GEORGE KARBUS
SHARKBAY FILMS
MC4
NOEL LOPEZ

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
JOHN MURRAY
DTS PRODUCTIONS CUBA

PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT
SIOBHÁN MURRAY

ADDITIONAL MUSIC
AUDIO NETWORKS
WEST ONE MUSIC
ROBERTO FONSECA

SPECIAL THANKS
CUBAN AMBASSADOR TO IRELAND HUGO RENÉ RAMOS MILANÉS FORMER AMBASSADOR DR. HERMES HERRERA HERNANDEZ
MARIE LOPEZ
ANA ROSA ROJAS RODRÍGUEZ
DANIEL FITZPATRICK
ROB GANDOLA
EDUARDO ABREU GUERRA
NATALIA ROSSI
CUBANA
CENTRO DE PRENSA INTERNACIONAL
MARIBEL TORANZO
NORVIS HERNANDEZ HERNANDEZ

PRODUCED BY
JOHN MURRAY
CIARA BAKER
CEPA GIBLIN

HEAD OF PRODUCTION
SIOBHÁN WARD

POST PRODUCER
SÉAMUS CONNOLLY

PRODUCED WITH THE SUPPORT OF CREATIVE EUROPE – MEDIA PROGRAMME OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

PRODUCED WITH THE SUPPORT OF INCENTIVES FOR THE IRISH FILM INDUSTRY PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JAMES F. BURKE

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

DIGITAL LEAD
DANIELLE STEINBERG

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER – DIGITAL
AMANDA SCHMIDT

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
KAREN HO

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
CHELSEY SAATKAMP

BUDGET CONTROLLER
JAYNE LISI

ONLINE EDITOR
CHRIS GUIDO

RE-RECORDING MIXER
JON BERMAN

ORIGINAL PRODUCTION FUNDING PROVIDED IN PART BY
The Arnhold Family
Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III
The Fairweather Foundation
Kate W. Cassidy Foundation
Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao
Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust
Charles Rosenblum
Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation
Rosalind P. Walter
Sandra Atlas Bass
Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas
The M. & H. Sommer Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A PRODUCTION OF CROSSING THE LINE PRODUCTIONS AND THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC IN ASSOCIATION WITH WNET, ORF-UNIVERSUM, FRANCE TÉLÉVISIONS, DR, SVT, RTÉ, BBC

THIS PROGRAM WAS PRODUCED BY THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC, WHICH IS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS CONTENT

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