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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Planet in Peril

After a year of waiting, tonight we got to see the first part of CNN's Planet in Peril.

Anderson Cooper, Jeff Corwin, and Sanjay Gupta have been travelling the globe examining the effect that humans have had on the planet's environment.

Anderson Cooper and Jeff Corwin report from JJ Market in Thailand where endangered species are sold illegally. They accompany the Thai police as they raid the market.

Next, Jeff Corwin visits Madagascar where 90% of the wildlife is unique to the island. The forests where these unique animals thrive is disappearing as they're cut down to make way for people.

Do you see the lizard in the picture?

The cry of the lemur is just haunting. Above are pictures of the Indri lemur which is the largest type found on the island. This creature does not do well in captivity so preserving its natural habit is vital to its survival.

This might just be the TV debut of the Black Sifaka lemur.

Jeff Corwin participated in a rapid assessment program that attempts to go into habitat and identify the species that occupy it. They're hopes are to find a new species that could be used to have the area protected from deforestation. They never know what they're going to find. Sometimes there are dozens of new species and sometimes they're "absolutely skunked".

This little guy might just be something new that was discovered during the RAP. They'll know for sure in about a month.

Mass extinction of species has happened five times in known history. We're currently experiencing the sixth great spasm of extinction but this time it's different. Prior instances were caused by events like ice ages. This one: human beings.

Anderson Cooper reported on the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park. It's fascinating to see the ripple effect one species has on the entire environment- not just other animals.

The wolves were missing for over 70 years. Since they're at the top of the food chain, they aren't the only ones that benefit from their kills. Other animals and bugs are provided with food.

Willows have grown up in the last 10 years because elk have been forced to change their behavior (and there are fewer elk). The willows provide a home to song birds and material for beavers to use to build damns. The beaver damns have created a pond where fish and water fowl thrive. Everything is connected.

Did you notice the REM song playing in the background?

Anderson Cooper and Jeff Corwin traveled to Cambodia where tigers are hunted by poachers. A poacher can get up to $25,000.00 for a tiger on the black market. Rangers who go out into the forest to track poachers and remove snares only get paid $30.00 a month.

Rangers find over 7,000 snares a year. They also find wounded and dead animals.

Asian sun bears are hunted for their organs.

In China, exotic wildlife is used in medicine and served as delicacies. Sanjay Gupta reported on the wildlife found in the markets and in restaurants.

The segment on the bear farms was by far the hardest part of the two hours for me to watch. How horrifying!

50% of China's rivers are polluted. Sanjay visited an area were the river is being polluted by factor and people are using the contaminated water on crops. The area has become a cancer hotspot and Gupta spoke with one woman who had lost her husband to the disease.

You don't have to go to the other side of the world to find an example of how the products that people create have an effect on the environment and humans. Anderson Cooper had a body burden test conducted on himself.

The results of the test showed that at one time he was exposed to DET. The test also showed high levels of a chemical commonly found in makeup.

I've only touched on just some of the highlights of the two hour program. Not including commercials and live news breaks, there was approximately 1 hour and 26 minutes of programming. I think that this program has lived up to all the hype. The program was full of great reporting and outstanding footage.

I was struck by all of the unintended consequences of our actions. Ultimately, much of the damage that has been done to the planet was done to improve the standard of living for humans. Everything is connected.

The best part.... it's not over. Wednesday, we'll get to see Part 2 of Planet in Peril.


Happy Birthday to former CNN correspondent Andrea Koppel who will be celebrating her birthday on October 24th.


Purple Tie said...

Pip part 1 was outstanding. I especially loved the beginning of the show and Anderson's voice over about everything being connected.

I was wondering how they were going to connect all the stories and they did a great job of transitioning the stories.

I give them mucho kudos!!!

Phebe said...

Beautiful post BA. I can't wait to see PIP part 2.

Anonymous said...

This doc was definitely groundbreaking,I look
fowared to Pt 2/PIP.I really hope they expand
on this doing anothe doc on the fires and
drought and the possible water shortage
that may becoming to some of America's
biggest cities and other smaller and midsize
cities around the country.

bluediamond (Jennifer) said...

I enjoy watching Planet In Peril last night the guys did a great job, I learn a lot from it. Looking forward to watching part 2 tonight.

Christy said...

This was a wonderful special. I can't wait to see tonight.
Thanks for posting the pictures and things. IT was great to see them again. That solid black lemure was just awesome.

Sapphire said...

Great review BA - awesome pics as well. The black lemar is amazing. I can not wait to see the conclusion tonight.