Animals | 60 Minutes Marathon

Animals | 60 Minutes Marathon

Grizzlies (October 11, 2020) (00:00:11)

  • Grizzly bears, once abundant in the American West, faced near extinction due to hunting by settlers and farmers.
  • Listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, their population has since recovered, leading to increased conflicts with the growing human population in their habitat.
  • Grizzlies are omnivorous and can cause significant economic losses for ranchers and farmers by consuming livestock and crops.
  • The federal government's attempts to remove some grizzly populations from the endangered species list have been challenged in court by environmental groups and Native Americans.
  • Coexistence between humans and grizzlies is crucial, with organizations like Bryce Andrews' installing protective measures such as high voltage electric fences.
  • Grizzlies that become accustomed to humans and develop a taste for garbage pose a threat and may require trapping, relocation, or euthanasia to ensure human safety.
  • Researchers study grizzly behavior and movements by tranquilizing and attaching monitors and radio collars to them.
  • Despite precautions, unsafe encounters occur, such as Anders Broy's experience of being severely injured in a grizzly attack while mountain biking in Montana.
  • The bear responsible for the attack was identified as the same one trapped and released four years earlier.
  • Despite his injuries, Broy maintains a positive outlook, plans to hunt again, and acknowledges the importance of grizzly bears in the ecosystem while respecting their wild nature.

Great White (September 29, 2019) (00:13:36)

  • The great white shark population off Cape Cod declined in the mid-1970s due to overfishing but has since rebounded after receiving federal protection in 1997.
  • The increase in white sharks is attributed to the abundance of gray seals, their primary food source, which have also made Cape Cod their home.
  • Researchers from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy are tagging white sharks to track their movements and study their behavior, discovering that white sharks are solitary creatures that often return to the same hunting grounds year after year.
  • Despite their fearsome reputation, the probability of being bitten by a white shark is incredibly low.
  • Scientists have discovered that the waters off Long Island serve as an important nursery for baby white sharks, while adult white sharks travel long distances, including to the Gulf of Mexico and the open Atlantic Ocean, where they dive to depths of 3,000 feet for unknown reasons.
  • White sharks can live for over 70 years and start hunting seals in their late teens.
  • The increase in seal population near Cape Cod due to federal protection has attracted more white sharks, raising concerns among swimmers and surfers, although fatal attacks on humans are rare, with the last one occurring in 1936.
  • Safety measures, such as warning signs, bleeding kits, and a shark sighting app, have been implemented to mitigate the risk of shark encounters.
  • Sharks rarely attack humans, despite the fear they instill in many people, and are intelligent enough to distinguish between humans and their natural prey.

In Search of the Jaguar (January 30, 2011) (00:27:02)

  • Jaguars are elusive animals rarely seen in the wild and are found in the jungles of Central and South America.
  • Tribes worship jaguars as demigods and believe they have a spiritual home.
  • Leading jaguar expert Alan Rabinowitz invited a film crew to join him in the Pantanal, Brazil, to search for jaguars.
  • The film crew spotted a young jaguar, an anaconda, giant river otters, capybaras, and a caiman.
  • Renowned jaguar photographer Steve Winter shared his experiences photographing jaguars.
  • The crew witnessed a rare sight - a jaguar swimming across the river at night.
  • Jaguars are revered for their nocturnal nature and hunting prowess, and some tribes consider them otherworldly beings.
  • Alan Rabinowitz, who overcame a severe stutter, found solace in animals and dedicated his life to studying and protecting jaguars.
  • Rabinowitz works with governments and ranchers to establish jaguar corridors to ensure their long-term survival.
  • Billionaire Tom Kaplan, co-founder of Panthera, is buying ranches and implementing measures to protect jaguars.
  • Rabinowitz had a close encounter with a jaguar in the jungle, sharing a profound moment of connection.
  • Despite battling leukemia, Rabinowitz is determined to continue his wildlife conservation work.

Return to Gorongosa (December 4, 2022) (00:40:15)

  • American entrepreneur Greg Carr transformed war-torn Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique into a thriving wildlife haven through his non-profit foundation's conservation efforts.
  • Carr's successful wildlife conservation efforts have led to a remarkable rebound in wildlife populations, including the reintroduction of herbivores and carnivores, and significantly increased the number of large animals in the park.
  • The park's success has positively impacted the lives of the 200,000 people living around the park, improving healthcare, education, and conservation efforts in the region.
  • Carr has partnered with the government of Goa National Park and employs 1,600 workers, generating revenue from tourism that is invested back into the park and the local community.
  • The Girls Club program, led by Lisa Soua, empowers 3,000 girls in 92 after-school clubs to pursue higher education and career opportunities.
  • Carr's foundation promotes reforestation efforts by distributing coffee trees to family farmers, who earn significantly more income by selling their coffee beans to Carr's foundation at above-market rates.
  • Despite challenges, Carr remains committed to conservation, inspired by the dedication of park rangers who protect endangered species like pangolins.
  • The speaker, with a net worth exceeding $100 million, encourages wealthy individuals to engage in philanthropy and find personal fulfillment by using their wealth to help others.

At the Zoo - Part 1 (May 13, 2018) (00:53:30)

  • Zoos have shifted their focus from exhibiting animals to conservation and repopulation, using scientific methods to ensure genetic diversity.
  • Zoos stopped acquiring animals from the wild in the 1970s and now manage their populations through computerized breeding programs to avoid inbreeding.
  • Factors such as inbreeding, social compatibility, age differences, and distance are considered when pairing animals.
  • Zoos use various methods to manage animal breeding, including matching individuals based on age, temperament, and genetic compatibility, and using a grid system for species that live in large groups.
  • Zoos collaborate with wildlife agencies to rescue endangered species and create genetic diversity, such as the Brookfield Zoo's successful wolf pup swap.
  • Zoos face ethical dilemmas in managing animal breeding, including preventing unwanted mating and dealing with limited space.

At the Zoo - Part 2 (May 13, 2018) (01:06:09)

  • Zoos worldwide use genetic breeding programs for captive breeding, leading to challenges in managing animals with well-represented genes.
  • Some zoos, like the Copenhagen Zoo, opt for euthanasia of animals with no breeding recommendation, while zoos in the US commonly use contraceptives for population control.
  • The Copenhagen Zoo opposes birth control and believes animals should breed and raise young naturally, leading to difficulties in finding new homes for offspring with valuable genes, as seen in the case of Marius, a giraffe euthanized due to lack of space and breeding value.
  • Zoos argue that culling is sometimes necessary to maintain healthy animal populations and prevent inbreeding, but practices vary among European zoos, with some zoos opposing the practice while others view it as a valid solution.
  • Contraception can have harmful side effects and can cause fertility problems in animals if their genes are needed in the future.
  • Zoos aim to provide animals with as much control and choice as possible in their daily lives, but there are certain trade-offs and limitations, such as not allowing animals to leave the zoo or kill living animals.

The Smartest Dog in the World (September 20, 2015) (01:19:28)

  • Chaser, a Border Collie owned by John Pilley, has been taught over 1,000 words and can understand simple sentences.
  • Chaser's vocabulary is three times that of most 2-year-old toddlers, and she can recognize the names of all her toys and understand the difference between nouns and verbs.
  • Chaser's breakthrough came when she realized that objects have names, making her the most important dog in modern scientific research.
  • Dogs share characteristics with humans due to co-evolution over 15,000 years, and they have a level of thinking similar to human toddlers, capable of inferential reasoning.
  • Dr. Greg Burns conducts brain scans on awake and unsedated dogs to study their brain activity, revealing that dogs experience more than just a good feeling when smelling their owner's sweat; it triggers a positive association in the reward center of their brain.
  • Eye contact between dogs and humans releases oxytocin, the love hormone, in both species, creating a strong bond.
  • Dognition, a science-based website created by Dr. Brian Hare, allows dog owners to test their dogs' intelligence through various games.
  • Canine intelligence includes communication skills, empathy, cunningness, and abstract thinking.
  • Dr. Hare's dog, Tassy, surprised him with her exceptional communication skills but had a poor working memory, while Chaser excelled in reasoning and memory tests, demonstrating her remarkable intelligence.
  • Dr. Hare believes that any dog can achieve Chaser's level of intelligence with time and training.

Comparative Oncology (November 27, 2022) (01:31:34)

  • Scientists are studying naturally occurring cancers in dogs to accelerate potential treatments for both dogs and humans due to their shared genes and specific traits.
  • Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to specific cancers, aiding in the identification of responsible genes.
  • Dogs are diagnosed with various cancers found in humans, including lymphoma, melanoma, brain and breast cancer, and osteosarcoma.
  • A groundbreaking experimental immunotherapy treatment using genetically modified Listeria bacteria has shown promising results in pet dogs with osteosarcoma, leading to increased survival time.
  • Encouraged by the success in dogs, the FDA approved a phase 2 clinical trial using modified Listeria to treat young adults and children with recurrent osteosarcoma that has spread to their lungs.
  • The National Cancer Institute is investing in analyzing cancer samples from dogs and conducting comparative oncology trials to improve treatments for humans and dogs, particularly focusing on brain cancer.
  • Despite initial progress, some patients, like Otto the dog and Julie Hinseth, experienced worsening symptoms and passed away or stopped participating in the trial.
  • Christy Gomes, a cancer survivor, highlights the strong connection between humans and dogs and the importance of her Yorkie, Benny, in her recovery.

The Race to Save the Tortoise (December 9, 2012) (01:45:29)

  • Turtles and tortoises have existed for over 200 million years but are now facing extinction due to habitat loss and illegal trade.
  • Eric Goode, a passionate conservationist, spends a million dollars annually to combat the illegal trade and protect endangered turtles and tortoises.
  • Madagascar, known for its unique biodiversity, including five rare turtle species, is a hotspot for illegal wildlife trade due to poverty and weak law enforcement.
  • The plowshare tortoise, highly sought after for its golden shell, is one of the world's most endangered tortoises, facing poaching and population decline.
  • Eric Goode supports local conservation efforts in Madagascar by hiring locals to patrol and protect turtle habitats, contributing to the safeguarding of these endangered species.
  • Conservationists in Madagascar are disfiguring the shells of endangered tortoises to deter collectors and reduce their value in the black market.
  • The black market trade in endangered tortoises is highly lucrative, involving crime syndicates and leading to incidents like the robbery of a breeding center in Madagascar in the late 1990s.
  • Conservation efforts have led to the successful rebound of the plowshare tortoise population at a breeding center in Madagascar, with a rare occurrence of a female plowshare tortoise laying two eggs, witnessed by a film crew.
  • Eric Goode operates his own breeding center in the mountains outside of Los Angeles, providing a safe haven for over 680 animals from 30 endangered species, including the Burmese tortoise, the Golden Coin Turtle, and young Galapagos tortoises.
  • The sanctuary provides different ecosystems for each species, ensuring their survival, with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild, though concerns about their protection and survival remain.

Wild Horses (November 20, 2022) (01:58:23)

  • Wild horses in the western United States, descended from Spanish explorers' horses, have grown unchecked, leading to overpopulation and competition for resources.
  • The Federal Bureau of Land Management cares for over 57,000 wild horses at a cost of $70 million annually, offering an incentive program for adoption with limited success.
  • The Wyoming Honor Farm's "Cowboy In Charge," Travis Shman, teaches inmates horse gentling, emphasizing patience and persistence, to help them learn life lessons and control their emotions.
  • Inmates like Michael Davis find freedom and healing in working with horses, while Warden Moffett believes the program reduces recidivism rates and helps inmates become responsible individuals.
  • Despite security measures, only a few escape attempts have occurred in the past 22 years, and inmates like Pton Suor find solace and new skills in the program.

Return of the Humpback (October 20, 2013) (02:11:32)

  • The humpback whale, once nearly extinct due to hunting, is now recovering thanks to conservation efforts.
  • Despite a commercial whaling ban, countries like Japan continue to hunt whales under the guise of scientific research.
  • Paul Watson, a conservationist and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, employs various tactics to disrupt Japanese whaling operations, leading to retaliatory actions from the whalers.
  • The International Court of Justice is evaluating the legality of Japan's whaling practices.
  • Humpback whales, classified as endangered by the IUCN, are acrobatic and cooperative hunters, traveling vast distances and spending most of their lives submerged.
  • Male humpbacks sing yearly changing complex songs to mark their territory.
  • Humpback populations have slowly recovered since the whaling ban, but they still face threats from ship collisions and fishing line entanglement.
  • Satellite tags help track their migration routes to minimize human-whale interactions.

Sperm Whales of Dominica (May 14, 2023) (02:24:00)

  • The United Nations aims to protect 30% of the world's land and sea by 2030 to reverse human-caused damage and protect vulnerable species.
  • National Geographic Explorer Enrique Sala is proposing protections for hundreds of sperm whales living in the Caribbean island of Dominica.
  • Sperm whales are among the largest and least understood animals in the ocean, with brains six times larger than humans and capable of complex thinking and behavior.
  • Sperm whales are one of the deepest diving mammals, mostly females, living in families and nursing their young.
  • A pod of sleeping female sperm whales was filmed near the surface, napping for about 15 minutes before diving for squid thousands of feet down.
  • Sala's Pristine Seas project has worked with 17 countries to establish marine reserves or marine protected areas, which have proven successful in protecting marine life.
  • In Dominica, the sperm whale population is declining by 3% each year, and a preserve would protect them from plastic trash, ocean noise pollution, and ship strikes.
  • Dominica is creating a whale sanctuary to protect its sperm whale population, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, and attract tourism dollars to support local communities.
  • Sperm whales are social animals that live in family groups until their teen years, with males traveling thousands of miles away from the Caribbean to mate.
  • Sperm whales use echolocation to navigate and find food, and a National Geographic Explorer has identified more than 35 sperm whale families in Dominica.
  • The sperm whale belongs to the EC2 clan, which is identified by specific patterns of clicks called kodas, and the EC2 clan's Koda is a series of five slow clicks.

The Vanishing Wild (January 1, 2023) (02:37:14)

  • The Earth is facing a sixth mass extinction, with a loss of 69% of global wildlife in the past 50 years due to overpopulation, overconsumption, and habitat destruction.
  • Human activities, such as deforestation, pollution, and climate change, are the primary drivers of this unprecedented extinction crisis.
  • The current rate of extinction is 100 times faster than the historical average, threatening up to 75% of known species.
  • The loss of biodiversity is particularly severe in regions like California and Latin America, where iconic species like the grizzly bear and jaguars are at risk.
  • Conservation efforts, such as the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, have shown success in protecting forests and recovering animal populations, but these efforts are insufficient to prevent mass extinction.
  • Despite setting conservation targets, previous goals to limit environmental destruction by 2020 were not met, and humanity's consumption of resources continues to exceed the Earth's regenerative capacity.
  • The decline of resources, such as salmon in the Salish Sea, threatens the livelihoods and cultural heritage of indigenous communities.
  • Unlike previous mass extinctions caused by natural calamities, the current crisis is driven by human activities, posing a significant challenge to humanity's survival.

American Prairie (October 23, 2022) (02:50:33)

  • The American Prairie Reserve aims to create the largest nature reserve in the contiguous United States, encompassing 3.2 million acres of intact grasslands in the Great Plains.
  • The goal is to restore the native ecosystem, including the reintroduction of bison and other species that once thrived in the area.
  • The project involves purchasing private ranches and collaborating with conservation groups to piece together a patchwork of protected land.
  • American Prairie faces challenges in balancing conservation efforts with the interests of local ranchers and communities.
  • The organization has a program called Wild Sky that pays ranchers to modify fences and install cameras to monitor wildlife, helping supplement their income and make ranching more profitable.
  • American Prairie also leases grass and grazes cattle on a ranch it owns, ensuring the future of family ranches.
  • The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, adjacent to American Prairie's reserve, has a large bison herd that is economically and culturally significant to the tribes.
  • American Prairie encourages public visits, operates campgrounds, and allows hunting on many properties to build support among Montanans.

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